Being a homeowner requires careful financial planning, but there's nothing more rewarding than living in your own home and paying off your own home mortgage.
Perhaps you're living in your first home, but it's not quite ticking the boxes. While getting onto the property ladder as early as you can is a plus, it's a reality that your first piece of real estate isn't necessarily going to suit you five or 10 years down the track.
Once you're a homeowner, you might make it a priority to ensure that your next property truly is your dream home. However, you could be missing out on snapping up the perfect piece of real estate.
There are traps that you can easily fall into if you're unaware of them, so be sure to avoid them in order to realise your property goals.
Forgetting the finance
It's all well and good attending open inspections and poring over the property pages in the newspaper, but you're not going to secure your dream home if you don't get the financials sorted.
Sure, it can be hard to to focus on the numbers when there are so many gorgeous properties to gaze at and dream about.
However, a dose of reality is essential. A mortgage refinance can help you unlock your existing home equity, but you may need some more funds in addition to this.
Don't forget the finance when you're trying to upgrade from your existing property to your dream home. Rather than searching for properties and trying to work the numbers around it, establish your borrowing capacity before you begin the hunt by using a home loan calculator.
This way, you won't end up disappointing yourself when you can't afford to bid on your dream property at auction or make an offer in a private sale. Know what you can afford, obtain loan pre-approval and then use this as your criteria for snapping up your dream home.
Ignoring your existing home
The second thing to consider is something that's not going to budge (literally): your existing home.
While holding onto two properties for the purposes of living in one and renting the other out might be desirable, it may well not be financially viable.
If you're waiting to list your existing property for sale only once you've found your dream home, you could miss out on securing your ideal property.
Remember, you don't have to accept an offer from a potential buyer on your existing property if you think it's too low. However, listing your property now will help you get a feel for what's going on in the market, how long it will take to sell your current property and what kind of price you could obtain.
There are loan products available to help with the transition between owning your current home and moving into your dream property.
However, if you never get your existing house on the market, you may find that your ideal home slips through your fingers!
Being a picky Petunia or finicky Finn
Let's be honest - your home is likely going to be the single largest asset you own, whether as an individual or with your partner.
So it's reasonable that you want to buy something that suits your needs, from its size to its location. When it comes to buying your dream home, you might find there are some make-it-or-break-it features, such as the number of bedrooms or the provision of off-street parking, particularly in busy inner-city areas.
However, if you're too picky about the finer details, you may never find your ideal home.
Write up a list of features that you'd like in your new home, then categorise them as must-have or nice-to-have features. Your perfect home should tick the boxes of the former, but you may have to let things slide with regards to the latter.