How do I go about buying my first home? Start with a plan!
Written by Meighan Hetherington.

Planning for property success

You know the adage – failing to plan means = planning to fail.

The thing about old sayings is, while often unexciting, they usually ring true.

Most people looking to get ahead believe buying property is a great idea – and so they should! It’s an outstanding and satisfying way to build your personal wealth.

But many discover their sticky wicket is the lack of a clear and precise plan, leading them to simply say, “Buy a property and get rich. Too easy!” which could hardly be described as a comprehensive strategy.

What could possibly go wrong?

Buying your first home is a serious, and often, complicated process.

You need to make decisions about structuring finance, what type of dwelling to buy, which area to buy in, and how long to hold each property – and these are just the start.

Once you've decided to buy your first home, you’re going to learn myriad facts about the property cycle, investment yields, negative and positive gearing, capital gains, sunset clauses, concessions, tax credits – the list seems never ending.

And while at times this brave new world of discovery can be exhausting, each time a new factoid about real estate is unearthed, you’re taking another step towards making an informed decision.

For most, it’s an empowering process!

A detailed property plan will guide you through the maze of decisions and help you avoid the mine field of errors that could scuttle your goal of financial freedom.

The upside of planning

Determining your risk profile: In the process of creating a detailed property plan you will come to understand your own tolerance for risk. This is crucial element of self-discovery when making any property decision because the general rule is the greater the risk, the greater the potential reward. Are you looking to take on the stress of hare-like higher risk property, or are you more tortoise-paced slow and safe?

Faster decision making: When you have a detailed property plan you’ll be able to assess opportunities quickly and move fast to make a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ decision. Property plans take away some guess work, and that means critical time savings on the buying process.

Greater certainty: A property plan will give you direction and provide a mental safety net when you’re feeling overwhelmed. It’s your Sherpa on the Everest of first home buying, helping to guide and remind you to take one step at a time towards your goals.

Keeping track: What gets measured, gets managed. The plan allows you to measure your success, monitor your progress and manage the situation if things change.

Contingencies: While a blue-sky outcome is always best, reality will kick in where a surprising setback could spell trouble. A plan allows you to expect the unexpected. The loss of a partner, the loss of employment, the end of a marriage are all things we hope won’t happen to us, but for some they do. Pretending they won’t is risky. By having a plan your plan won’t be derailed. 

Remove emotion: A property plan will stop you making one of the most common mistakes – too much heart, not enough head. At some point, as you’re building your portfolio, you’ll want to make a decision based on feeling good about a potential holding. That’s fine, but if the numbers don’t support your intuitive ticker then mental red lights should be flashing. You need a plan to avoid costly mistakes that can come from decisions driven purely by instinct, emotion, intuition, or your horoscope.

Stop short-term failure: Short-term thinking is a big no-no for most successful real estate buyers. Buy-in and sell-out costs are just one reason why pivoting between a long-term and short-term approach is a recipe for ruin. Long-term gains make sense. Plans give you security so as to avoid the knee-jerk reaction of short-term selling.

Buying your first home is a journey and like any trek worth taking, you must set your path and stay the course. For those who do, success awaits. For those who ‘wing it’, I can only wish them luck… they’ll need it!

How ready are you to buy your first home?
  Co-Founders

Veronica Morgan & Meighan Hetherington 

Veronica & Meighan are both licensed real estate agents who exclusively help buyers. 

Veronica is principal of Sydney based Good Deeds Property Buyers and is also co-host of The Elephant in the Room property podcast as well as Location Location Location Australia on Foxtel.

Meighan is the multi award winning principal of Brisbane based Property Pursuit, chairperson of the REIQ Buyers Agent Chapter & a regular media commentator.

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Do you really need a property plan?

21 Jun 2019
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