8 common mistakes home buyers make

13 November 2018

So, you are looking to buy your first home. Hours of daydreaming over the years have shaped the perfect image of what your house should look like. Finding that house on the other hand can be quite a struggle and some snap decisions can actually leave you with a nightmare of a property. When house hunting it is important to be prepared and avoid these common mistakes during your search.

Caving to the pressure of searching

The search for your first home can be exhausting. But keep in mind there will always be more properties coming on to the market regularly. Take time to find the house that suits you so you won’t regret it later. Have a checklist of things that matter most to you in your search and stay true to them, avoid compromising on your main requirements. Don’t feel like you are being forced into something. It’s YOUR decision to make.

Not keeping emotions at bay

Dreaming about your first home can be great, but keep a clear head. Look at it as a house, not yet a home. Focusing on great aspects in the house can make the problematic aspects seems less significant. Look at the whole picture. The house, the land, the street, the neighbours etc. Not just the dream kitchen where the whole family can have breakfast in a few years. Tip: bring a person that is not emotionally involved in the sale to have look at the property with you.

Underestimating a fixer-upper

Some properties can be a diamond in the rough, and have great potential. Which is great if you have the handy qualities to do it yourself or the money to get it done. Don’t underestimate the work that goes in to fixing up a home. It takes time, money and stress (it is not as easy or as quick a process as reality shows such as ‘The Block’ makes it look….). If choosing a house for a fixer upper, make sure you are up for the job or bring a contractor to see what needs to be done and what the estimated costs would be.

Not looking close enough at a property

Be sure to investigate the property. It wouldn’t be the first time that sellers cosmetically hide problems. A fresh lick of paint might be hiding serious faults to the property. You might be able to physically see or smell mould and water damage if you look close enough. A building and pest inspection is a must. Be sure to engage the services of a reliable and independent building inspector who should do a thorough inspection of the house.

Not knowing the limits

If you are obtaining a loan to assist with your purchase, before you start looking for properties, contact a mortgage broker or lender and find out how much you can borrow. Getting a loan pre-approval and sticking to what you can afford will help you avoid disappointment.

Being afraid to negotiate

Be honest and upfront about what you expect to get out of the deal. It is common for negotiations to be done through the real estate agent. Before you sign any contract, make sure that everything you have negotiated is included in the contract. A conveyancing lawyer can also assist you in negotiations with the seller and advise you on the contract terms and your obligations. This can save you from unfair terms in the contract of sale.

Not picking the right professionals

Do research who you want to work with. Check online reviews and ask for word-of-mouth recommendations from family and friends. You want to choose a conveyancing lawyer and mortgage broker or lender that suits you. Friends and family may give their well-intended opinions about what to buy, contract terms and finance deals but buying a home is a serious matter and you will need professional advice. Mortgage broker and lenders can advise you about benefits like the first home owner grants and concessions which could save you thousands of dollars!

Being afraid to walk away

If it is a bad deal, it’s a bad deal. And there is nothing more to it than that. If the contract is unfair and the seller won’t budge, if the building and pest reports come back unsatisfactory or the strata report turns out far from ideal, you should consider walking away.

Lawlab understands the stresses associated with finding and purchasing your perfect home. We’ve made our system as easy and supporting as possible, helping you with every step of your purchase.

Disclaimer This information is general in nature only and does not constitute legal advice. Lawlab accepts no liability for the content of this information. You should obtain legal advice specific to your individual circumstances. Lawlab’s liability is limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.
Jodie Walsh
Jodie Walsh
Legal Support Team

Admitted to the Supreme Court of New South Wales, Jodi joined lawlab in 2016. Since then she has held multiple positions within the firm. Starting out in the Settlements Team at our Nyngan office and moving to Sydney as a Legal Adviser. Since returning from maternity leave Jodi has joined out Support Team, in her free time you can find her looking after her beautiful newborn, Noah.

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