Finance Dollars & Sense Four things to consider before buying your next home

Four things to consider before buying your next home

property market buying a house
Buying a house is a process that shouldn't be rushed. Photo: Getty
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Your loan is pre-approved, your must-haves are set and you’re ready to snap up your dream home.

But guess what?

Real estate agents don’t need you right now.

The market is hot, with Commonwealth Bank head of Australian economics Gareth Aird tipping prices will continue to soar by one-fifth this year and by 7 per cent in 2022.

“We now expect national dwelling prices to rise by a whopping 20 per cent over 2021,” he said.

“Dwelling price growth is expected to moderate in 2022 on affordability constraints, but very low mortgage rates will continue to be a tailwind on the property market.”

Median house prices in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra were above $1 million in the June quarter of this year, according to property analytics firm CoreLogic.

There were 171,100 sales in the three months to July, which is more than 50 per cent higher than the typical amount over the June quarter over the past five years.

So, with a market this hot, it’s not a case of real estate agents needing to pester you – you have to suck up to them.

Make the agent your bestie

Buyers agent and Solvere Wealth director John Pidgeon said to snare the property you want in a hot market, you need to have real estate agents on speed dial and aim to see properties before they’re listed.

To be first in line to see a property, the best time to call real estate agents is usually around lunch on Mondays, after their weekly sales meeting.

Email won’t cut it, you’ve got to call.

“Go in and knock down the doors of real estate agents because real estate agents aren’t going to call you. You need to be calling them,” Mr Pidgeon said.

“They don’t need you in this type of market, whereas you need them.”

Be prepared

Mr Pidgeon said you must have your loan pre-approved, know exactly what you want and what similar properties in the area have sold for recently.

“If you know the area and the prices that we should be paying, as soon as something comes on to the market, you can act quickly, you can put an offer in that day,” he said.

“I don’t think people are aggressive enough; they’ll go to an open, then they’ll do their numbers, then they’ll talk to their parents and all of a sudden, two days later, it’s gone and they’re frustrated.

“That’s not the market. that’s their fault because they haven’t understood the market and the conditions.”

FOMO shouldn’t be factor

With all that said, it’s tempted to get carried away with the lure of cheap money that now interest rates are at record lows.

But you shouldn’t buy property only because rates are low, just as you shouldn’t hold off and try and ‘time’ the market if you’re ready.

Understand the worst-case scenario

Mr Pidgeon said you need to be in a stable financial position to buy a property as well as psychologically ready for the responsibility of debt.

It’s important to understand banks can offer to lend you more than what you can actually afford, he said.

“Understand what level of repayments you’re comfortable with,” he said.

“People can go overboard because the banks are lending them money and they’re thinking, ‘2 per cent, that interest rate is pretty manageable’.

“But all of a sudden in three years’ time it’s 3 per cent or more, then they’re out to sea without a paddle.”

You should have an emergency fund – at least three months’ worth of living expenses is a good place to start – know what your plans are for the next five to 10 years, and work out whether you could make repayments if you lost your job.

“You have got to understand what is the worst that could happen,” Mr Pidgeon said.

Use Moneysmart’s mortgage calculator to work out if you can afford to take on as much debt as you think you can.

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