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Feb 26, 2024

Mistakes to avoid as a first-home buyer

Whether it’s a new apartment or an old one – or even a house in the outer suburbs – finding an affordable home isn’t easy for anyone starting out. And in all the excitement of house hunting, it’s all too easy to make mistakes. The following tips are designed to put first-home buyers on the path to achievable and manageable property acquisition: Gain pre-approval Just knowing you qualify for a home loan is not enough. Before you start looking at properties, go to lenders and find out how much they are willing to lend you. This will help you focus your attention on houses you can afford, so you can avoid the disappointment of finding your dream home and then learning you can’t have it. Understand your mortgage options Getting a home loan may be easier today than it was in the past when you had to save for years for your deposit. But it’s also riskier and can be more expensive. A no-deposit loan comes with the added cost of mortgage insurance. You might like to ask yourself: would I be better off making a deposit and saving on the ongoing cost of mortgage insurance? Get advice from a variety of lenders and discuss all your options with them. Don’t borrow beyond your means Sometimes first-home buyers make the mistake of borrowing beyond their capabilities. This can stretch your finances to the limit and will not allow you to make improvements to your property when you move in. Worse still, you might not be able to afford to enjoy life in your new home. If you face unforeseen financial problems, it could mean having to sell your house before you have substantial equity in it. Be proactive Many first-home buyers will benefit from being proactive and doing independent research. In addition to getting in touch with professional real estate services, you can find auction results and past sale prices online. If you narrow your searches down to the suburbs and even streets where you want to buy, you can find out what properties are selling for. When a vendor’s agent, who will always be acting on their client’s behalf, gives you a price, you will be in a position to make a realistic counter-offer. Get a pre-purchase inspection report Some of the best real estate deals are older homes that need minor or cosmetic repairs and renovations. Some of the worst deals are older homes that need costly major repairs. Those major repair jobs might be hidden from view. Saving a few dollars by not getting a pre-purchase inspection report from an independent building inspector can cost you thousands of dollars after you move into your home. To be on the safe side, have a pest inspection carried out as well. Don’t underestimate additional costs When you buy a home, you pay more than just the cost of the house. Some additional costs include: home insurance moving costs inspection reports stamp duty council rates transfer fees Know your costs and budget ahead of time and you won’t be losing sleep when you move into your new home. Remove emotion from the equation Buying your first home is an emotional experience, so it’s too easy to let your emotions blind you. Take your cue from lenders to home renovators, who think of only one thing when they buy a house: “What will my return on investment be?” If a professional doesn’t think a house offers a good return on their investment, they walk away. If you are in the process of looking for your first property, give one of the RealWay Team a call so we may be of assistance. Property is our profession.

Oct 10, 2022

Buying your first home? Things to know.

When you are looking to buy your first home, the process can seem overwhelming between the finance, real estate jargon and the advice that you will receive from anyone that you talk to. Buying your first home is an exciting step into the world of home ownership and it doesn’t need to be as stressful as you are sometimes advised. It takes preparation and knowing your limitations before you set on the path the buy. Work out your finance Before you begin to look for your home and risk falling in love with a property that may be well beyond your means, talk with your financial adviser or financial institution to work out how much you can borrow. They will look at factors like how much you have in savings, if you are borrowing with someone else, your income and any assets and if there is enough for a deposit and stamp duty. You may be pre-approved for a certain level of finance based on the information that you provide, and this will give you a limit to know how much you can potentially spend. If you are pre-approved, it will also mean that you need to stick to a budget when you are looking as any changes in your income or expenses before you purchase may affect your final finance approval. Look into first home buyer incentives In many states, there are provisions for first home buyers to receive discounts on things like stamp duty or lump sums toward purchasing your first home. Usually, there are conditions around the purchase price to qualify, using the property as your principal place of residence and if you are buying a pre-existing home or building. Stamp duty is a government tax that is required in each state and there are often incentives for discounts or sometimes no stamp duty to be paid, depending on qualifying factors. It is best to check your state and talk with your financial advisor about what you may be eligible for. Searching for your new home Once you have a figure and budget in mind, you can start looking for your new home. It is important to look for properties that are within your means, remembering that factors will affect your mortgage, like interest rate hikes and the general cost of living and you don’t want to be caught short in paying your mortgage. Work out the suburb that you would like to live in and the size of the property and your list of inclusions as part of a needs, must and wants list. This can help to narrow down your selection and help with working out the home you would like to buy. When you have a list of properties, the fun part of inspecting homes and preparing for negotiating with sales agents or preparing for an auction begins. Ask our agents as many questions as you need to make an informed decision. Making an offer When you are ready to make an offer, talk with our sales agents who will help guide you through the process and communicate your offer with the vendor. In the case of an auction, they will register you for auction day and be available to answer any questions you may have. When you have made a successful offer and it has been accepted, you will need to pay a deposit of 5% or 10% and contracts will exchange between the vendor and yourself, as the purchaser and then solicitors will prepare contracts for settlement. Throughout the process, our agents are always available to answer any questions that you may have and help you through your first home-buying journey.

Aug 4, 2022

Are there benefits to selling or buying off-market?

Deciding to sell off-market will likely be a decision that is made between you as the vendor and your agent based on the style of home that you are selling, the current market conditions and your preferences. While auctions have been a popular method of sale in the last decade to increase the potential sale price, there are benefits and drawbacks to selling in this way, as there are in selling off-market. As a different approach to the process of selling or buying a property, you may find this method will be suitable to your needs. Vendor benefits The benefits for vendors to list their property off-market and try to sell in this method can include a reduction in the levels of stress that can occur with other sale options. As agents are likely to have a community of potential purchasers that are looking for similar properties in the area, they can minimise the need for marketing and the sometimes-lengthy process that comes with a sales campaign. An off-market sale also means that there are no open homes with potential purchasers coming through or the neighbours taking a quick look, out of interest and you may only have a few private inspections with less fanfare. The drawbacks to selling off-market can include missing out on a higher sale price without the frenzy and excitement that can occur during an auction campaign. However, a good sales agent should be able to negotiate well through this challenge to achieve the best possible sale price. Benefits to buying off-market For a purchaser, an off-market sale can mean that there is less competition to drive up the sale price and this could mean gaining a property at a bargain price or help to ensure that you do not overspend and stay within your finance-approved budget. Stress levels can be less for a buyer with this method of sale as you are not competing with a number of buyers in an auction campaign and will have more time to consider your purchase options and price. If you choose to purchase off-market, it can also limit the pool of potential properties that you may have available. Many vendors will sell via auction and if you limit your purchasing requirements to just an off-market strategy, there could be a reduction in the properties to choose from. This will mean patience as possibly more time will be needed for this type of strategy to find the right property for you. Open home? First impressions will have an impact.

Jul 27, 2022

Preparing for bidding at auction?

Over the past decade, auctions have become a favoured method of sale for real estate agents and sellers in the property market. While this is a great option for agents to use during the sales process, bidding at auction can become an exciting and stressful experience for buyers. Preparing for an auction is a crucial step before you head off to bid, to ensure that you are ready for the day and whatever the outcome is. Secure your finance Before deciding to bid at auction, a key step is to ensure that you have spoken with your financial institution or lender and secured finance. On the day of the auction, if you are the successful bidder, you will need to pay a deposit on the spot. Arranging your finance in advance will also help you to set a limit for bidding at auction and give you an offer range for how high you can afford. It is smart to have your budget in mind before you raise the paddle and be firm on it, with a small percentage of wiggle room as it can be challenging to not get carried away in the excitement on auction day. Attend open homes and decide on a property You may find that when you are entering into the buying process, the first home you bid on won’t be the last. Bidding at auction can be competitive. In a tighter market, there is higher competition for properties, and you may miss out the first, second or even third time. Attend as many open homes as you need to during the hunt for your new home and it is important to keep in mind that each auction may not be the last. When you have found a property or even properties that are suitable, gather all the information from the sales agents that you need to make an informed decision to take with you to the auction. Be prepared on auction day On the day of the auction, there can often be several bidders all vying for the property. You will need to pre-register prior to the auction and provide your ID and details to the selling agent. They will provide you with a paddle to raise when you want to put in a bid against the property. When the auctioneer calls for bids, keep an eye on your competition to scope out how many other bidders are in the race as well as their movements and body language. Be confident and strong with your bidding and keep those guidelines around your budget and finance approval in mind when you are raising that paddle. Bidding at auction can be an exciting time and taking the time to prepare will make you feel far more ready for the process. Attending open homes? What should buyers remember during an open home?

Apr 29, 2022

Apartment living and the benefits of buying into it...

It’s fair to say that the national housing market is steadily peaking this year, hot on the heels of unprecedented price hikes in 2021.  How is this affecting apartments? 2022 is signalling a turnaround in the unit rental markets and unit price growth could outperform that of houses, according to the SQM Housing Boom and Bust Report 2022. “With houses being overvalued, apartments are relatively affordable and are expected to be in greater demand from an expected rise in net migration from interstate and overseas with many borders now open,” says Louis Christopher, the managing director of SQM Research. In addition to the resurgence in apartment living that is trending in industry circles this year, there is another benefit of owning or investing in an apartment. That is the appeal of low-maintenance lifestyles. Remember the joy of cleaning gutters? Or mowing the lawn on a hot afternoon at your family home? Unlike a house that requires regular maintenance, apartments are a far cry from your weekend being replaced by a never-ending list of chores. Your apartment list might only be a fraction of what it once was, but it’s still vitally important for your property’s long-term value not to neglect regular checks. Maintenance diary helps to track ongoing needs Create a maintenance diary so most of the work can be completed on one day of the month, freeing up the rest of your time for what you prefer. It’s recommended, for example, that painting should be refreshed every five to eight years. And it’s best for longevity if three coats are applied to each repainting project. The good news is that apartments are generally more compact (i.e. manageable) than a full-sized house and thus are designed to halve the painting time. Carpet cleaning is another, together with window cleaning and ensuring your window furnishings and flyscreens remain in good order. Balconies are one of the biggest sources of leaks, so keeping yours tidy can prevent major issues in the longer term. If the budget is tight, consider defraying costs by pooling resources with neighbours and booking tradies for consecutive jobs. Who knows? You may even gain a discount. Checklist for buying apartments The Apartment Buyers and Owners education kit, produced by the Australian Apartment Advocacy, is a great place to start when considering an apartment for investment or personal lifestyle choice. The kit covers what questions to ask when looking to buy, information about the sales contract, a pre-settlement checklist, details about defects and how your rights are protected. Greg Watson CEO RealWay Australia

Mar 12, 2022

The Upsides of Downsizing

The thought of exchanging the maintenance of a larger home for a hassle-free future full of travel, friends, and newfound freedom is a common aspirant for downsizers on the move. Given the ideal replacement residence, more than half of Australians aged over 55 are open to downsizing opportunities, according to Australian Housing and Urban Research and similar sources. Once the reality of the children growing up and leaving the family home starts to wear off, there are many compelling reasons favouring the move to a smaller abode. The average Australian homeowner buys three to four properties in their lifetime. Traditionally, they trade up from their first home to a more substantial residence, often upgrading and then downsizing upon retirement. Financial incentives Incentives are in place to maintain this market cycle, with downsizing provisions enabling people over the age of 65 to sell their home and put an extra $300,000 in super. But firstly factor in selling and buying costs (including moving) and talk to your financial advisor about how it could affect age-pension entitlements by boosting your assets outside the home. Positive mindset More than anything, downsizing requires a shift in mindset and the need to separate your wants from your needs. Just like saving for your first home, it’s important to maintain a budget. Decluttering is an essential component of the downsizing transition. Review your belongings on a room-by-room basis and decide what to keep, discard, donate or sell. Embrace the space Given the reduced space at your new address, measure your furniture to ensure it fits the space and try to use one statement piece in each room. It’s also vital to make the most of storage where you find it – and there’s no shortage of potential solutions under beds, in cupboards, and in wardrobes. Also, mount your TV on the wall, make the most of Wi-Fi technology, and utilise multi-purpose furnishings where you can. Once you’ve settled into your new, streamlined space, embracing the downsizing adventure will be a joy as you embark on the next phase of your life. Consult your RealWay local expert to explore downsizing investment options in your region.

Jan 17, 2022

Don't Ignore Smoke Alarm Changes in Qld - Jan 22

For dwellings being sold, leased or an existing lease renewed Existing landlord’s and tenant’s obligations continue from 1 January 2017. Property sellers must continue to lodge a Form 24 stating the requirements of the legislation have been met. See New Smoke Alarm Legislation for more details. From 1 January 2022 All homes or units being sold or leased, or existing leases renewed, will require hardwired photoelectric, interconnected smoke alarms. Non-removable 10-year battery smoke alarms can be installed in place. Smoke alarms in the dwelling must: be photoelectric (AS3786-2014); and not also contain an ionisation sensor; and Be hardwired to the mains power supply, if currently hardwired. Otherwise, smoke alarms can be either hardwired or powered by a non-removable 10 yr battery or a combination of both. be interconnected with every other smoke alarm in the dwelling so all activate together. The legislation requires smoke alarms must be installed in the following locations: on each storey in each bedroom if there is no hallway, between the bedroom and other parts of the storey; and if there are no bedrooms on a storey, at least one smoke alarm must be installed in the most likely path of travel to exit the dwelling. The obligations on property sellers are triggered by the date the initial sale contract is signed. When a contract of sale is signed after 1 January 2022 , the seller is obligated to upgrade the dwelling to the updated interconnected domestic smoke alarm standard prior to the dwelling being transferred. The property seller must declare on a “form 24” to the buyer as part of the transfer process that this obligation has been discharged.     How it could cost you more than a $1000? Failure to comply with the new legislation means a property being sold allows the buyer to claim 0.15% of the purchase price prior to settlement. So on a property sale of $900,000, this would mean they are entitled to claim $1350. So make sure you have installed all the necessary smoke alarms well before settlement so this does not become an issue for you. For more information on what is required please check the Queensland Fire Service Fact Sheets - Click here

Nov 19, 2021

Do You Need That Home?

1 min read This may seem like a strange question coming from a real estate group, but do you need that house or unit you covet so much? We all go through phases in our lives when certain aspects of a home meet our personal requirements.  These needs are undeniable (like starting out on your own, moving in with a partner/spouse, raising children).  Do you ever stop to think about what your choice of property needs from you in terms of time and finances? There is the cleaning to do, mortgage payments to make, maintenance and gardening.  There may be great friends to be made or years of isolation as we work to maintain our coveted lifestyle. What about your life partner?  Do we ever think of the pressures we can place on the one we love to maintain the property or keep up with the mortgage? Our desires, emotions and needs make complicated bedfellows as influences in the decision making about the type of home that we choose to live in. A good agent does more than market a property and negotiates a sales price.  We consider your stage of life and advise you of some of the realities of owning a particular property.  We professionally navigate the emotions of the property transaction between all the parties involved. A good agent will use their knowledge, skills and experience to make your property journey so much less stressful.  So, finding a person who you can work with is key.  Your agent’s core values are important because you want to work with someone that plays by the same rules you do.  For example, if you are an honest person who tells the truth, would you not want someone to be open and honest with you? Greg Watson CEO RealWay Australia