There comes a time in everybody’s life when they realise it’s time to pull their finger out and start working towards something. For most people, I’m assuming, it comes in their late-twenties to early-thirties. For me, that time came on my twenty-second birthday, when Mum said, casually, ‘At your age, I had my own house, your older brother, and was pregnant with you.’
I’m sure she was hinting that she wanted to be a grandmother, but I hadn’t heard anything beyond the word ‘house’. Having finished uni, it was time for me to consider the rest of my life. I had the steady job, the savings and the twenty-two years of having ‘rent money is dead money’ drilled into me by my parents, so it was time I started my property search.
As daunting as the process was, I am now the owner of my own home, and here are some helpful hints to get started:
Set up a meeting with your bank
There’s no need to search for the best home loan deal yet, just visit the bank you deal with primarily. They have a detailed understanding of your finances and credit history at the click of a button, and it’s a great place to start. Every search needs parameters, and searching for property is exactly the same. Meeting with someone at the bank can let you know what you can reasonably expect to borrow and the simple things you can do to increase that sum.
Look beyond your backyard
I started looking locally. Having grown up on the beaches of Sydney, I quickly realised that, with my budget, I could barely afford the hallway of the worst apartment in the most poorly-maintained building. I expected to step right into the property market my parents had spent years building up to, migrating from Sydney’s outer-Western suburbs, and slowly edging closer to the water with each successive smart property buy. So, the trick is to search beyond your backyard. I eventually settled on Vale, Aveley, a quality residential development thirty-five kilometres south of Perth.
Look for more than an investment
When you buy a property just for an investment, you’re detached; it’s just dollars and cents. But why are you buying a house? Rental returns? What else do you want out of it? Is it just for money, or are you investing in something more? I went to Perth for a wedding, but having visited family in Vale, near the Swan Valley region, I quickly fell in love with the area (and now live there myself). It’s safe to say that I would never have discovered the residential development had I not been on vacation. You don’t have to travel across the country like I did, just fire up Google.
Don’t be afraid to team up
I enlisted my older brother’s help to buy my first home. The property market is incredibly difficult to break into, so don’t be afraid to ask for a helping hand, or better yet, work with another eager first home buyer. Believe me, getting in is far easier when you have help.