Whether you’re an owner occupier or an investor, signing off on your first mortgage usually comes after a lengthy ride on an emotional rollercoaster; a ride which doesn’t actually end when you sign the contract! No, it keeps hurtling along until settlement, and even then you are only just beginning to deal with decades of ups and downs that come with property ownership.
When you go through the process, it’s hard to believe that there are so many home owners already out there! How did they all do it?
The first leg of the property journey can be exciting. You have set a goal, know what you need to do financially to get there and now it’s just about making it happen by making sacrifices and saving money. Every savings milestone achieved comes with the reward of satisfaction and the excitement of that end goal becoming closer.
Once you have saved enough for a deposit, the next stage can be tough because you’re flinging yourself into something you wouldn’t know the first thing about… mortgages.
There are so many products and lenders, with different rates and features, and you have no idea which is the right one for you. There are complex words, epic amounts of fine print to read and understand, and many potential roadblocks to your eventual loan approval. Don’t go in blind, engage a mortgage broker, as they will be able to show you the best options for you, empower you to make a choice and even set up the preapproval process for you. They will also demonstrate what different purchase prices would mean for your budget, which will help you realise how much you can actually afford to spend.
Hope and hopelessness
Now it’s time to find the property you want to buy. You hit up open homes, auctions and spend hours scanning real estate portals to find the right property. You begin each week with a spring in your step and feel a tinge of excitement every time a new listing lands in your suburb of choice; but as this continues on for days, weeks and months, the hope turns to doubt, the tinge of excitement becomes instant cynicism; and that initial hopefulness can flip to the opposite. Just ask anyone who was looking for a property in the middle of Sydney’s recent boom. Some were looking for more than a year.
The best thing to do is remember that it won’t last forever. And the joy you will feel when you finally get there will be worth it.
Four seasons in one contract
You’ve found the right home and made an offer within your budget. This part of the process is an emotional rollercoaster in itself. You feel excitement and nerves as you wait for your offer to be accepted, then joy when it is! Though this turns back to some anxiety when you realise there is still time for someone to come up with an offer over the top of you, so you need to get down there with your deposit and sign the contract right away. This can often mean a quick trip to the solicitor or conveyancer for final checks and read-throughs to make sure there is an appropriate cooling off period, in which time any outstanding pest, building or strata inspections can be done. This time between acceptance and signing the contract can feel like an eternity, but it is of the utmost importance that you get everything right. The stress turns to relief when the deposit changes hands and the contract is signed by both parties and you can allow it all to sink in.
The period between signing and settlement can be stressful too, as you may need to wait for final loan approval from the bank. The reality is that you have taken a sizable gamble and risk losing your deposit, and your new home, if something happens to cause your finance to be rejected by the lender. You realise that pre-approvals are much easier to get than official approval and there may be some back and forth with the bank in question if they need you to clarify spending or send further documents to prove you can make your repayments. However, if you have a good mortgage broker, they will have been on top of any potential hurdles and will also help explain and respond to further bank requests.
And when the settlement date arrives, it’s happiness, pride and relief all at once. You did it! And you have taken the first steps towards your future.