21 things that will make buying your first property easier

When looking to buy your first home, the entire premise of saving that much money can seem daunting. It can be so easy to get overwhelmed, not just with your finances, but with your research too. Picking the type of property you want to buy, the location, and the features you need, all require really informed decision making. So, whether it’s trading your morning barista-made coffee for an instant coffee from the office, or going for a drive around your shortlisted suburbs, here are our top tips to make buying your first property easier.

1. Decide what type of property you’re looking for. Do you want to buy an apartment? A townhouse? A house for your growing family?

2. Research suburbs on PropertyMash — we’ve got the inside scoop and can help make your decision easier. Whether it’s information on local schools, commute times or average property prices in the area, our Suburb Profiles have you covered.

3. Start to get rid of anything unnecessary — the less stuff you have, the easier moving is. Watch some Marie Kondo and toss out anything that doesn’t spark joy (or… you know… sell it on Gumtree and make some extra coin).

4. Bring your own lunch and coffee to work. Saving that extra $15 a day equates to around $300 a month and over $3,600 a year.

Instant Coffee

5. Check out a few events that talk about strategies to save for your first property these can be lifesavers if you’re unsure of how to properly budget. Mortgage Choice and other financial institutions run events like this in Brisbane quite frequently, so keep your eye out.

6. Research projects on PropertyMash to get a good idea of what’s out there. Read full reviews of projects you’re interested in and enquire on a few of your favourites to get more information. Reviews on PropertyMash are written by independent journalists, so you can trust in their opinions on every project in Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast.

7. Watch TED Talks about saving, buying property, and moving. This is one of our personal favourites which discusses the basic principles of housing affordability.

8. Talk to locals. Locals are generally the most knowledgeable people on an area and can tell you what’s good, what’s bad, and things to keep an eye out for. Also, these people might one day be your neighbours, grocer or the bartender at your local haunt. It never hurts to get a head start on creating a new community of friends.

9. Check out the streets and neighbourhood for yourself — drive around, get a feel for the place, and go at different times. While an area might be great at lunch, you might get a different feeling if you’re there at 9pm. These are things you want to know before you invest your hard earned cash.

10. Find out about how your local property market is behaving by tuning in to the evening news and subscribing yourself to a few websites that provide regular market updates.

11. Save on rent. If you can bear it, consider moving back in with your parents. Although it may impede your independence, the percentage of your weekly income that can be invested in savings is way more significant if you’re not paying rent. Save on Rent (2). If moving back in with your parents is an impossibility, consider moving into a cheaper share house. Rent in an older apartment can cost as little as $140 per week per room.

12. Save smart. Saving money doesn’t have to impact your life in a huge way. From money saving apps like Raiz that will round up your spend to the nearest dollar and invest it for you, to promo codes and money off websites like Groupon.

13. Keep your ear to the ground. New developments are announced all the time, and you might hear about one early enough to facilitate a great deal direct from the developer.

14. Attend several open homes. Even if it’s just to have a sticky beak, attending Brisbane’s open homes will let you figure out what you want, and what you don’t want when it comes to your new property.

15. Cut back on UberEats. Although it might be very tempting to order a $7 juice and a bacon and egg muffin on a Sunday morning when you’re hungover — having actual groceries in the fridge you can cook with instead will save you a motza. Catching up with a friend for brunch? Save the $22 you would have spent on avocado toast and invite them around to your place instead. Flex your cooking muscles and put together something just as delicious for a fraction of the price. (Start by letting Jamie Oliver teach you how to poach an egg…)

16. Buy your produce from a local farmers market. You’d be amazed at how much money this saves you. Plus, by cutting out the middle man (cough… Coles and Woolies… cough) a higher percentage of your money ends up with the farmers.

17. Get to know a few local real estate agents. When the time comes to buy, they will be the light that guides you through the buying process. The more you can find out before it comes to actually buying your new property, the better positioned you’ll be in to make educated choices.

18. Keep your bills in order. Developing a rigorous filing system will help make sure all your bills are paid on time so you can avoid any sneaky late payment fees. Additionally, when you are in your new home, there will be mountains of important paperwork. Make that trip to Officeworks now and get yourself in the habit before it gets overwhelming, or set yourself up with a paperless filing system in a handy app on your phone.

19. Set up a furniture fund. Remember that furnishing a house can be really expensive, and if you’re moving from a share house, you (generally) can’t bring all of the furniture with you. Set up a furniture fund, or be prepared to wait a while before buying that new couch.

first home buyer furniture

20. Start putting an emergency account together. No matter how prepared you are, there’s always the possibility that something unexpected will pop up. It’s reassuring to know you would be able to handle it without putting too much of a dent in your house saving fund.

21. Don’t get overwhelmed. While it may be a lot to consider, buying your first property is one of the most exciting experience. Take a deep breath and check out our First Home Buyers Advice page.

Written: 21 February 2019, Updated: 22 January 2020

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