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Buying your first home? What you need to know!

Deciding to finally realise the great Australian dream of home ownership is an exciting step, but it can be complicated. We want to take the stress out our your decisions with this guide to make sure you’ve got things covered.

1. Set your budget

Setting a budget is important for both your deposit and your ability to service a mortgage.

A budget will help you be clear on what you can afford and how are you’re going to achieve that. When setting your savings goals remember to be realistic about your spending. Saving for a house can take some quite time so factor in the different rates at which you might be able to save both now and in the future.

To make saving and planning easier, there are a lot of savings calculators and planners available online for free.

2. A house is more than its sale price!

Remember the transaction costs associated with buying a house – stamp duty, legal fees, home inspection reports, bank fees and lenders mortgage insurance are just examples.

These expenses really add up so include them in your budget and savings plan.

3. Are you eligible for any government assistance?

There are a number of generous government packages available to help Victorian first home buyers. Some of the plans might even be available together so make sure you do your research ahead of time to ensure that you know exactly what assistance you might be able to get in securing your first home.

Grants and assistance you may be eligible for include:

• $10,000 first home owners’ grants: more information here
• $20,000 first home owners grant for new homes in regional Victoria (including Bacchus Marsh): more information here
• First home buyer stamp duty exemptions (50% discount on homes worth up to $600,000 and a discount on homes worth between $600,000 - $750,000): more information here
• First home loan deposit scheme: more information here
• $25,000 HomeBuilder grant: more information here

4. Understand your mortgage

A good mortgage broker can help to provide advice on your best borrowing options. Before engaging them check that they have a licence and ask about the commissions they get from banks and other credit providers, it’s also worth checking to see if they will charge you a fee.

However, not everyone needs a broker. A lot of information about interest rates and mortgages is available online from banks and other lenders and it is relatively straightforward to compare competing offers.

Another thing to consider is securing pre-approval from your lender. This may give you the confidence of knowing that you can act quickly when you find your dream home.

5. Explore locations

Once you’ve set your budget and you understand your borrowing options, start looking around at the different suburbs or towns you might want to buy in. Speak to locals to get a good understanding of the amenity and community of the area you might end up living in.

You may want to consider:

• How long will it take you to get to work.
• What are the transport options? Can you easily access public transport?
• Are there good schools, parks, shops, café and restaurants nearby?

6. What kind of house do you want

Decide the kind of house you want to live in. Do you prefer an older style house, town house or a new house that you’ve designed? Do you want a back yard or are you happy with an apartment?

If you decide on an established house, make sure you check everything properly. You might even consider a building inspection report to help you identify issues from pest control to whether the appliances have been installed safely.

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