Buying a house can be complicated. HomeStart’s John Oliver offers tips to help avoid common mistakes so you can save on time and money.
 
1. UNDERSTAND the market. Research the suburbs you are interested in and get a feel for house prices. Speak to real estate agents regarding recent sales or purchase a professional sales report for the suburbs you are interested in.

Rushing in could see you pay more than you should for a property so it’s important to be better informed.
 
2. FAMILIARISE yourself with the sales process. The home buying process can be intimidating and confusing, and there are plenty of ways you could slip up.

Read up on how auctions work, the best way to make an offer and real estate agent negotiating tips. Speak to friends and family about their experiences and look up resources online to help you learn more.
 
3. SECURE pre-approval of your home loan. This will ensure you know how much you can borrow and how much you can spend before your heart is set on a home you cannot afford. Without a clear budget in mind, you could waste a lot of time and energy looking at properties that are out of reach.
 
4. PLAY it safe. When buying a home, you should not go above your budget and financial means. It's always better to err on the side of caution and think about events that could affect your situation in the future, such as the loss of your job or interest rate rises.
 
5. PUT your emotions to one side. While the search for a home can be an emotional journey, when you’re ready to make an offer, it’s time to negotiate and work out a strategy. 

If you are too emotionally attached to a property, you may get carried away during negotiations or at auction and blow your budget. If this sounds like you, consider having someone not directly involved in the purchase help you through the process.
 
6. ACT quickly. If you have done your research, you will know when you find your ideal property. If it meets your criteria, feels right and is within your budget, don't leave it too late before making an offer.

Someone might beat you to it. On the other hand, be clear about your criteria and don't be talked into buying any property you are not sure about.
 
7. INVEST in a building inspection. While a few hundred dollars for a professional building or pest report may seem like a lot of money on top of all the other home buying expenses, it could save you many thousands down the track.

Determining whether your property has major structural or termite damage is critical to your purchasing decision so ensure you have a building inspection before the cooling off period expires.
 
8. SEAL the deal. Don’t make the mistake of thinking the property is yours after your verbal offer is accepted. Another buyer could make an offer and outbid you.

Ask the real estate agent to let you know if another offer comes in so you can make a counter bid if you wish. Nothing is set in stone until you and the owner sign a legally binding contract and sort through all paperwork.