Owning your first home is a big adventure, and if you’ve chosen to embark on that path you’re naturally going to feel excited. That excitement is entirely justified, but as with any journey, there are steps to take to make sure you’re prepared.
We spoke to Vince Pinneri of Peter Blackshaw Gungahlin to get his advice on how first home buyers should begin their search.
1. Speak to a local agent
A good local agent is a repository of knowledge, making them the first step in your first home search.
“The best reason to talk to an agent”, says Vince, “is that they’ll have a better understanding of the market, and they can educate you in what steps to take when looking for that first home”.
It’s also a great way to make sure you don’t miss out on future opportunities.
“We meet buyers at open homes”, Vince explains. “If that property isn’t suitable for them we keep their details, and take down notes about what areas they’re interested in and what their price range is. If any other opportunities come up, we’ll contact them and let them know”.
And that service goes beyond keeping an eye on Peter Blackshaw listings:
“Even if it’s not listed with a Blackshaw agency, if it’s suitable for them, we’re happy to help”, says Vince. “We’ll attend open homes with them and even contact the agent and ask questions on their behalf'.
2. Register your search with Allhomes.
“Allhomes really captures the Canberra market”, says Vince. If there’s a home advertised for sale in Canberra, this website is where you’re likely to find it. If you register an account on the site, you can create property alerts. You simply enter the criteria you’re after, including location, type of property and number of bedrooms, and you’ll receive an alert when something suitable comes up.
That means you don’t need to make checking the site an early morning ritual, and you won’t miss out on the latest opportunity.
3. Attend open homes
Attending open homes is a great way to gather information even when the home itself isn’t quite what you’re looking for.
“It’s a great idea”, agrees Vince. “Essentially, it’s so they can see what’s out there and what the market has to offer. It might not be the perfect house because they’re looking in a particular suburb or that home might not be perfect, but they’ll get to see what that suburb has to offer, and maybe see that surrounding areas also have a lot to offer. It also educates them on what’s available at different price points and what else they could purchase in their budget”.
4. Get your finances in order
“I always suggest that first home buyers talk to a broker or a bank, so that they know what finance they can get approved”, says Vince. “That’s better than thinking that they can spend so much, going out and looking at houses, and then realising that they can only get a certain amount”.
Most financial institutions will offer loan pre-approvals. That’s where the lender approves a certain amount for a limited time (usually six months) even before you find a home. This is also a chance to make sure your financials are in order, by getting your paperwork sorted out and any credit checks done. With that smoothed out, you can make an offer on a property without having to worry about the finance component.
For more help with finding your new home, contact your local Peter Blackshaw agent.