So you’ve established your budget, your pre-approval is through and you now have your dream team of professionals enlisted, you’re ready for the fun part – finding your new home!
Buying a home is a huge decision and possibly the biggest purchase you’ll ever make, so it’s important to lock down a list of absolute must-haves before you even start looking.
- Real Estate agents often advise buying the worst house on the best street you can afford. Why? Because adding a few renovations will give you a better return on your investment when it comes time to sell again. Check out the recent sale prices of homes in your chosen areas so you’ll have an idea of comparative prices.
- A safe environment will give you peace of mind, especially if you have a family. Drive down the street at a few different times of day and perhaps even at night to see if you get a good feel for it. If you are new to town seek advice about the area too, as locals may have other insights.
- If you have a family or are looking to have one in the near future, school zoning is incredibly important! Do your homework on the local schools first. It is easy to make assumptions on the school zone, based on a houses locality but it is sometimes more complex.
- Access to amenities is something to consider. Is there a dairy down the road? Is there a park close by for the children to use? Would you prefer to be close to your church or to your work? Is being on a bus route important to you?
- Does your heart yearn for the beach? Do you love the bustle of the inner-city? What about sweeping pastoral views or the tranquillity of natural bush? If you’re a city kid at heart, you’ll hate living rurally and vice-versa. Choose the area that appeals to you the most.
Once you’ve decided on a couple of locations, it’s time to think about what kind of house you and your family will thrive in best. Some things to consider are:
- Size and floor plan. If you’re planning a family, you’ll definitely want more space. An extra bedroom may come in handy in the meantime for an office or guest room.
- Kitchens and bathrooms are generally the most expensive parts of the house to renovate. Is there enough room in the budget for renovations if required?
- Do you want a big garden for the kids to run around in – or does the thought of spending your weekends mowing make your blood run cold?
- Do you have pets or interesting animals to look after? Check council regulations to see if you’re allowed to keep chickens on a suburban property, and only consider houses that have enough outdoor space for dogs to play.
- Will good access be important? There’s no point looking at houses at the top of winding stairways if there’s an elderly person in your household to consider.
- Are you a traditionalist or a modernist? If you love sleek lines, it will be a waste of time looking at charming character villas. Deciding on your favourite style of architecture first will save time in the long run.
Once you’ve decided on the area, and what kind of home you’re looking for, grab a copy of the local Real Estate paper or get onto a property website (or all of them) and start looking!