How to buy your first home in Toowoomba

By Ros Burton (Principal – The Real Estate People)

Purchasing your first home is an incredibly exciting time, but it can also be daunting – especially with today’s challenges. 

Rising house prices, demand for quality homes in Queensland (including Toowoomba) and the various complexities involved in saving for a deposit and managing the purchasing process are all concerns for those looking to buy their first home. 

This guide aims at arming you with the information you need to prepare for the first home buying process in Toowoomba, hopefully giving you the edge you need to realise your dream of homeownership. 

Check your credit rating 

It is free to access your credit report once every three months from major credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Illion and Experian. 

This is important because not only do you need to have a good credit report to secure a loan, every time you try to access a loan and are denied, it will make your credit rating decline. 

Understand upfront costs 

A lot of buyers think their deposit will be enough for their first purchase, but there are many other fees that need to be paid as well. 

It is vital to discover which fees you will need to pay to ensure you have that capital on top of your deposit saved up. 

Some of these fees include: 

Loan application fees: Most lenders require this to cover the costs of credit checks and valuations of properties that you are interested in purchasing. 

Lender’s mortgage insurance: This may be required if your deposit is below 20 per cent. It is effectively insurance for the lender so that they get paid if you default on your mortgage. 

Stamp duty: When you purchase your home, a percentage will need to be paid as tax to the State Government. There are concessions available for first home buyers, though. 

Property conveyancing: This is the process of transferring ownership from one person (or entity) to another. It is highly recommended that you pay for a professional rather than adopt a DIY approach unless you are a real estate professional. 

Property inspections: Before you sign a contract, you want to ensure the home meets building codes and has no underlying damage or pest infestations, so strata and pest inspections will be essential. 

Moving costs: Be sure to have money put aside for not only the removalist but all the new furniture and appliances you will want to fill your new home with. 

Prepare for ongoing costs 

On top of your regular loan repayments, there are ongoing fees to consider including utility installation and fees, home and contents insurance, council rates and any small or large improvements or renovations you want to make to the property. 

Getting pre-approval to stick to your budget 

Many properties are sold at auction these days for fast sales and so the seller can get the best possible price. 

These can be competitive and it can be easy to blow the budget when bidding on a property you love. 

This can be dangerous as there is no cooling-off period with auction sales and you could be caught out with a bill that exceeds the finance you can secure. 

Pre-approval means you know exactly how big your loan will be so you can stick to the figure.  

Auctions can be difficult and it’s normal to lose out on a few properties before you are successful, so be prepared for some disappointment in the early days. 

Seek out discounts and concessions 

There are a number of grants available to first home buyers in Queensland, so speak to the team at The Real Estate People and see how you can apply.