What Selling Sunset Doesn’t Tell You About Buying Your First House

Buying your first house? Check out these top things I wish I knew before buying my own, and how it differs from the hit Netflix series Selling Sunset.

Firstly, congratulations on thinking about buying your first home! It’s both a scary and exciting time, and everyone will have plenty of opinions and advice for you.

However, if you’ve invested as many hours into Netflix’s Selling Sunset as I am, you’ll notice what a breeze they make buying property look; even your first. Of course, most of their clientele are the peak higher income earners and buying holiday homes, but the process is still fairly similar. 

So, as someone who recently bought their first property, I’m here with some general advice I wish I knew, and what Netflix’s Selling Sunset doesn’t tell you about buying your first home.

Photo by Sandy Millar on Unsplash

About Netflix’s Selling Sunset

What is Selling Sunset about?

Selling Sunset is a Netflix reality show following the day-to-day happenings at Los Angeles real estate agency The Oppenheim Group and their high-end real estate agents and brokers. Cameras follow the cast as they sell some of LA’s most lucrative homes, stepping into the tens-of-million-dollar price range. 

The show has been rated in the top 5 most popular shows on the streaming platform. As of September 2020, there are currently three (3) seasons of Selling Sunset, with Netflix yet to confirm if there will be a fourth season.

The Cast & Ages of Selling Sunset


Brett & Jason Oppenheim

Identical twins, Brett and Jason Oppenheim are the founders of The Oppenheim Group. Celebrity Net Worth reports the pair are worth $50 million, with Jason sitting as President of The Oppenheim Group and Brett as Senior Vice President.

There are rumours Brett has left The Oppenheim Group to start a rival brokerage, but Jason has said this is not true.


Christina Quinn

Former actor and model, Christina Quinn is one of the most recognised of the girls on Selling Sunset. She’s also known as one of the most successful in selling houses, although is littered with drama, like any reality star.

At 31, Christina is proof education doesn’t always mean success, admitting to not having her high-school diploma. Quinn’s net worth is said to be around USD $2 million. However, Celebrity Net Worth has her estimated at around USD $500,000, so who actually knows.


Maya Vander

Maya Vander is an Israeli-born real estate agent on Selling Sunset, as well as being a mother to two gorgeous kids, Aiden and Elle Madison. Her net worth is estimated to sit at around USD $1 million.

Having been in America since 2002, she has sold properties in both Los Angeles and Miami.


Mary Fitzgerald

Mary Fitzgerald is a cast member on Selling Sunset and real estate agent at The Oppenheim Group. Netflix followed her personal life almost more actively than her professional moments, particularly focusing on her relationship with Romain Bonnet. For those who invested in the show, you’ll also know Mary dated Oppenheim-founder Jason Oppenheim. 

Film Daily reports Mary’s net worth sits at around USD $1 million. However, the show notes she earned a $1,005,375 commission from the sale of a $34,345,000 home, so the accuracy of this can be debated.


Heather Rae Young

The internet seems to be in consensus about Selling Sunset’s Heather Rae Young’s net worth, estimated it to be around USD $3 million. As well as her career in real estate and TV, Heather has modelled for Playboy, is a former Pilates instructor and co-hosts a podcast.

Heather also recently got engaged to Flip or Flop host Tarek El Moussa. Tarek’s Twitter labels him as self-made real estate investor, so he and Heather seem to be fitted well career-wise.


Chrishell Stause

Chrishell Stause is one of my personal favourites on Netflix’s Selling Sunset. Surprisingly to some, Chrishell is a former actress from Days of Our Lives, where she met her ex-husband, Justin Hartley.

More recently Chrishell featured on Dancing with the Stars. Her net worth is estimated at USD $5million


Davina Potratz

Davina Potratz is one of the most controversial cast members of Selling Sunset, with many debating her place on the show and at The Oppenheim Group. Lovers of reality TV will known much of the drama she’s placed in may not actually be factual, so we’ll leave that for someone else to debate.

Drama aside, Davina’s net worth is estimated to sit between USD $1.5 million and $2 million.


Amanza Smith

Amanza Smith was welcomed to Selling Sunset in season 2. Unlike most of the other cast, Amanza is an in-house interior design expert for The Oppenheim Group, helping to stage the stunning million dollar homes.

Amanza’s net worth is estimated to be around USD $1 million.


Top 6 Things to Expect When You Buy Your First Home

1. You may not be excited by the time you settle.

When I was in the process of buying my first house, many people warned me the draining process of doing so can make settlement feel like a relief, not excitement. They were more than right and I now pass this advice onto others.

Buying a house comes with a lot of paperwork, legalities, expectations and surprises. Honestly, it can be stressful. Sometimes it’s not. For me, there was stress right up until the hour before settlement occurred, thanks to a bank mishap. A friend of mine had problems with building and pest. Another friend had not a single problem. 

This isn’t to deter you, because it’s all worth it in the end, but you can forget to enjoy the moment the property becomes yours. It’s normal if you’re glad it’s all over, as is being nervous and excited. Whatever happens, plan for a peaceful evening to recharge your energy and celebrate, whatever that means for you.

Note: Settlement is the process of the property being legally transferred into your ownership.

2. You won’t get the keys first thing on settlement morning.

Speaking of settlement; one of the most common mistakes first buyers make is booking a removalist for the day of your property settling. For settlement to occur (depending on circumstances), your conveyancer and the other party’s conveyancer get together and do the legal side of things, the bank confirms their side and then the realtor is notified. Until the realtor is notified with the official paperwork, you’re not getting the keys.

Most settlements generally occur in the afternoon. Settlement can take time, so don’t plan to be able to actually get your keys until at least 2:00pm or later in the afternoon. When I worked in a real estate office, we had settlements not occur until after 4:00pm.

There is also the worst case scenario where the property doesn’t settle on the day intended. A property settlement may be delayed by:

  • Late paperwork or reports.
  • If the purchaser is having issues selling their property.
  • Problems with the bank, normally with the bank not being ready to release funds.
  • Issues were found during the final inspection.
  • The seller has to delay, sometimes due to not being able to move out in time.
  • Either party’s conveyancer not being available or late.

And a host of other reasons. You should speak to your conveyancer if you haved concerns about a delayed settlement.

3.  It costs more than the property itself.

Everyone will tell you to budget for your deposit, conveyancer, stamp duty and other essential costs when buying a house. Stamp duty may be waved in some states and circumstances for some first home buyers, but there are some other out-of-pocket expenses you may not realise.

Other costs to consider when buying a home:

  • Mortgage application fee.
  • Lenders’ mortgage insurance.
  • Home, building and contents insurance.
  • Moving costs.
  • Transfer fees.
  • Internet and power disconnection/reconnection fees.
  • Mail redirection.
  • Building and pest inspection.

Many of these costs may be able to be incorporated into your mortgage, but always check with your bank or mortgage broker instead of making a costly assumption.

4. You’re probably not buying your dream home.

Your first home is most likely not going to be the home you live in forever. For someone in their early 20s, you can get away with a smaller home and expand when you start to think about wanting a family. Whereas someone in the late 20s or 30s may look at something with extra space for a home office, kids and/or pets.

Write a list of your non-negotiables you need in your first home and then speak to a broker about your borrowing power. Once you have these, you can start to look.

As you’ll eventually be selling the property, you’ll want to buy a house (or apartment, unit, etc.) you can make some money from when you do sell. Research up-and-coming areas, generally bordering CBD areas. Things to look for are local government plans for public transport, schools and shopping facilities.

5. Not all property purchases are the same.

Building your first home versus buying your first home are two very different experiences. Then you also have buying off-the-plan, which is different again. 

Planning to build a property as your first home can come with the surprise of paying your mortgage before you’re house even exists. This is what funds the builder, installers and other property professionals to do the build. The process varies depending on your builder and bank, so speak to a mortgage broker to get your options before proceeding.

Off-the-plan is a little like buying an existing property. You essentially go into an agreement to buy a pre-designed house, normally an apartment, before it’s built. People will often advise against this as build times can blow out, financing can lapse, deprectiation and hidden clauses. However, ensuring you’re going through a reputable developer, builder and mortgage broker will help give you confidence.

6. Brokers can’t tell you what to do, but they can help.

A mortgage broker is legally not allowed to tell you what to do. Their responsibility is to present your options to you and be the go-between for you and the bank. They’ll often have good relationships with many banks and lenders, making the application process smoother.

In saying this, not all brokers are made equal. Ensure you read online reviews for the mortgage brokers in your area and feel confident with them. You can also find a list of local mortgage brokers on localsearch.com.au.

Disclaimer: The information in this article is for informational purposes only and does not replace the advice or counsel of a financial professional. Localsearch nor the author are responsible for the misuse of this information. At time of publishing, the information is correct to the best of their knowledge.

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      Sarah Russo

      UX Content Writer

      Sarah Russo is a UX Content Writer at Localsearch with a decade of experience in traditional and digital marketing. She has written for and assisted in the social media and marketing strategies for many different industries, including real estate, medical, health and fitness, trades and beauty. When she isn’t nose deep in data, SEO research or her content strategy, Sarah is a gym junkie, foodie and gamer with a brain full of random facts that come in handy far more often than you would think. As a digital marketing all-rounder and lifestyle specialist, her articles provide insight into marketing, advertising and branding for small businesses on the Localsearch Business Blog, as well as some handy lifestyle tips on the Localsearch Blog.