Top 10 tips for buying a home that’s right for you

28-August-2014 Property By Jamal Bakalian

There are a few things you should keep in mind when you are looking to buy your first home or when you are planning to invest in a new property or even when you intend to move house. Here are the top 10 tips that Streeterlaw believes will assist you to make wise purchasing decisions:

  1. Establish a budget. Prior to deciding upon which property to purchase, it is essential that you determine your budget. This means carefully assessing your income and expenditure in order to establish just how much you can afford to put toward your new property or home. It is common for people to seek the services of a mortgage broker to assist them in determining their budget and selecting the right home loan. 
  2. Pre-approval. Once you have assessed your financial circumstances and determined a maximum purchase price, you will require pre-approval from an authorised lender. There is no point in beginning your search, finding your dream home and then realising the bank won’t be providing the necessary funds! Pre-approval is quick, easy and absolutely essential.
  3. Make a list of pre-requisite features. This checklist of features will save you time as you search for your new home. Be realistic. Keep this list with you when looking at houses to ensure you find a property that ticks most of the ‘needs’ boxes and hopefully most of the ‘wants’ boxes too!
  4. Do some research. When we become emotionally attached to a property, it is often difficult to view it practically and objectively. Before you begin searching for your new home, do some research; attend a few auctions; speak to local real estate agents; and obtain sales reports for the area in which you are looking in order to ascertain how much homes are selling for.
  5. Inspect the property. The most common inspections prior to purchasing a home are the building inspection report and pest inspection report, however, they should not be the only ones. Proper and thorough inspections can save you thousands of dollars down the road. You could also consider further inspection reports, such as a strata report if the property is a home unit, or have pool fencing compliance checks if it has a pool and smoke alarm compliance checks. You should also visit the property and thoroughly assess the wear and tear to ensure that it is worth its going price. 
  6. Location, location. It is important to assess the location of a property and whether it is right for you. Do you catch a bus or train to get to work? If so, how accessible is your property to public transport? Do you have young children? If so, are there any good schools nearby? Other considerations include noise levels, parking availability, proximity to shops, neighbours and susceptibility to natural disasters such as floods or fires. All these considerations are important in ensuring that you purchase the home that is right for you, or alternatively, the property that will attract the rental income that you desire.
  7. Contact your Streeterlaw solicitor.  It is important to advise your solicitor of your proposed purchase and provide a copy of the sales contract to them for review. Your solicitor will ensure that it does not contain any unfair or unreasonable provisions and will conduct any necessary negotiations with the sellers. Your solicitor will also conduct important property enquiries in order to bring to your attention any proposed developments which may be of some concern. Your solicitor will be responsible for your purchase and see it through to completion. This includes reviewing the contract, negotiating with the vendor, placing an offer, and if the offer is accepted, exchanging contracts and then finally – settlement.
  8. Stick to your budget. Make an offer within your budget and move on if it is not accepted by the vendor. If the house you are looking at will be sold at an auction, consider having someone attend for you, bid for you and stick to your budget.
  9. Final inspection. Final inspections are extremely important. They take place within three days of the settlement date and allow the purchaser to ensure that the property they are receiving on completion is in the same condition as it was in when they exchanged contracts. Read the Streeterlaw article on final inspections here.
  10. Adjustments on completion. As a part of a Contract For Sale, there are standard adjustments made on completion, such as adjustments for council rates, water rates, strata levies (if applicable) and in some cases, land tax. Make sure your budget allows for a few extra dollars at this stage!

Purchasing a new home, whether it be to move in, or for investment purposes, is a big decision. Choosing an experienced solicitor to guide you through the purchase process and following our tips above will ensure a smooth transaction and a positive outcome.

For more information or to discuss a proposed purchase with an experienced property solicitor, please contact one of Streeterlaw’s experts on {module_contentholder,46501} or send an email to

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Written by Jamal Bakalian

Jamal Bakalian

After studying a double degree in Law and International & Global Studies at Sydney University, Jamal completed her GDLP at the College of Law. She is currently undertaking her Masters of Law (majoring in Commercial Litigation). Jamal has been practicing Law for 5 years. With a passion for resolving disputes, Jamal is a valuable member of the Commercial Litigation team at Streeterlaw.

Call us on 02 8197 0105 to book an appointment with Jamal Bakalian!

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