Is the thought of home buying giving you goosebumps? Check out our stress-soothing tips

Nicole Hayes, Home Loan Specialist, Great Southern Bank (formerly CUA) offers her top tips to alleviate the stress of navigating the property market.

In the time of rising interest rates and heightened costs of living, it’s a silver lining that we’re experiencing a “buyers’ market”, according to property experts. And as the economy changes, so do house prices, with falls across the country creating potential opportunities for budding buyers.

But you wouldn’t be alone if you thought navigating the market at the moment feels a little murky.

Our data has shown there’s a significant gap in resources available to help those looking towards the next stage of their home-ownership journey.

A surprising 35 per cent of Australians say they don’t know where to get advice on when and how to sell a current property, as they consider their next purchase.

A further 30 per cent of respondents said they have hesitated in purchasing a home due to the task being a stressful and complex exercise.

But there are some things you can do to smooth the waters of your home ownership journey. It all starts with empowering yourself with the right knowledge and knowing where to go for the right advice. So, if your space is starting to feel too small, rent is on the up, or if you’re just longing for a change of scenery, here are our top three tips on where to begin.

Step one: Know your non-negotiables

Motivations for moving vary amongst Australian homeowners, but research has shown that buyers primarily want:

  • More space to grow as a family (27 per cent of respondents)
  • a different type of property (25 per cent), or
  • a better location (22 per cent)

In an ideal world, we would love to have it all. But for most of us, there may need to be a compromise to find a home within your price range. So, it’s best to figure out what your non- negotiable features are and what you’re willing to trade off. If you’re moving to accommodate a growing family (non-negotiable) but would like the added benefit of a pool (negotiable), it’s more important to reassess the need for a pool than number of bedrooms. By clearly defining your wants and needs, you’ll be able to narrow down your search and get into your new home sooner.

Is a pool non-negotiable? IMAGE Allura Homes pool.

Step two: Beware of additional costs

If you’re buying your first home, you’ll have a myriad of government schemes and concessions available to help you avoid dreaded added costs, like lenders’ mortgage insurance and stamp duty. But if you’re not eligible, these added extras can come as a shock. Once you add on the costs of conveyancing, insurance and building inspections, the mounting sums can make even the most determined of buyers nervous.

Chatting through these potential costs with your bank or financial advisor is the best way to make sure you’ve got your financial ducks in a row before you move towards buying your next home.

Step three: Consider the rising interest rate environment

Most home loans are taken out over 30 years – you can only imagine the ups and downs we’ll see in interest rates across this time. There’s no reason to believe the hikes we’re seeing at the moment will continue forever. However, a rising interest rate environment does make it more important than ever to set a clear household budget. Look at your outgoings and talk to your financial advisor about whether you’ll be able to meet repayments if rates do continue to rise. You might also want to think about whether the certainty of a fixed rate could help you budget, or if you’d prefer the flexibility of a variable rate despite the possibility of it increasing. Another option includes splitting your loan to have some of it at a fixed rate, and some variable. It’s best to do your own research and then discuss the options – including the pros and cons – with your lender.

Buying a home – whether it is your first, second or fifth – will always be a milestone moment in your life. With the right know-how and a little help and guidance from a trusted source of truth, you’ll be able to navigate what can be a complicated and stressful time, knowing you’re making the best decisions for you and your family. To make sure you’re getting the most up-to-date home-buying information, speak to a lender, mortgage broker or financial advisor that you trust.

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