First the good news – I have recently purchased a home in the suburbs of Melbourne and it has really cost me a pretty packet. Not that I am disappointed on that score. It has always been our dream to move into a home of our own and we have really slaved for it, cutting corners and stashing every cent that we could from our household expenses. And finally, when we did relocate to our new home, the day will go down as a memorable and one of the most cherished moments of our lives.
And now for the reverse side of the coin – in retrospect, the things I wish I had known before I bought my home. I have always been impulsive by nature and hence did what I thought right at that time without bothering to consult experts in the field of property investments to guide me. I am now sure that if I had done so, I would have been in a better position both financially and so far as peace of mind is concerned. One of the reasons that I am detailing my experiences here is because I would want other prospective homeowners to be careful on this score.
First, and most importantly, contact a property lawyer even before you take the first step. As for me, I did things in bits and pieces. I had a lawyer draw up the contract and since another lawyer had inspected the property and had given a search report, the first lawyer had to wait for all the particulars before finalising the agreement. Instead, if I had hired the services of a property lawyer in Melbourne in the first place, all legal aspects would have been under one roof and the process of acquisition of the property would have been speeded up a great deal more. Moreover, I would have had just one person to deal with and not many. This would also have resulted in lower legal fees too.
The next step that I should have taken is to research my purchase more thoroughly. As I said, I am the impulsive types and bought what I liked without going into other options with the same financial outlay. What should I have done? I could have gone for a fixer-upper which lets you buy an affordable house in an upscale neighbourhood provided you are willing to renovate and make certain repairs. These come cheap but here too professional surveyors and inspectors should be hired. Remember, the biggest money pit is carrying out repairs to the foundation or basement.
Finally, buy the house that you can afford. It may sounds cliché but look at it from another angle. I poured my life time savings and took out a mortgage for my home keeping my present financials and earnings in mind. But now I wish I had been a lot more prudent. I could have opted for a lower priced house, kept a part of my savings in the bank and taken a lower mortgage, so that I could confidently meet any adverse circumstances in future without going monetarily bust. Keep a buffer for your future essentials, only then will you enjoy your present life in your new house.
In hindsight, I wish there were a number of things I had done before buying my home. But the points given here surely take the front seat.