It’s not just about knowing what is the maximum that the bank will make available, it’s also about knowing how much debt you are comfortable with. Many buyers regret buying a home at the very top of their financial capacity as often circumstances can change; perhaps they were relying on dual incomes and one partner loses their job; or interest rates increase more than they were expecting.
Make a list of the ‘must haves’ and the ‘would like to have’s’. You know that you are going to have to compromise, but it’s helpful to know the points that you will not compromise on. These might be: Price; Suburb; Number of Bedrooms; New Kitchen; School zone etc.
Buying the worst house in the best street will give the you the highest chance of increasing your property's value over time. If you buy your dream home but it's in a street/suburb that's not considered to be great, you need to weigh up whether you want your dream home and all it offers, or if you are considering the re-sale value of your home in the future. This is something of critical importance to the investment buyer.
Paperwork, paperwork, paperwork. It's something that can't be avoided when purchasing a home, and even more so when obtaining finance is involved. Make sure that you fully read every document you are given, ask lots of questions, seek independant advice and check, double check, and then check everything yet again before you sign your name.
Research the suburbs you are interested in. Find out what similar properties are selling for - this way you are developing your own knowledge and not just relying on your agent. Register for emails from agencies to obtain the most recently listed properties.