In addition to the expenses already listed here, there are some more:
Expense: Property reports. There are many reports available: recent house sale prices per area, house history, information about suburbs, etc. Once you’ve decided on a house, you may want to check how many times it was sold in the past, when and for how much.
How to minimise it: Along with paid reports, there is much free information available such as median prices per suburb or suburb profile. Don’t pay for what you can get for free, do a Google search first and then if you must buy some particular information, shop around and get the best value for money, because many companies provide similar reports for a range of prices.
Expense: Pre-purchase advice. Personally, I think that it is a must for any first-time home buyers, which is why I don’t recommend minimising this expense. To me it was worth every cent and saved me from what could have been a “big oops”. If you have no idea what pre-purchase advice is, the explanation is here.
Expense: Building/Pest inspections. Once your offer has been accepted (if buying via private sale) or prior to the auction you may (and should) want to have the building and pest inspectors check the house.
How to minimise it: Again, I don’t suggest just skipping the inspections to minimise your costs because we’re talking about a major, maybe the biggest investment you will ever make in your life. The only way to minimise this expense is to ask the vendor/estate agents whether or not anyone else has already done the inspections and maybe they will show you the reports (not very likely, but is worth a shot). Also, if you book the two inspections together through the same company they often offer a discount.
Expense: Cooling off fee. If it so happens that you’ve signed an offer for a house, it was accepted by the vendor and you decide to cool off for whatever reason, there is a fee you’ll have to pay. In Victoria it is $100 or 0.2% of the purchase price, whichever is more.
How to minimise it: Don’t cool off 🙂 What I really mean is be wise and take time to think about the offer you’re making, be completely sure that you can and want to buy that house.
Expense: Internet access. The Internet is an indispensable tool and will help a lot in the property research. Many people use the Internet only to check their emails and thus are happy with smaller download limits. However, looking for properties online involves going through a lot of pictures and that may cause your usage exceed the download limit.
How to minimise it: To avoid penalties for excessive downloads upgrade your package to a higher download limit. It will cost extra, but the penalty rates for exceeding your download limit are usually more expensive.
Expense: a notebook or a folder to keep all your records and all the information regarding researched houses organized.
Expense: Literature. There are many books written about the house-buying process, including the negotiation of a price and you might want to consider buying such a book to be a good investment.
How to minimise it: I have written a pretty decent break-down of the house-buying process, try reading it first and then decide whether or not you’d need another book 🙂 Start at part 1 and keep on reading, part 5 is the last one.
Have I missed any of the house-hunting expenses? Do you have anything to add to this list? I’d love to hear from you.