Top tips for first home buyers

Leanne Pilkington, President of the REINSW and Lynne Page of Knight Frank Hobart discuss their top tips for first home buyers.

Buying your first home can be incredibly stressful, but it can help when you have a list of things to look out for.

Leanne Pilkington, President of the REINSW told WILLIAMS MEDIA her top four tips for first home buyers.

1. Get your finance sorted before you start looking

Ms Pilkington said some people make assumptions based on conversations with bankers six months ago, which may no longer be valid.

“Touch base again and make sure the advice they gave you still holds true, because things change quickly, particularly at the moment with the banking royal commission.

“Off the plan rules change, so be sure your advice is current.”

“Also be very clear on what you can afford.”

2. Don’t get too many family members involved

If you feel you need advice, remember your reasons for buying before you talk to family.

“Things that might be appropriate for mum and dad may not be for you.

“Be clear on what your motivation for buying is.

“It could be local schools, public transport, vicinity to parks etc, but mum or dad may think other aspects are important to you.”

Ms Pilkington said the more things you try to achieve in a first home, the harder it is, and most people have a list of non negotiables.

“Don’t let family members sway you with their own priorities.”

3. Make sure you conduct pest and building inspections 

Not everybody places a priority on this but it can make or break a sale.

“Once you’ve made a decision on a property, make sure you get a pest and building inspection done.”

It can be expensive, and it can slow the process down so not everybody does them, but it can save a lot of future costs.

4. Visit the property at different times of the day and different days of the week

“This is to see what traffic is like, and to make sure there aren’t things that will catch you by surprise.”

Lynne Page of Knight Frank Hobart also had three tips to help the first home buyer out.

1. Try to anticipate areas that will become gentrified

As a first home buyer you should be prepared to live modestly for a while, however be particular about your positioning in the area.

“I’ve recently sold a property in Rokeby which isn’t the nicest area,” Ms Page told WILLIAMS MEDIA.

“Those people did up the kitchen and bathroom which are the big ticket items.

“They bought in a not so great area, did the house up and really recouped.

Ms Page said this enabled them to move on to another area which was really sought after.

2. Select an underachieving agent so you can pick up a bargain

Underachieving agents may not professionally expose properties, the homes may have been on the market for a while, and they may be presented poorly.

“People can’t look past poor presentation easily as we are all so exposed to programs like The Block, so we expect beautiful homes.

“In a modest house an owner can get $50,000 more for a styled property, or up to $200,000 more in a luxurious house.

“This way buyers can easily pick up a bargain, if they look for a home which isn’t presented well.”

3. Purchase a small, older home on a nice block of land.

There is the possibility of subdividing, or doing a boundary adjustment and building another dwelling.

“Even if it isn’t currently an option, council is always changing zoning.”

“I remember Malcom Turnbull bought a house in Point Piper, strata titled it, and divided it into two.

“He lives in one house, and sold the other half for more than what he paid for the entire thing.

“While that is an extreme example, you could purchase a daggy four bedroom house and split it into two separate dwellings and make money there. Be enterprising.”


This article provides general information which is current as at the time of production. The information contained in this communication does not constitute advice and should not be relied upon as such as it does not take into account your personal circumstances or needs. Professional advice should be sought prior to any action being taken in reliance on any of the information.