A guide to buying your first home in Brisbane

Making your first foray into real estate is exciting, whether you’re moving out of home for the first time or you’re ready to take the leap from renting to owning. Follow these steps and you’re on your way to a smart purchase.

1. Do your research

The first step is to get your priorities in order. If you’re a career-focused professional wanting to get a foot in the property door (a wise move), an inner-city apartment or townhouse could be right for you. The closer you can buy to the CBD, the more capital growth you can expect. The good news is that you should be able to buy an apartment for less than $500,000 within the 5km inner-city radius. Buying further out will be more affordable, but you can expect less capital growth the further you buy from the city.

If you’re part of a couple and want to purchase a house rather than an apartment, look for a home you can add value to over time with a renovation or extension. Is it pet-friendly? Can it accommodate children in the future? Is there room for a pool? Try to think about how your needs might change in the next few years rather than just what suits you right now. 

First homebuyers looking for a house within a 5-10km radius from the city can expect to pay $600,000-$800,000.

2. Apply for pre-approval

You never know when you’re going to stumble on a house or apartment so perfect for you that you want to make an offer there and then. Without pre-approval for a mortgage, however, and you’re one step behind the competition. 

Apply for your loan as soon as you’ve saved your desired deposit. For some first homebuyers that will be 5 per cent of the purchase price. Others, who want to avoid paying mortgage insurance, will save a 20 per cent deposit before looking to buy. 

When you’re weighing up how much to spend, keep in mind that first homebuyers who purchase a property valued at less than $550,000 won’t have to pay transfer duty. This can add up to a saving of $15,925 as long as you meet the First-Home Concession eligibility criteria.

Lenders want details, so be prepared to hand over savings and credit card statements, as well as particulars on income and any debt you’re carrying. Once you have your pre-approval locked in, you can move forward with confidence.

3. Nail your inspection

You can fall in love with a property just by seeing the photos online, but unless you go into an inspection with a strategy, it’s easy to make decisions with your heart rather than your head.

Before you walk in the front door, look to the left and right of the house or give the apartment block a once-over. The state of neighbouring houses can impact a property’s value, as can the condition of an apartment block as a whole. 

Take any brochures, contracts of sale or inspection paperwork the agent has at hand, and take plenty of photos on your phone for future reference. If you’re seeing more than two properties in a day, they can all start to blur together. 

Try to look past the decor at the bones of the property. Is there potential to renovate or extend? Has it been well built and maintained? Are there any signs of water or structural damage? 

If you like what you see, arrange to visit the property at another time of day during the week. Pay attention to traffic noise, how much natural light the property has, and its distance to public transport and shopping amenities. The second inspection is also a good chance to drill down and look at every detail so you can make sure it’s the property for you.

4. Make an offer

To avoid financial stress, it’s vital you don’t give in to temptation and overspend. If the property is going up for auction, you can make a pre-auction offer or wait until auction day to (hopefully) make the winning bid. 

If you’d rather wait until the auction, ask the selling agent to alert you if someone else makes a pre-auction offer. That way, although the agent can’t tell you how much the other offer was, you at least have the chance to make your own.

Keep in mind that if you’ve bought a house by private treaty, there is a five-day cooling off period. During this time, you can pull out of the sale without any financial penalties. If you’ve bought at auction, there is no cooling-off period. You’ve been warned!

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of being handed the keys to your first home. If you’ve done your homework, organised your finances early, and given every property a thorough inspection before making a final decision, you shouldn’t have any regrets. Welcome home!

Want to find out what your home might be worth?

Our agents can provide a free appraisal of your home in person or online to give you an indication of what your home might be worth in the current market.

Brisbane property

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