Making the decision to buy a home is a big deal! There are many different factors involved in the house buying process, from attending open homes through to having your loan application approved. But the real question is – how do you know when you’re ready to embark on this journey? Here are a few factors you may like to consider before jumping into searching for houses for sale.
1. Employment status
Before you get too carried away, one of the top things lenders consider before approving your home loan is your employment status. As lenders are looking for stable, reliable sources of income to pay off the loan, it’s important to reflect on your current job1. Ask yourself whether you are earning enough money to afford monthly mortgage repayments and if you’re prepared to factor this into your budget1. Some banks offer online calculators and budgeting tools that can guide you in determining how your income measures against the size of home loan you’re considering. That’s not to say your job could prevent you from buying a house, it may just be a case of saving more money and reevaluating your budget.
2. Financial situation
Going hand-in-hand with your employment status, your financial situation could greatly impact your readiness to buy a house. Often, you are required to put forward a deposit of 20 per cent of the property’s value in order to purchase a house1. Lenders generally stipulate these requirements when you first begin your home loan application. However, there are other options if you don’t have a 20 per cent deposit saved, such as taking out lenders mortgage insurance1. While the exact amount for your deposit would fluctuate depending on the value of houses you’re looking at, it’s a good idea to have a savings goal set for your deposit funds. Evidently, this isn’t something you can achieve right away and takes many years to save up1. Once you have achieved your goal or are getting close to it, that may be a marker of your readiness to start the house buying process.
3. Credit score
You may have heard of a credit score but may not be aware of what it actually means, as it’s not generally something you keep track of in your day-to-day life. However, your credit score is important to lenders and is something they take into consideration when deciding if you’re an appropriate applicant for a home loan1. Basically, your credit score demonstrates your reliability to lenders in that it shows you would be capable of making your loan repayments without defaulting on any1. If you currently pay your bills on time and are managing any other debts you may have (e.g. personal loan, credit cards, etc.) by making frequent repayments, you’re likely to have a good standing credit score1. There are ways to check your credit score if you’re concerned – a simple Internet search can help you.
4. Managing your money
Your ability to manage your finances and maintain a budget is another great indicator of whether you’re truly ready to buy a home. The home buying process is about more than having enough money saved for your deposit – there are a range of other fees you’re required to pay, such as legal fees, stamp duty (in some cases), loan establishment fees, and more1. In addition to all the upfront costs, you’ll need to be prepared to take on the costs associated with being a homeowner. These include mortgage repayments, insurances, maintenance costs, and council rates, which you wouldn’t normally pay if you’re currently renting1. Before you get too far into the home buying process, it’s worth reevaluating your current budget and income and factoring in these new expenses to judge whether you’re ready for additional costs1.
5. Accounting for your debts
If you currently have other debts, you may like to consider how having a home loan on top of these debts could impact your budget and your overall financial position. Lenders would be looking at your ability to maintain all of these debt repayments in addition to a home loan2. If you’re really good at sticking to a budget and are already capable of making your current loan repayments (if any), you may be well-placed to take on an additional debt2. Perhaps you’re even close to completely paying off your current debts and believe that will free up some money to put towards a home loan2.
6. Home owning responsibilities
As any homeowner can attest to, owning a home is about more than just the initial expenses. Taking on this responsibility means that any damage or maintenance your home needs will come out of your pocket – unless in the case of an event covered in your insurance policy (this would be handled by you and your insurance provider)1. Part of being a homeowner also means you assume responsibility for the care and upkeep of your home – all of which can also cost money1. Again, we’ll reiterate this is where having a budget comes in handy. Buying a house also comes with risks, which you have to be prepared to take on board. There are risks out of your control, such as weather events, and those in your control, such as accidents; all of which could see you paying to fix the issue1. Ensuring you’re prepared for what comes after the initial process of buying a house can help you here.
7. Your type of home
If you’ve made it through the financial side of things and feel like you’re ready to embark on your journey towards home ownership, the last stage is researching. Having a clear idea of the features you’re looking for in a house can greatly simplify the research process and mean you start attending open homes sooner2. Plus, knowing what you want means you’ve likely factored these features and their associated costs into your budget – such as having a having a pool2. If you haven’t quite considered all the nitty gritty details yet, you’ll likely still have a good idea of the type of house that would cater to your preferences.
Terms and conditions of Queensland Country Bank’s fixed and variable home loans apply. View the relevant TMD available at queenslandcountry.bank. Normal lending criteria, terms, conditions and fees apply and are available on request.
General Advice Warning: This information is intended to be general in nature and is not personal financial advice. It does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on any information in this article, you should consider the appropriateness of the information provided. In particular, you should seek independent financial advice.
1Mark Rosanes, 2021, 7 signs you’re ready to buy your first home, Your Mortgage, https://www.yourmortgage.com.au/first-home-buyer-loans/7-signs-youre-ready-to-buy-your-first-home
2Libby Wells & Rae Hartley Beck, 2023, Should you buy a house? 8 signs you’re ready, Bankrate, https://www.bankrate.com/real-estate/should-i-buy-house/