I know, I know, there are a million resources, articles and lists about what to do when purchasing your first property. Having read these (well, maybe not all of them) and working in finance, I thought I had this covered. However, going through the experience I learnt that I definitely did not.

Here’s my list of lessons that hopefully you can avoid learning the hard way!

You need more cash than just your deposit

It seems kind of simple right – banks will lend you 80-90% of the property value so you need to save the rest. Wrong! There are costs involved in purchasing all properties that you will need to fund out of pocket. Don’t forget to add your stamp duty (which can be calculated here), legal costs (we usually add $2,000), finance costs, any purchasing fees (if you use a property agent), building inspector etc.

Don’t be afraid to get help finding a house

If you were investing $600,000 in the share market for the first time, with mostly borrowed money, would you get help from a professional? I know I would! So why not do the same for property? This can be particularly relevant for investment purchases, but also in finding your dream home. Seeking guidance on suburbs, price points, negotiating price may be the difference because a great and not-so-great experience.

Start the finance process early

I was surprised at how long it took us to get our finance sorted, even with no finance red flags or issues. Definitely consider using a broker and their guidance to find a loan that suits you. This also helps with the paperwork burden!

Don’t bid at auctions

It’s a time old story of auctions; adrenaline and emotions leading people to bid above their limit. We only went to one auction in our property hunt and had someone else bid for us. I’m glad we did, because our max price limit was exceeded within a minute of the opening bid. I’m not sure my competitive spirit would have left it at that so early in the piece if I were bidding myself!

Get help with the sale contracts & offers

I’ll admit that even after purchasing a property I’m no pro at what should and should not be included in the sales contract. We had a property adviser help with our purchase, so they guided us on what to include when making a conditional offer. Definitely get some help in this area if property law is not your forte.

Be organised for settlement

This is just a PSA (public service announcement) for all Gen Yers buying property; don’t leave the country/go on holiday before all your documents are signed. Needing originals and specific witnesses is a requirement for transfer and loan documents. We learnt this the hard way with my partner travelling a lot for work and myself being in NZ at the time.

Buying your first property is great fun but also quite daunting. The above list is definitely not an exhaustive one of the things you should consider.

Considering your own property purchase or how to save for this goal? We’d love to assist!

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