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Buying Your First Home: What You Need To Know – Able Finance

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Wanting to buy your first home is very different than being prepared to buy your first home. It’s fun to browse and dream about what you want. It’s even better to get an idea of what’s possible.

Put yourself in the best position to be approved for a mortgage and understand the home buying process before you jump straight into your home search.

Getting Ready To Buy Your First Home

Many renters assume that if their monthly rent is more than the cost of a mortgage payment, it’s a better idea to buy. Why toss money to a landlord when you could be putting that money into your own home, right? Yes, but it’s not quite that simple. There are a few other things first-time home buyers need to consider.

Saving For The Future

The largest cost associated with buying a home is the Deposit and Final Costs. The Deposit is a percentage of your mortgage that you’re required to pay upfront to get your mortgage.

You may have heard that you need at least a 20% deposit before you even think about buying a home. A deposit of 20% or more does get you off the hook for Lenders Mortgage Insurance. It’s an extra fee that can be added to your monthly mortgage payment that’s insurance for the lender if you default on your loan.

Luckily, it’s possible to get a mortgage with a much lower deposit. One example is being able to purchase using your state’s First Home Owner/Building Scheme. No matter what kind of loan you get, you can expect to pay between 3% and 6% of your total home loan in Final Costs (Stamp Duty, Conveyancer fees etc).

Getting ready to buy a home means saving for after you get a mortgage, too. After the most recent Government Royal Commission, lenders are required to ensure you can afford the home in case of several rate increases with many Lenders assessing the interest rate at over 4% above the current interest rate.

But it’s up to you to think about and be prepared for the inevitable expenses that come with homeownership, like that $3,000 air-conditioner that breaks down in the middle of the build-up. It’s a good idea to have a solid emergency fund to fall back on before you purchase a home.

Decide What You Want In A Home

Unlike a car, you usually don’t get to try a home before you buy it, and yet it’s a much larger purchase. That’s why it’s important to spend time figuring out what you want. How close to the amenities you want to use (sports, shops etc)? How long of a drive are you willing to make to get to work every day?

If you have children or you’re ready to start a family, you’ll want to pay attention to the school district. How many bedrooms and bathrooms will you need? Is a large backyard a must-have?

A defined set of criteria will help make your house-hunt easier and more efficient. A good real estate agent can then help guide you to the homes that meet your needs.
Remember, buy with your head and not with your heart!!

An Overview Of The Home Buying Process

Now that you have an idea of how to prepare for finding the right home and having the money to purchase it, here’s a look at how the process works from start to finish.

Step 1: Get Approved For A Mortgage

You may wonder why you’d do this first. It has a lot of advantages, and even if you go to a real estate agent first, most will expect you to get approved before showing you homes.

What’s a mortgage approval? It’s providing financial information to a lender so they can decide if you’re a good candidate for a mortgage. Your approval letter usually gives you an estimate of your maximum loan amount, your interest rate and potential monthly mortgage payment. It’s not a guarantee you can get a mortgage. But it does help you and your real estate agent know how much home you can afford. It shows sellers that a lender has reviewed at least some of your finances and is willing to consider you for a loan.

You may hear approvals called preapproval. Whichever it’s called, the more financial information your lender verifies about you, the better position you’ll be in to make a strong offer on a house.

Step 2: Find Your Home

Your real estate agent is your best resource during this part of the process, from the first open house to signing the purchase agreement. Here are just a few of things you can expect from an agent:

· Expertise in the region where you want to live

· Able to find houses that have the features you want where you want to live

· In-depth knowledge of the mortgage process and can explain it to you

· Paperwork management

· Will submit your offer to sellers and negotiate for you

The last one is a big plus for first-time home buyers, since making an offer can be daunting. Should you offer less than the asking price? Will someone else outbid you? Your real estate agent can help you throughout this process until you find the one and the seller accepts your offer.

Step 3: Inspection, Valuation And Underwriting

After you sign a purchase agreement with a seller, this step is about all the things that have to happen in order to get you ready to close the loan. It has three main parts: the home inspection, appraisal and underwriting.

A home inspection isn’t required, but it protects you from buying a home with a lot of expensive problems because it looks at things like structural components, heating and cooling systems and appliances. You can also walk through the home with the inspector and ask questions. You’re responsible for hiring and paying an inspector; your real estate agent can recommend one. The cost of the inspection can vary from about $200 to $500.

An valuation is required. It protects you and your lender, but it’s not the same as a home inspection. It’s meant to establish the home’s market value, so that you don’t end up buying a house for more than it’s worth. Your mortgage company will order the valuation from an independent third party.

Then the Lender will verify all your financial details so they can give you a final approval. Expect to get requests for information and documents from your lender during this phase.

Step 4: Settlement of Your Loan

Settlement is the last step to getting the keys to your new home. It starts with receiving your Loan Documentation from the Lender. These legally required documents are important to review for two reasons:

· It’s your chance to make sure that everything is accurate on your loan and you’re getting exactly what you expect.

· The sooner you review your documents, the sooner settlement can be scheduled.

Once settlement is scheduled, in most cases you’ll get the chance to do a final walk-through of the property to make sure everything is in order. Then all that’s left is the big day: settlement. Congratulations, you just bought your first home.

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