The kids may want a treehouse, the parents are craving a masterchef-worthy kitchen, the teens want their own hang out space, but before we get too far ahead of ourselves, what should we really be looking for in our first home?
To ensure you get bang for your hard-earned buck, five questions every new homeowner should consider before they make the biggest investment of their lives.
Does it suit our lifestyle?
According to a recent groundbreaking Perth-based study by RESIDE; where you live significantly impacts your health.
The study showed people living in areas with access to parks and connected streets were more active and walked for recreation.
When you’re considering location, ask yourself whether the community will complement your wants and needs.
Whether you love walking along the boardwalk with a podcast for exercise, your kids could spend hours at a park especially if there are a picnic area and living steam, or want to be close to the freeway and shops – ensure the location, its transport options and amenities suit your lifestyle.
What, realistically, is my budget?
Purchasing your first home is one of the most exciting yet hefty financial commitments you’ll ever make, so it is a decision where intensive research and budgeting is a must.
To get a home loan you’ll be looking at a five to 20 per cent deposit, and the typical Aussie first home loan sits at a minimum of $300,000.
The bigger your deposit, the less you’ll pay in the long run, and while a smaller deposit will get you into the market quicker, it will also come with one-off Lender’s Mortgage Insurance.
The process doesn’t have to be daunting, as a wealth of information and advice is just a click or phone call away.
What suburb is right for our family?
Location, location, location – a catch cry we hear time and time again, and for good reason, as it will affect every aspect of your life.
Looking at Perth’s eastern corridor? Often we’ll have our heart set on a suburb that is out of reach, yet thankfully, its surrounding suburbs are more affordable and still offer the positive characteristics of the places that originally caught our eye.
Drive just 30 minutes south and head to that community, explore and chat to the locals – what do they love about it, where do they hang out?
When considering a location ask yourself: do you feel safe and comfortable, how does the locale work within your established life, is there good access to work, school, social amenities and transport and, most importantly, can you afford to live there?
How important is future growth and development?
When you’re deciding on a location, it is important to compare its offerings to other suburbs in the vicinity, especially if it is a newer suburb on the market.
If there is evident investment in retail, food, medical and education, as well as large infrastructure projects, chances are these will continue to grow along with the population.
Also consider the developer, is this their first project or are they a brand that has a credible reputation in Western Australia?
What type of home is right for us?
The ideal type, design and floor plan of an abode is unique to each new homeowner, and what works for one young couple, will not work for the next growing family.
Consider how much space you need, the level of maintenance and also think forward – will you maybe need an extra bedroom or two and a spacious backyard in the not-so-distant future?
If not, an apartment or townhouse could be the perfect low-maintenance option for you, especially if you’re single and looking to crack into the market, or looking to downsize. If you love entertaining, make sure you find a design with an open-plan kitchen and lounge that opens to a deck for balmy summer nights.
Keep a list of the elements you need in a home to set realistic expectations, and to keep yourself in check.