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When's the right time to buy?

14:00 AEST Tue May 3 2011
When's the right time to buy?
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By Hannah Nicholas,
MSN NZ Money writer

Looking to buy a new home but wondering when is the right time to make that big purchase? The right time to buy a home is when you find the right home for you at the price you can afford. This might happen on your first day of searching or may take some time.

Here's how to make sure everything falls into place.

Finances
Before beginning your search it's important to have a set budget in place and have pre-approval for the home loan of your choice.

Your first step is to work out what you can afford to repay each month. Just because the bank will lend you the money doesn't mean you can afford to repay it. Make absolutely sure your home loan repayments do not overly impact on your lifestyle and financial situation.

Next get yourself pre- approved for a loan. This way you will know in advance how much you can afford and what the lender will loan to you. You will also be ready to act once you spot your dream home. Always make sure the pre-approval from your lender is put in writing.

Time of year
Some people believe that certain times of the year are better for searching for a new home for example spring, when more properties generally come onto the market but there are advantages and disadvantages to this. Experts agree you should start searching as soon as you're ready despite the time of year.

Know the process
If you're buying your first home or it's been some time since you last bought property, familiarise yourself with the practicalities of purchasing property. For example, read up on how auctions work, the best way to go about making an offer, what to look for when buying a home, and real estate agent tricks and traps. Have a legal representative on hand to help with all legal matters.

Do your checks
You need to take the time to make sure everything checks out with your potential new home. Just remember that buying a property will be one of the most expensive financial commitments you'll ever make. And it could prove an even more costly one if you don't get independent pest and building inspections done prior to purchase.

In addition to professional reports, thoroughly check out the property and surrounding area for yourself. Visit the property and suburb at different times of the day and observe what's happening. The last thing you want is an issue such as neighbours, traffic or noise factors affecting your quality of life once you move in.

Feels right
At the end of the day, the right time to buy is when you find the right home for you. Most people know within seconds of walking through the door that they've found the right home. So once you’ve completed all the checks as mentioned above, always act quickly to secure the property.

Good luck and happy searching!