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With the new financial year upon us, now is a great time to start shopping for your dream home. With interest rates continuing to sit at record lows, the cost of borrowing has never been more affordable, making now the perfect time to be a mortgage holder.

Buying a home involves lots of varying emotions and it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of everything. Don’t rush into it without doing all of your due diligence. Here are a few tips you should implement before making a final decision:

1) Identify your property needs

Write down a list of features that the property must have including the number of bedrooms and bathrooms you require, whether you need a covered garage for your car or perhaps a generous backyard for your furry comrades. Once you know exactly what you are looking for, you can narrow down the list of homes you wish to inspect. Don’t visit properties that don’t meet most of your requirements – unless you are willing to spend big on renovations.

2) Make the most of property inspections

If you visit six different properties in the space of two hours, chances are the homes will blend into one by the end of the day. Take photos of the different properties you visit, write notes on the features you liked and disliked, and always take the brochures being offered by real estate agents.

3) Define your monetary limits

Speak to a mortgage broker or bank to get an idea of the maximum amount you can spend on a property. If your limit is $400,000, stick to it. It’s tempting to say “it’s only another $15,000”, but an increased purchase price will mean other fees, such as stamp duty, will also increase. Don’t spend beyond your means – this will lead to additional financial pressures for the term of your mortgage.

4) Prepare and regularly update a budget

Identify your income and monthly expenses in a budget. The difference between your net income and outgoing expenses should be more than your expected mortgage repayments. Don’t forget to account for things like utility bills, rates and home and contents insurance. Remember to update your budget regularly to identify areas of overspend and areas where you can save money.

5) Research your home loan options

There are a range of factors to consider when deciding on a home loan. Do you want an offset account or a redraw facility? Perhaps you want to split your loan so that part of it is fixed and part of it is variable? Whatever you want, there is undoubtedly a home loan on the market to suit your needs. But, before deciding on one particular product, it is important to identify exactly what you do and don not want from your home loan and then choose a product that meets these needs.

Give me a call on 0435 945 419 to further understand which options could be the best for your situation. As a local Hunter Valley Mortgage Broker I’ll assist you throughout the entire borrowing process, from application through to settlement.