Choosing a great mortgage and a great home
There's a lot of emphasis on obtaining a competitive home loan interest rate and a mortgage that offers all the features you need.
However, don't be daunted by the process - it's an important step in your financial future, whether you're buying a second home, taking out a mortgage refinance or looking to invest in property.
Along with finding a great mortgage, it's also important to find a great home so your repayments are going toward a property that you're proud of.
There's no point obtaining a stellar home loan deal if you're buying in an area that's lacking in facilities or transport options, to name a few factors worth considering.
If you're taking out a home mortgage for a new property, consider what schools are nearby.
Even if you don't currently have kids, think about how long you'd like to live in this home. If there's a reasonable possibility that you'll be starting a family within this timeframe, access to good schools is an important consideration.
You'll want to look into what the travel times are to nearby schools and how this will factor into your work routine, particularly with regards to young children who may not be old enough to get to and from school unaccompanied.
It's also a relevant consideration because schools that receive more enrolments than places available often have a school zone which you must be living within in order for your children to go there.
Are train, bus or ferry links close by with routes that you're likely to use?
Considering transport options is an important part of the home buying process, but it will change from one purchaser to another.
This is because there are lots of variables involved - where you work, what kind of transport appeals and if you're more likely to take public transport or a private car.
Buying a new home presents the ideal opportunity to reconsider your transport costs and commute times so you can spend more time with your other half or family.
Find out what the building density limits are on the street so you don't end up overcrowded in a few years' time.
Take a look at the kind of properties on the street of a potential purchase, too. Are there a lot of residential properties or are there multiple industrial or retail buildings popping up?
The latter could be a concern with regards to noise, traffic volumes and ambience. However, if new building initiatives are going to lead to facilities that you're likely to use - such as a gym or swimming pool - it might make the property even more appealing!
Be sure to obtain a property report when looking at new homes, whether it's for yourself or as an investment.
Property reports can give valuable insight into the house you're interested in, as well as the surrounding neighbourhood.
An area that has had stable growth in house prices may be a good sign for future home values. By contrast, wildly fluctuating house prices may be something to be concerned about - particularly if you're looking to be in the property only in the short-to-medium term.
What are your needs going to be five, 10 or 20 years down the track?
Once you've obtained a great home loan interest rate, be sure to address what your needs will be in the future to make sure the purchase is worth your time.
If you want to stay put in a property long term, then consider whether it will accommodate a growing family. Alternatively, couples who are getting older may look for a single-level property with a small outdoor area for easier maintenance.