Buying a first home, upgrading or even downsizing can be an exciting but stressful time. Like any major decision in your life preparation is the key. It’s rare that you are making your biggest purchase decision overnight, so we recommend that you come and seek our advice as soon as possible.

Understanding your financial position and matching your ambitions and abilities is a critical phase in ensuring you have the right strategy and structure for your dream home. With such an emotional purchase getting the right advice and marring that with the best possible research is the key.

JFS will work through a values based discussion around your future purchase to understand what’s important to you about your first step into the Australian property market


Boost your confidence and your home loan know-how with the following eight tips:


1. Have a Strategy.

Why are you buying this property? What other properties did you consider? What is the longer term plan for this property, do you want to stay there for 20 years or just a few and then keep it as an investment property?

2. Plan your budget.

There is nothing more important when contemplating buying your first home than planning a workable budget and sticking to it, as well as continuing with a revised edition once you have successfully pocketed the keys. It will be through sticking to a budget that you’ll get a clear picture of the home loan you can afford.

3. Know your limitations. 

Whatever you do, do not buy what you can’t afford. It’s easy to convince yourself that you’ll only have to struggle for a couple of years and that everything will be alright once that big promotion comes along. What if something were to happen in the meantime, or the promotion never came? You could stand to lose everything, and you will not have the benefit of the First Home Owner Grant or any other first home buyer incentives the second time around.

4. Save the biggest deposit that you can put together. 

Saving a deposit will help you in two ways. First, it will show your potential lender that you can exercise financial discipline over a period of time. Secondly, the bigger the deposit the larger the equity you have in your property right from the start. This means you will pay less interest. One of the best ways to save your deposit may be to take out a high interest savings account.

5. Apply for the First Home Owner Grant early

The most appropriate time to apply for the First Home Owner Grant is at the same time you apply for your home loan. You can lodge your grant application through most lenders, if they are an authorised agent and able to receive it. If you do this it will be processed faster than if you send it directly to your relevant State or Territory Revenue Office, the government authority that administers it. In most cases the grant will be processed by the time of settlement or, if you are building, by the time your lender will be paying over the first scheduled construction loan payment. If you miss out, you will still have 12 months from settlement, or from the completion of the building, to apply. Even then, in special circumstances, the commissioner can further extend this time limit.

6. Rid yourself of excess debt.

Do not make the mistake of applying for your first home loan while you are carrying excessive debt. Do away with any credit cards you don’t really need, finish off your car payments and pay down any personal loans. Make your home loan your top priority.

7. Be a cynical buyer.

Do not necessarily believe all you are told. Make sure you carry out thorough building and pest inspections and find out what prices similar houses are selling for in the same locality. If you do your research properly you should be pretty right.

8. Make certain you receive all that you are eligible to receive.

The various state and territory governments also offer their own incentives to first home buyers in the way of grants. Most states also give generous concessions off the costs of stamp duty imposts. Make sure you know what is available in the locality you are buying your first home.

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