Tips for Buying a New Home – Part 1

In my first post about moving I shared with you why we decided to move and what we were looking for in a house. So we found a house we wanted to buy, what was the next step?  Looking at the house we knew it was for us, however, there is still so much to do to when buying a new home ensure that what we are buying is good quality and that our bank will allow us to make the purchase.  Below I share a step by step guide on what to do next once you find a house you want to buy.

So we found a house we wanted to buy, what was the next step? There is so much to do to when buying a new home ensure that what we are buying is good quality and that our bank will allow us to make the purchase. A step by step guide on what to do next once you find a house you want to buy.

I have so many points and tips I want to share, far too many to fit into one post, so I have split these posts into two parts, you will be able to read Tips for Buying a New Home – Part 2 soon.

Buying a new home

Buying a new home, be it your first, second, third etc is such an exciting but also nerve-racking time.  This is a huge financial purchase which can’t be rushed into. We certainly didn’t rush, it took us 18 months to find the right home. 

Below are my tips to help you when buying an already established home.

So we found a house we wanted to buy, what was the next step? There is so much to do to when buying a new home ensure that what we are buying is good quality and that our bank will allow us to make the purchase. A step by step guide on what to do next once you find a house you want to buy.

Determine how much you can borrow

Find out how much you can borrow for buying your new home before you start looking, as you don’t want to fall in love with a house that is out of your budget.  Save this heartache at the start.  Most banks, like IMB Bank have a Mortgage Calculator which will help you find out how much your monthly home loan repayments could be and the estimated total interest that may become payable on your home loan.

However, it’s also important to use the mortgage calculator alongside a budget planner as you may have additional expense to consider, ie. private school fees, desire to buy new shoes every week, you like to take regular holidays etc.  This tool will work out what you can afford to repay based on your income and expenses.  You can read more about Spring cleaning your home loan here.

We got pre-approval for our home loan so we knew how much we could spend if we had to buy at auction.

Where to look for a new home

When selling our house, the agent showed us his media package, which included listing our house for sale on the major real estate websites, in the local newspaper and in the window of the real estate.  However, we found for us personally we only used one way to look at newly listed homes. 

We looked at realestate.com.au mostly on our mobile devices, they have an app, iTunes and android, which made it really easily to look up properties in a particular area, price range, required number of bedrooms etc. It allowed us to save properties we found, so I could show hubby and work out if we both liked it to then view the open home.  

So we found a house we wanted to buy, what was the next step? There is so much to do to when buying a new home ensure that what we are buying is good quality and that our bank will allow us to make the purchase. A step by step guide on what to do next once you find a house you want to buy.

 I got this clock last weekend on the reduced table at Adairs!

Ask the agent questions about the house

Agents can hold back information, if you don’t ask they won’t tell, so it’s important to ask some of the following questions, don’t be shy, you want to know all you can about this house, remember it’s a huge investment. 

  • how old is the home?
  • ask who the builder was?  ie. if applicable, to determine if builders warranty is still valid.
  • how long have the sellers lived there?
  • how many open homes has it had?
  • how long has it been on the market for?
  • why are the sellers moving?
  • have any offers been made?
  • if so, why were they not accepted?
  • what are the body corporate fees?
  • is there good internet connection?
  • what is the crime like in the area?
  • has there been any neighbour disputes?
  • is this house a mortgagee sale? This is a great question for auctions.
  • do all elements of the home work? ie pool pump, air-conditioning, oven etc.
  • or be more specific, when I move in will I need to replace anything?
  • what renovations have been done to the home?
  • are there other children in the area?
  • and if you really want to know, has anybody died in this home?

Ask the agent if you can take a video or photos of the house so you look at them at home, as you often forget things after the inspection.

Don’t be afraid to ask the agent if you can view the house at a different time of day.  We looked at our house again just before the sun went down, so we could get a feel of what the house is like in the evening. This can also give you a good idea of the neighbours behaviour, traffic maybe different on the street at a different time of day, and allow you time to check the lighting in the home.


Have you found any surprises after purchasing a home?


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7 comments

Sarah J April 12, 2016 - 8:00 AM

We found a few things after buying that will prepare us for the next house. Only minor things, but things you wouldn’t expect. The bathroom windows leak if there is a massive storm! Lucky we have only had 2 in 3 years so it isn’t a massive issue. Also, we have original 1950’s floorboards which was beautiful but they creak, and we didn’t notice or mind until we had kids, and now it seems like the noisiest house at night! Also, there is this little gap beside the ensuite vanity which is just tiny enough to not be able to fit my hand in to clean it. Very annoying! We have timber Venetian blinds and we didn’t realise until we moved in that they are too heavy to be opened right up. Half the house was fully renovated and some of the house was kept original and therefore the temperature is slightly different in different parts of the house! There are many things you will never notice until you move in! We still love our house though 🙂

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Katrina - The Organised Housewife April 13, 2016 - 9:50 AM

Our floor boards creak too, is it a think with floor boards, I didn’t realise they are so noisy. I get up much before everybody else at home and I tip toe on the spots I know won’t make noise!

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Miriam April 12, 2016 - 10:13 AM

I was brought up being told that renting under any circumstances is a waste of money and that I must buy a house as soon as possible, regardless of the location. Unfortunately this ended up being the worst advice of my life. Just before our wedding my husband and I purchased our first home but since we weren’t very well off we purchased in a rough neighbourhood. The house had been vacant for more than a year and the kids next door had become used to treating the whole garden as their own. They resented us moving in and would throw dog poo and mud at our car, throw stones at our windows and rubbish onto our roof. After many times kindly asking their mother to remove them from our garden I made the mistake of yelling at the kids. A male friend of the neighbour came and threatened us, showed us where he was going to bury us in our own backyard. He was violent and said he wasn’t afraid to go back to prison.
The police weren’t interested because it’s common behaviour in neighbourhoods like that.
A few months later that family moved. But the general area was still very noisy and unsafe at night – lots of domestic arguments on the street, beer bottles smashed, fights etc. We lived there for 8 years and every single night I was afraid. We eventually realised that there was nothing shameful about renting and moved out. We have been renting ever since and are so happy!!! My inlaws moved into the house we own and have done a few renovations. When they decide to move on we’ll rent it out.
So, moral of the story is do what suits you and your finances best and don’t be bullied by family members to purchase a property in a neighbourhood that you don’t like.

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Katrina - The Organised Housewife April 13, 2016 - 9:52 AM

ooh goodness Miriam that is terrible to be feeling like that in your own home and those children…… how horrid are their actions and nobody stopping them. Thank goodness you are feeling so much better in the home you are living in now x

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Jon O'Connell June 24, 2017 - 1:52 AM

This article delivers truly best tips for buying a new home, Hopefully people would find very useful information from this post.

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Joseph Martial March 12, 2020 - 1:56 PM

This is a very good blog for future homeowners. The content should give a good input to future homeowners on what to do in buying a new home.

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Katrina - The Organised Housewife March 17, 2020 - 9:35 AM

Happy to hear you found it helpful Joseph 🙂

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