Often at Red Fox, we meet first or nervous home buyers that are underprepared to buy.

It’s always sad to see someone miss out on a home they love because they’re not confident or organised.

Here are our top 7 tips to get your ducks in a row, so you’re ready to win your dream home.

1.Work out your budget

It’s critically important to know how much you can afford to spend and to stick to it.  Talk to your bank or a broker to get a clear idea of what you can borrow BEFORE making offers. Don’t forget to build a margin of safety for interest rate rises too.

Consider that what the bank might lend you and what you can comfortably afford to borrow (and still have a life) might be two different things.

2. Get familiar with the buying process

How much do you know about the offer and acceptance process in WA? Do you understand strata and the differences between different types of strata properties? It’s a good idea to reach out to a settlement agent or friendly real estate agent who can help explain the process to you so that you’re confident about understanding the documentation – these are legally binding contracts you’re signing.

3. Check out the suburbs

Identify the areas you’re interested in living in, and research local amenities, school zones, transport options and any other essential factors. This will help you determine which areas best fit your lifestyle and budget.

4. Find out what’s recently sold in your price range

The best way to determine the potential value of a home you’re buying is to get familiar with the area sales. Remember that what properties are listed for and what they sell for can differ. You can get property reports from your broker (or Landgate) with details of local area sales so you can google those that have sold and see how they compare to what you’re hoping to buy. Better yet, start attending home opens and seeing properties in person.

5. Get on the databases of local real estate agents

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That way, you’ll see not just what they’ve listed or sold but likely what they’ve got coming up too. The best ones (ahem, like us…) write helpful blogs to help educate buyers on the market and buying process, which could be beneficial come decision day.

6. Create a home-open checklist

And follow it. It’s easy to get swept up in the emotions when you see a home you love. A list ensures that what you’re buying will meet your needs – it’s an expensive mistake if it doesn’t. Work out your must-haves and your nice-to-haves and compare properties accordingly.

7. Factor in additional costs

The initial purchase price of your property isn’t just the offer amount; it also includes costs such as stamp duty, settlement agent fees, pro-rata water and shire rates, strata fees (if applicable), and insurance. You’ve also got to consider any upfront maintenance that needs to be done.

When you think about your budget, there’s more to owning a home than mortgage repayments. You’ve got ongoing fees such as utilities, insurance, strata costs, and ongoing maintenance.

Be sure to factor these costs into your overall budget before making an offer – you want to avoid ending up in a financial pickle and losing your much-loved home.

And more resources and education around buying, check out the rest of our blogs on our website.

Good luck!