Dreaming of owning a home? HomeStart’s John Oliver gives you a step-by-step guide to make it happen sooner.

START saving. Upfront costs are one of the biggest hurdles to buying a home, so start making regular contributions into a savings account.

This helps you contribute more to the deposit, fees and charges, and it will also demonstrate to lenders that you can manage regular loan repayments.

RESEARCH the market. Purchasing a home is a big commitment and not something you should rush into. Familiarise yourself with the real estate market to understand where you’d like to live and house prices in that suburb.

Also, consider services in that area that are important to you such as shops, leisure activities and the proximity to schools and work. 

THINK about what you are specifically looking for in a home. Do you want to build a new home or buy an established home? How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you need? Write a wish list and identify your priorities, taking into account how long you expect to live in the house and your changing lifestyle requirements over that time.

EXPLORE your finance options. There’s a big range of home loan options available so it’s important to do your research and work out the loan features that best suit your situation. For example, a shared appreciation loan where the lender and borrower share in a percentage of the home’s change in value over time could allow you to borrow more so you can buy sooner. 

VISIT a lender. Before you start looking at houses, know how much you can borrow so your efforts aren’t wasted. The last thing you want to do is fall in love with a house only to find out that you can’t afford it.

Organising pre-approval from a lender means you’ll be ready to make an offer as soon as you find a house that meets your criteria. The lender will also be able to make you aware of any grant assistance you are eligible for.

ATTEND open inspections. This will give you a better feel for the type of home and features you can expect in your price range. It will also enable you to better assess the suburb and community, including things such as noise levels, public transport availability and a chance to chat to other residents.

REGISTER with some real estate agents. If you know the areas you’d like to live, the house features you want and your budget, real estate agents can do a lot of the searching for you. In some cases, homes aren’t even advertised because the agent goes straight to their buyers’ list, so it pays to let them know you are on the lookout to avoid missing out.  

UNDERSTAND the buying process and your obligations. If you are buying the property through private sale, it’s important to understand the rights and responsibilities from the time you make an offer through to the settlement date.

Buying a property at auction has its own set of requirements that are legally binding, so it’s essential you know what’s required to avoid a costly mistake.