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Top tips for buying your first home

Top tips for buying your first home

Making that all important first step on the property ladder can be a daunting prospect. Where do you start? How much can you afford to borrow? What should you buy and where?
The good news is, there is plenty of information out there to help you on your way - you just have to know where to look (and who to talk to) to find it.  
We thought we'd make it as easiest as possible for you, by speaking to a panel of experts to answer your key questions all in one place.
Where do you start your journey? For most, it is chatting to a bank or mortgage broker to find out more about your borrowing capacity (if that isn't the first thing on your agenda, it certainly should be!). We asked mortgage broker Brendan Styles to break down the key steps to securing finance.
1. Start saving
This should go without saying. Buying a home is undoubtedly the biggest purchase you will make, so if you're looking to get into the market, you'll need to start saving.  Having money in the bank - and a track record of savings - is the key to securing the next all important step... 
2. Finance
Knowing how much you can afford to borrow is the key to start in your home building journey. There is no point getting your heart set on a home that is not in your budget, so having a clear idea from the start what your price range is will allow you to focus on homes that match. You will also want to get 'pre-approval', which allows you to make a buying decision with confidence.
3. Understanding grants and incentives
From the Queensland First Home Owner's Grant, which gives you a cool $15,000 boost if you build a new home, to stamp duty exemptions and even a 50 per cent discount on your first year of rates - there are a range of incentives out there to help you get into your new home sooner.  Speak to your bank or mortgage broker, and do some desktop research, to make sure you know all the incentives you're entitled to.
If you are wanting to take advantage of the First Home Owner's Grant, you'll likely be looking to build a new home, which means you'll be dealing directly with a builder. We got the low-down from Bold Living senior sales consultant Brendan Wekeem on what you need to consider.
1. What does your ideal home look like?
You'll need to sit down and take stock of what you are looking to get out of your first home. Ask yourself what is important to you? How long you intend to live in the home, and will it suit you now and over those coming years? Are you looking for space to entertain? For yard space for kids or pets? Have a clear idea of the key features and those you might be willing to compromise on.
2. What designs are available in your budget - and what is included as standard?
Visiting display homes is a really great way to see first hand what is achievable in your price range and, also, what appeals to you. You'll quickly see which homes, and builders, resonate with you, which will help you make a decision on the home you would like to build. Make sure you ask the builder lots of questions and have a clear understanding of what features are included as standard, and what may come at an extra cost.
3. Does the builder have a strong track record?
Building a new home is a major investment, so you want to make sure you're working with a builder that has a reputation for delivering quality work - on time. Once again, ask questions, visit displays and drive around to view first-hand other homes under construction by the builder to make sure you're comfortable.
If you're building new, you'll likely be considering a range of different masterplanned communities. What sets one community apart from another? We chatted with Ellendale sales consultant Alan Meacock about the key features you should look out for.
1. Location
Location is probably at the top of the list - is the community close to services, conveniences, schools, parks and shops, and will you be able to get to and from work easily?  All of these features are important to consider, but also take stock of the surrounds on offer within the estate itself - is it the type of community you want to be part of? The leafy and tranquil surrounds, for example, of Ellendale really make it a special place to live.
2. Homesites on offer
The size and topography of homesites on offer will influence what you can build on your land.  Look for a community that offers plenty of variety, as this will deliver a more diverse and vibrant community, and mean you have more choice of homesites to build your dream home.  It will also give you the opportunity, if you wish, to upgrade in future and still live within the same community.
3. Quality
Look for a community with strong covenants in place, which are designed to ensure a high quality streetscape is developed and maintained over the long term. Having a strong covenant in place protects your investment into the future.
For more information on starting your first home buying journey, you can download our First Home Buyer Guide here or download from the link below. 

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