When the exhilaration of your wedding and honeymoon ends real life isn't the only thing to kick in. It's likely that you'll have a wedding shaped hole in your life post nuptials, and that's no fun. In fact, it's called the post wedding blues.
You had the time of your life and your day was everything you ever dreamed of and more. After a relaxing honeymoon, you're back to reality and it’s time to start your life together. But the return to the daily-grind seems impossibly cruel. You can’t eat, you can’t sleep and you’re blue. You've got the dreaded post-wedding day blues.
What's a wifey to do?
It’s time to refocus your energy on other projects and look forward to all the new ‘firsts’ you can experience as husband and wife. And what’s more exciting than the ‘first’ marital home. The experts at Gateway Credit Union give us the low-down on navigating the world home ownership as Mr and Mrs.
Step one: sort out your finances
“Before you start looking at buying a property, you need to make sure you’re in a financial position to do so,” said Paul Thomas, CEO at Gateway Credit Union. “This part of your journey should be all about getting your ducks in a row so you can start hunting for a house with a clear picture of your circumstances and budget.” In other words, you need to get your financial situation in order. After the wedding some couples can end up with a fair amount of debt or perhaps you both individually had debt prior to getting married.
“Incurring high levels of debt can make it more difficult to obtain a loan. Before you start looking for a property, work out your debt level and put together a plan to start paying it down. This could be anything from credit card debt, personal loans and existing mortgages. If you do have multiple areas of debt you might consider consolidating it all to make it easier to manage,” says Thomas.
How much can you afford?
Once you’ve worked out your debt level, it’s time to understand how much you can actually afford to borrow as a couple.
“Be realistic and don’t over stretch yourselves. Take into account both your incomes and any other additional investments you might both have. Then calculate all your monthly expenses and how much you’d ideally like to put aside for savings. When trying to work out how much you can borrow, it’s a good idea to factor in a buffer because we all know that sometimes life can throw unexpected curveballs and you don’t want to land yourself in hot water. If you need help determining your borrowing capacity, there are plenty of helpful online calculators, and we have a great one on our website,” continued Thomas. You can check out Gateway’s Borrowing Power Calculator here.
Before you start looking for a property, you may want to seek pre-approval from your lender.
“Pre-approval gives you a good understanding of the amount a financial institution would be willing to lend you based on your current financial status. Items that will be assessed during pre-approval include; your income, employment situation, as well as the status of any credit cards or existing loans. Having this sorted before you start looking will give you peace of mind and ensure you avoid the disappointment of looking at properties that aren’t within your budget,” said Thomas. You can read more about the pre-approval process here.
Step two: research, research, research
“After sorting out your financial situation as a couple, it’s time to get out there and start looking at properties. In this phase of the process, the key is research, research, research,” advised Gateway’s Thomas.
Start with researching each other!
Buying a home is a big decision, so having open discussions about expectations will ensure you both get what you’re after. Discuss things like what are the characteristics of you and your husband’s ideal suburbs? Is the design of the house more important than the size? How big does the house need to be? This one is especially important if you’re planning on having kids. By determining what’s important to both of you, you can better narrow down your search.
Do your homework...
Making a good purchase decision comes down to conducting thorough research. Once you’ve compiled your shortlist of homes be sure to research the suburbs as well as the sale history of each property, making comparisons to other similar homes.
You should also consider taking up the services of a professional: such as a buyer’s agent to complement your own research. Using a professional can help you garner more insight and ultimately help you negotiate a better price for your dream home.
Step three: secure a loan
“Once you’ve fallen in love with a property you’ll need a loan. This might seem like a complex and daunting process, but it doesn’t need to be so long as you engage with the right lender. It’s not just about finding a competitive rate, but also about finding a lender that is flexible and will offer you support at every stage of the process,” continued Thomas.
Make an offer
If you've found a property and are ready to make an offer, you will need to submit your formal home loan application. Of course, if you applied for pre-approval from the outset this step will be quicker and easier.
“You will need to provide all the relevant documentation to your lender. The documents you supply will vary depending on your current situation. For example, if you have a bank account at another financial institution, they will ask for those statements. Some of these documents can take time to compile, so it’s a good idea to set aside time to get these organised.” A typical list of the documents a lender might require can be found here.
Know thy value
Following your formal application for finance, you will most likely pay a deposit and exchange contracts on your dream home. The next step in the process will be to arrange a valuation of the property. This ensures the property you are buying is worth what you have agreed to pay. Some lenders may offer a free property valuation so be sure to ask.
Once your financial information has been verified and the property valuation has been conducted and accepted, you will receive formal approval of your application. From here, you will be issued with a contract that sets out the terms and conditions of the loan.
“It goes without saying to make sure you fully understand everything outlined in the contract before signing it. Specifically, you should understand exactly what you have agreed to borrow, your repayment amount, the regularity of your repayments and the length of the loan,” said Thomas. “Once you’re happy with what’s been outlined, all that needs to be done is to complete the appropriate paperwork, sign the contract and return these to your lender. If you are purchasing a unit, a Certificate of Currency should be obtained from the insurer of the property’s body corporate. If you are purchasing a house, a building insurance policy should be obtained from an insurer. The details and proof of this insurance arrangement must be provided before settlement.”
At this point, there is a period of time before settlement but you’re only one step away from getting the keys to your dream property. This period can be as little as 21 days or as long as eight weeks, and may vary in each state or territory. Prior to settlement, you should also inspect the property to ensure it is in the same condition as when it was sold. Once settlement is through, the property will be transferred into your name, and it will be officially yours – so the next step is to start packing!
If you’re in the market to buy property and want to discuss your options or would like to learn more, visit Gateway Credit Union.
Gateway Credit Union is one of Australia’s leading customer-owned banking institutions, serving as a trusted financial partner to our Members for over 60 years. With over 30,000 Members across the nation, it offers award-winning personal banking products from home loans, car loans, and personal loans to fee free bank accounts, high interest savings accounts and term deposits. With a strong focus on empowering its Members to achieve their hopes and dreams, the Gateway name is synonymous with trust, transparency and reliability. Click here to learn more.