Problems faced by first-time homebuyers

Tips on what to do before house-hunting

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IT is a difficult and tedious experience to buy your first home. After all, a home purchase requires a huge amount of money which is no trivial matter. The property will probably be the most valuable asset you own in your lifetime.

To help first-time homebuyers, we have listed some of the common problems when acquiring a property and their solutions.

How much do I need?

You have to prepare at least 10% of the down payment, the legal fees, funds for building and home inspection, as well as the stamp duty fee.

If your down-payment is less than 20% of the house price, most banks will require you to buy a mortgage insurance at the same time.

Buy now or save for a rainy day?

If the saving interest is low and the house prices keep increasing, your saving capability will never be able to keep up with the increment rate of house prices.

If you are able to afford a house, you should buy one that you take a liking to.

Where should I buy?

For every homebuyer, the best location could be different. It all depends on the needs of the individual.

The location that you choose not only has to be liveable and comfortable, it should also provide connectivity and convenience for work commute and for visiting relatives and friends.

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I fancy a certain part of town, but I have no knowledge of that place. What should I do?

The best way to get to know a place is to find information online and then personally visit the site. Once you find a property you like, arrange for a visit.

On the way, you could talk to the agent about the situation of the area and observe the traffic conditions, the construction site, the nearby transport facilities, shopping centres, parks and schools.

After you visit a dozen houses, you will get a feel for the area and can assess the advantages and disadvantages of the location accurately.

I am unsure of the price of the property. What should I do?

The best way to assess housing prices is to look at the prices of similar properties sold recently.

On some real estate sites, search for properties sold recently. Take a look at properties that have the features you are interested in or are in the right location.

Do I need to do house inspection?

If you are not from the construction industry, it is necessary to do a house inspection. Some houses may look good from the outside, but they could have some structural, electrical or pipeline issues, termite and pest infestation, or other problems. You will need to spend extra to maintain the property.

If I do not have enough money, could I buy a property with other people?

As long as the method is right, you can buy with friends or family members.

Before you buy, you and your partner or partners should agree on the portion of the mortgage repayment that each of you should bear. The most important thing is to discuss the arrangement in the event one or two of you have the intention to sell.

Next, ask the lawyer to draft the agreement into a legally binding contract. Make sure that you are all registered with rights of “tenancy in common” rather than “joint tenancy.

The original article was first published in Chinese in Property Trends. Download at bit.ly/StarProperty_Emag to read more.

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