Classic mistakes first home buyers can avoid

Buying your first home is exciting and fun, but good research and being on to it will help to avoid the sorts of mistakes that many first home buyers make:

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1. Don’t break the bank

It sounds obvious, but overspending on a house purchase is a tad more serious than, say, overspending on a pair of shoes - although that does depend on the shoes.

Breaking your budget is more easily done at an auction where your offer, which will be made under pressure, is cash unconditional and there’s no going back. Just don’t do it.

2. Don’t buy a lemon… buy a mandarin

A first house is rarely going to be a dream house, but it also doesn’t need to be such a complete lemon that the roof leaks and has such shonky piles that marbles roll themselves from one side of the house to the other.

How do you avoid this? Aways get a builder’s report and grill the agent about any potential problems.

At the same time, don't be too picky. You can’t expect a five-bedroom home with sea views as your first home (or perhaps ever), so think small, perfectly formed and a little bit sweet: Think mandarin.

3. Be smart

When you’re up against a horde of other buyers in a tight property market, it can be tempting to spend every cent in your budget just to get yourself any old shack and slum it for the greater good. But, after all that slumming, will you get that money back, even if you live in Auckland?

Be smart. Do your market research and don’t leave yourself in a bind when it’s time to move to the next rung of the property ladder. 

4. Check out the ‘hood

Discovering that you’ve unwittingly bought right next to some unsavoury sorts after the deal is done, because you didn’t take the time to look over the back fence, is probably a bit too late.

There’s a lot to be said for spying on the neighbours, and checking out the whole area, at all times of day and night, before you put your offer in.

5. Don’t be a know-it-all

There’s nothing wrong with asking for help, and there’s plenty of it available for first home buyers.

Banks have experts ready and waiting to dish out advice for first (and subsequent) home buyers, from lending options to budgeting help, and you’d be rather silly not to take it.