Illawarra first home buyers may benefit from a new guide which aims to help simplify the process of buying off-the-plan.
Property technology business AD Group and Colliers International have created a First Home Buyers Guide to buying off-the-plan in NSW, a manual for first home buyers to assist them in entering the NSW property market.
It guides readers through key milestones that need to be considered when purchasing a property.
"As with most national markets from 2014 to 2017 there was extreme competition in purchasing a home, but now first home buyers in Wollongong can finally take advantage of a cooling market," Simon Kersten, managing director of Colliers International Wollongong said.
"We've seen residential lending to first home buyers rise in relation to other sectors over the past year due to this very fact."
Mr Kersten said there were still a number of projects to choose from in Wollongong.
"There has been a lot of talk about the negatives of buying off-the-plan," he said.
However, he said there are many positives, such as off-the-plan purchases often being cheaper than existing built product, and it allowing time to save more and to be in a better financial position by the time you settle.
The guide breaks down buying off-the-plan properties into several key areas. These include the below:
What's important to you?
Scott Rudgley, sales director of AD Group said it's important to consider your current lifestyle and the lifestyle you desire before starting your property hunt.
"Whether you are single, a young professional couple or a growing family will impact the type of home you are looking for," he said.
"A young family may favour an extra bedroom, while those really into their health and fitness may have a preference for a home with a high-quality kitchen and its own gym."
What's your budget?
Mr Rudgley said it's important to be clear of your budget when searching for your first home.
"Shopping around for a home loan that best suits you is worth investing some time into, as a fixed or variable home rate loan depends on your lifestyle.
"Small variations in interest rates may make a big difference in your monthly repayments.
"I'd suggest looking into small and independent banks as they often have excellent home loans with lower fees."
Mr Rudgley also recommended tracking monthly expenses and earnings to determine your budget.
"There may be lifestyle behaviours that you need to cut down on in order to maximise savings as well," he said.
Finding a home
Mr Rudgley said once you've done the other hard work, the inspections begin.
"We're finding that first-home buyers are becoming more and more attracted to off-the-plan apartments due to appealing features like seven years' building insurance, government grants, stamp duty exemptions as well as the freedom to choose colour schemes, floor layouts, etc, that are tailored to your preferences," he said.