Nila Sweeney

Have you just settled on the purchase of your new home or rental property? While it’s definitely cause to celebrate, it’s also time to make sure you’ve got all of the right protections and policies in place to safeguard your investment.

As a new property owner, you become a more responsible member of society. For instance, you’re responsible for making a mortgage repayment to your lender each month, and if you’ve invested in a rental property, you’re also responsible for making sure the home is liveable, safe and well maintained for your tenant.

Unfortunately, many homeowners fail to understand their responsibilities, says Colin Williams from – and when short cuts are taken due to time or budget constraints, or simply a lack of knowledge on the proper steps to take, that’s when serious problems can arise.

Williams offers several tips for new property owners to help you protect the home, its value and your ability to meet the repayments:

Tip #1: Property inspections

Ideally, you should have the property inspected for build quality and for termites before you commit to purchasing. “The inspections can seem expensive at the time, but they come in handy when negotiating the price and better prepare you for future costs if you do buy the home,” he says. Once you own the home, be prepared to factor in annual pest inspections – and if necessary, treatments ­– into your budget.

Tip #2: Invest in quality insurance

“Choose building and home contents insurance wisely, making sure you are covered for all the big issues in the area that you buying in,” Williams advises. “For example, if you are near a flood prone area, can you get flood damage coverage as opposed to just storm damage?”

Tip #3: Make sure your income is safe

Personal insurance is vital to protect against unforseen illness and accidents. “You can also better protect your income by making sure you are a ‘valuable commodity’ in the marketplace, through on-going education and training,” he adds.

Tip #4: Maintain the home

Try and do as much as you can to keep the home in good shape, whether it’s your own home or an investment property. After all, this is likely to be one of the most significant purchases you’ll make in your lifetime, so it pays to be attentive. “As the saying goes, a stitch in time saves nine,” Williams says.

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