Buying a home is an empowering step that any individual or family can take. It is however important to know that buying a home can take several weeks, even months. It is therefore important to prepare yourself to make this process as easy as possible.The more prepared you are,the smoother the process will be.Below are some tips that can assist you in buying a home.

Do your homework – Before you see a lender, it’s important to have a type of property in mind. You don’t need a shortlist, but you need to narrow it down to where you want to buy, what type of property you’re seeking and how it will meet your lifestyle. This will provide a likely price range for your lender.

Work out your home loan options – It is important that you see a home loan expert who will assess your circumstances more thoroughly and check that you meet the lending criteria. At this point, you can apply for a home loan and seek approval in principle, where the lender states they are prepared to lend you a certain amount according to the situation you’ve outlined. Consider the highest amount you may need because it’s easier to come down if the property costs less than what you’ve applied for.

Prepare to make an offer -Once you have found the perfect property for your budget, you’ll need to get the following in order, the deposit in the form of a cheque, deposit bond or bank cheque (remember this is not dependent on your home loan, which comes through after the sale has settled), your approval in principle (be sure to inform your lender of your intentions), your solicitor, to help with the contracts, any required service providers such as building or pest inspectors who will conduct assessments on your behalf.

Buying a home – With all of these items in place, you’ll be ready to make an offer to the real estate agent, who will liaise with the owners. At this stage, you should expect some negotiations on the price and conditions. Once you’ve made an offer, you will usually have to pay a holding deposit and there will be a cooling-off period, unless you’re purchasing via auction. When you and the seller have reached an agreement, both parties will sign a contract of sale, at which point you pay the deposit. The lender may request a valuation to make sure the purchase price is reasonable.

Run through paperwork -When the purchase price is approved and the previous owner has moved out, all parties will meet for the settlement. Some items to expect here include, a pre-settlement inspection (usually one or two days before final settlement), calculation of final costs including council fees, water rates and strata levels, if applicable, Exchange of funds between the bank (on your behalf) and the vendor, registration of the property in your name (the bank will keep the title deed until you repay or sell the house), payment of stamp duties if applicable, receipt of the keys once you’re officially a home owner. The time-frame of settlement is usually 42 days (six weeks) but depending on the contract it could be as little as 14 days or more than six weeks.