Buying a home: Your Pre-Purchase Checklist

By John Anderson

Melbourne Commercial Property Valuers

Purchasing a home is a huge investment for any buyer. Whether you’re a first time buyer, or a seasoned investor, it’s important to always remember a few crucial details when looking for your next buy. Before you’re ready to seek out a property valuation in order to make an offer, there are a few things that are needed to ensure that you’re making the right decision.

There’s more to buying a property than simply looking. The process of buying a home requires a lot of time and research to ensure that you’re making the right investment for yourself and your family. While there are multiple avenues you can turn to for advice, it’s important to not lose sight of what will work for you. With that being said, here’s any easy checklist to help you find the right property for you –

Does the local area suit your needs?

Determining the area you want to buy in will affect you whether you’re looking to rent the property out or living there long term. Either way the area you want to buy in will affect your commute to work, your potential rental income and overall demand. With this being said, it’s important to find an area that will suit your requirements.

This will differ for everybody, however, it might mean looking into the local schools, its proximity to public transport, local shopping districts and recreational facilities. Finding the right area for you requires some research and perhaps spending some time there to familiarise yourself with the surroundings.

If you already have your sights set on a property, be sure to check out the street it resides in and observe local noise levels in relation to neighbours or any kind of main roads. This will be useful if you live near a train station, under a flight path or a main highway.

Understand your finances

The property market is not the right place to compromise on budget, spending beyond your means can have a drastic impact on your long term payments. Being able to understand your finances means not just taking into account what you can afford now, but it also has to take into account future obstacles.

If you have multiple investments, then seeking out a financial advisor will be your best course of action to determine what you can and can’t afford. However, if this is not an option for you (especially if you’re a first time buyer), then taking the time to work out what you can realistically afford will be beneficial for you in the long run.

When it comes to discussing loan and mortgage options, setting up a regular meeting with your bank is a great way to discuss your finances in an open and honest setting. Being able to truly understand what you can afford will dictate the location, property type, property size and the deposit amount you’re aiming for. With this being said, it’s not a great idea to stretch your finances if you’re not confident you can pay for it in the long run.

Ask the right questions

This seems like a simple one to remember, but you’d be surprised what you can forget to do if you think you’ve found the right place for you. Asking questions about any defects the property has, issues in regard to the neighbourhood or the electrics or plumbing can save you a lot of hassle down the road.

Another common oversight is the reason the existing owners are deciding to sell. Are they upsizing or downsizing? Or is there another reason that may affect your perception of the property? It may seem irrelevant, but it’s always safer to ask and to know before you invest your savings into the property.

Understand any environment risks

Environmental hazards can affect the overall property value. Whether your chosen property resides in an area that is prone to flooding or bushfires, it’s important to have all the facts for safety and insurance purposes. Knowing what environmental risks your property is under will give you a good indication of its asking price and will give you the opportunity to reconsider if this is right property for you.

Finding this information should be made available publicly or via the showing the real estate agent, however it’s also disclosed in a valuation report should you decide to get the property valued by a professional.

Know when to turn to a professional

Especially for first time buyers, purchasing your first home is a stressful legal process and should not be taken lightly. Knowing when to turn to a professional for advice can be a worthy investment for anyone buying a home. This might mean investing in a lawyer to overlook documents and larger scale/complex purchases, a surveyor or an independent property valuer. Seeking out a professional valuation service means that you’ll receive an accurate report for the true worth of the property to help prepare you to make an offer.

The process of buying a home can be a long process so it’s important to make sure that you’re adequately prepared when you decide to put in an offer. While this checklist can offer you some insight in what to look out for, above all, it’s important to know what you want, what you can afford and what obstacles to be prepared for.

If you’re looking to purchase your first or next home, be sure to utilise our services as a full service valuation company. Seeking out the services of a residential property valuer who is local to your area will be able to take one less stress away when deciding to buy a property.