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4 tips to ensure your first home sets you up for the future

By George Hadgelias

From choosing a home that suits you now and in the years to come, to finding a location that has all the amenities you need – what should you keep in mind when buying your first home?

Your first home is a major investment and you want to be sure that the choice you make isn’t just right for today, but also for the future you are planning. Choosing the perfect home in a good location can set you up for the future – both financially but also by providing you with a lifestyle that you love.

But how do you find that home? Nerida Conisbee, Chief Economist at realestate.com.au says breaking decision-making into chunks can help first home buyers navigate the journey.

1. Know your budget

Look at your income and expenses now but also think about how they may change in the future. You may get a pay rise, which eases your financial position, but if you’re planning to have a family, or to expand the family you already have, how will that affect finances?

Consider stamp duty and moving costs, too, and shop around to find a home loan with a good interest rate.

“Mortgage rates have never been lower but also be aware that at some point in the future they may start to rise. Make sure you could afford any future increases,” says Consibee.

On the plus side, most of the state governments have grants available to first home buyers who are buying an established or a new home, so find out what government assistance you’re entitled to.

2. Make a location wishlist

Make a list of the things that are vital in your ideal location. Is being close to public transport or a good retail precinct high on that list?

“Our most recent Property Seeker Survey found an all-round good neighbourhood, access to supermarkets and shops and access to public transport are what buyers look for,” Conisbee says.

Stockland’s Elara estate in Marsden Park in Sydney’s North-West is close to Sydney Business Park, which includes stores like Costco, Aldi, Bunnings, IKEA, Woolworths and speciality shops.

A central shopping village is planned to include a supermarket, community hub, gym, childcare centre and medical centre, too. And Schofields and Blacktown train stations are a short drive away for a quick commute to the CBD and Parramatta.

3. Do your research

You shouldn’t  make any major investment without doing some research. Research will help you narrow down your choices and ensure that you choose a home that is in a place that will continue to grow in terms of amenities and value.

Look at how much similar properties sell for in the area and check the price growth – Sydney’s west has seen property prices lift in recent years with data from realestate.com.au showing the median house price in Marsden Park rising 87% in four years, from $457,500 in 2014 to $829,000 in 2018.

Look at any new plans for the area, too, like new schools, shops, medical centres and entertainment options as this will increase demand.

4. Look to the future

If you buy and sell your property within two years, you’re more likely to make a loss so it makes financial sense to choose a home that you can stay in for a while.

Opt for a design with room to grow, like something with three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a double garage.

Think about schools too. Stockland’s Aura community in Queensland has plans for two private schools, two state primary schools and three childcare centres, as well as a future urban university – ensuring leading education for residents.

Future proof yourself against big bills by looking at sustainable home designs that include gas and solar power. Solar produces clean energy and the savings mean that the system will be paying for itself in a few years.

Thinking about each of these points will ensure the decision you make today will set you up for the years to come.

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