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First home buyers are being encouraged to take advantage of the government financial incentives on offer, but they should proceed with caution, according to an expert.
According to Alex Fitzgerald, acquisitions manager for property investment company Custodian, there are massive incentives on offer for first-time property investors.
“The financial incentives on offer at the moment for first-time buyers are huge,” Ms Fitzgerald said.
“In some states, when you pool the state government and federal government concessions together and take into account the reduced stamp duty, you can access up to $45,000 or $50,000.
“No one is ever going to hand you that sum of money again, you’d be crazy not to jump in now and take advantage of it. You’ll essentially have $50,000 equity in your home from day one.”
That being said, Ms Fitzgerald said it’s important to take into consideration some factors that come with buying property before making the leap.
First of all, before you start looking at any property, work out your finances, she advised.
“The mistake I see from first home buyers all the time is they go directly to the bank where they have their savings account for their mortgage,” Ms Fitzgerald said.
“I would advise instead you find yourself a great mortgage broker who can find the best deal for you. Bank A might lend you $400,000, whereas Bank B might be willing to lend you $450,000, and the only difference could be the industry you work in, how you earn your income or even how the bank calculates borrowing capacities.”
Next, Ms Fitzgerald said first-time investors should consider buying land for price growth.
“We always suggest you follow the advice of Custodian CEO and author of 7 Steps to Wealth, John Fitzgerald and buy land.
“Land is what increases in value, so this is the most important part of your purchase. Prioritise your land component; ideally it would be 40 per cent or more of your purchase price. Most people start by picking their house, whereas that is exactly the opposite of what they should be doing.
“You should be steered by what you can afford, but consider the lifestyle aspects, too. Is it close to transport, amenity and schools? Once you have the land, you know how much you can afford to spend on building your house.”
Finally, Ms Fitzgerald advised investors to “build new” and not buy existing property.
“You’ve got to try and build new,” Ms Fitzgerald said.
“There are plenty of advantages to this. First and foremost the $50,000 free kick, but also as an owner-occupier, you can factor into the plans any extensions you might like to do later when you have more money. New builds also come with a builder’s guarantee, so you have some recourse if anything goes wrong.
“If that property does eventually become an investment, the newer it is, the easier it is to rent and you’ve got higher tax depreciation benefits.
“It’s not realistic to chase your perfect dream home as your first house,” Ms Fitzgerald added.
“Build what you can afford. As we get older, our incomes increase and our equity increases, then we have access to more money to add onto or extend the house to suit our changing needs.
“I meet so many people wanting to buy in our land estates who have already picked the house out before they find the land.
“It doesn’t work and you’re making it so much harder than it should be. You need to choose your land first and fit the house to the block and your budget. When you do it the other way around, you risk missing out altogether, which I have seen so much in the last few months, buyers can’t find the block to fit their house. You can pretty much find a house design to fit any block – there’s thousands of them.”