The Essential Guide To Buying A Home In Toowoomba
When buying a home – especially for the first time – the whole process can get a little confusing.
That’s why our essential buyer checklist is here to help, covering everything from preparing your finances, organising the building and pest inspection, and more.
❑ Buying a house or unit – know the cost difference
Aside from the obvious difference in square footage and – depending on which suburb you decide to buy in – the actual price, there are a number of other considerations you’ll need to factor in when preparing to buy.
Councils set their own rates for all home owners that fall within their catchment, however it’s generally true that council rates on houses are much higher than on units. Despite this, unit owners will often pay strata management fees, which house buyers won’t have to deal with.
Also consider the cost of insurance. Again, it will typically be higher for house buyers, simply because of the size and security requirements of a standalone property. Though again, people buying an apartment in a complex will have to pay strata fees, that will cover strata insurance to protect against damage and theft in any common areas.
❑ Collate relevant information on your favourite suburbs
Where do you want to live? Is there a special suburb or area you have in mind – one that’s within walking distance to family and friends? Or are you more interested in living in an area with fantastic amenities like top-class schools, nearby public transport and exceptional healthcare facilities?
For many buyers, especially those looking to settle into their property for a number of years, creating a ‘whitelist’ of preferred suburbs can be very helpful. From there, you can tabulate all the information that’s most important to you, such as land size, median property price, proximity of amenities, future development potential and more.
❑ Get finance-ready
In a competitive market, it’s more important than ever to get your finances in order well before you put in a bid on a property. This is doubly true following the Royal Banking Commission earlier this year, which has seen many banks tighten their lending criteria.
In most instances, you’ll want to have a 20% deposit before you start house-hunting, as this will give you the upper hand over other buyers and also put you in good stead with your preferred lenders.
However, many would-be buyers looking to enter the market don’t have that amount of savings set aside for their home deposit, which is why the next mark on our buyer checklist is all about the grants offered by the government.
❑ Find out if you’re eligible for any grants
The First Home Owner Grant has been active in Australia for nearly two decades, helping new buyers enter what can at times be a difficult market to penetrate. Every state and territory has their own version of the grant, which means eligible buyers will receive a different amount according to where they decide to buy.
Those applying for Queensland’s First Home Owners’ Grant may receive $15,000 or $20,000 towards the purchase of their property (so long as it’s valued at less than $750,000) depending on the date of their contract.
But there’s another grant you may be eligible for, and this one almost slipped under the radar just before the recent Federal Election.
Starting on 1 January 2020, the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme is set to help first home buyers purchase a home with a deposit as low as 5%. This means eligible participants can save as much as $10,000 on Lenders Mortgage Insurance when taking advantage of the scheme.
❑ Hire a conveyancer or solicitor
You’ll want to engage an experienced and licensed conveyancer to manage all the challenging tasks and small details of property buying, such as reviewing contracts of sale, strata reports, mortgage documentation, as well as arranging finance, overseeing the settlement process and much more. A solicitor experienced in real estate matters can also help with the process, and both are covered under professional indemnity insurance.
Other professionals you may decide to engage include:
- Financial advisor: Who will help you understand your current financial status and buying potential.
- Mortgage broker: Who will be an expert in finding you appropriate mortgage products, and help you negotiate the terms of any loan agreements.
- Valuer: Who will be engaged by your bank or lender to ensure the value of any home you intend to purchase is accurate.
❑ Prepare for a building and pest inspection
To ensure the home you intend to purchase is in the condition you expect it to be, it’s crucial that you engage the services of a property inspection specialist. A pre-purchase building inspection company will be able to send in licensed builders and pest inspectors to ensure the property is free of things like asbestos, pests, mould, defects and more.
❑ Know your rights and obligations
Finally, make sure you understand all your rights and contractual requirements when buying a home. These may differ slightly if you purchase a home at auction or buy a property through private treaty, for example, so it’s recommended that you familiarise yourself with QLD laws around buying a home.
Are you ready to dive into the property market and buy a home? Contact an experienced local agent today and get your real estate plans into action.