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How to find a home option that suits you best

By George Hadgelias

There are many different paths to home ownership, so how do you work out which one is best for you now and into the future?

Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make – financially and on a personal level. So, thinking about what you need from a home now and in years to come is important to help you make the right choice.

“Understanding your needs and identifying your values will dictate the areas of your home and lifestyle that you are willing to compromise on… or not,” says Stephanie Vanin, GM Residential Sales at Stockland.

“Buying your own home is one of the most exciting, rewarding and important decisions of your life so think about it early, weigh up all your options, understand your needs now versus your needs in the future, and get the support of the many experts available to help you through the process.”

Things to consider to get the home ownership ball rolling

To kick your brain into gear for finding the home that best suits you, here are some questions to consider first-off:

  • What lifestyle changes will your new community need to cater for, e.g. will you have children and want to be close to schools and playgrounds?
  • How does a community feel when you visit?
  • How close will you be to shopping centres, doctors, supermarkets, friends and family?
  • Do the community’s future plans meet your future needs?
  • Do you want to be part of a growing community or an existing community?

Old homes versus…

“An existing home is often located in an established area, which means you have a ready-made community when you move in. Older homes will also generally be in areas with established services and infrastructure,” says Stephanie.

“However, you’re effectively buying someone else’s home designed to suit their needs. This can lead to additional costs to make it suitable for your family and lifestyle in the future.”

Existing homes may also come with hidden costs if you renovate, like dealing with termites and toxic building materials. A pre-purchase inspection is a must.

…New homes

Data from Developer Insights shows 31% of buyers who build a new home buy land and then build. And 44% of buyers who build choose a house and land package in a master-planned community.

Buying off-the-plan is another option if you prefer a townhouse or apartment and these can also be found in master-planned communities where conveniences and amenities are right on your doorstep, or will be. The data from shows one-quarter to one-third of house and land buyers choose a new townhouse.

“The key advantage of building a new home is that you start with a blank canvas. From the number of bedrooms to the layout and fixtures, you are part of every design decision,” says Stephanie.

“Also, home builders have great insights into what customers like and dislike. They’ve already done the heavy-lifting on what works and what doesn’t, and modern homes generally require less maintenance and costly renovations.”

If your home is new, your builder is responsible for defects and appliances are covered by the manufacturer’s warranty – peace of mind you don’t get with an established home. New homes are usually more sustainable and energy efficient, too, and new communities are planned with lifestyle in mind with walking tracks, cycle paths, green spaces, amenities and job opportunities nearby.

Buying new also comes with financial incentives you don’t get with an older home, too. First home buyers qualify for grants and stamp duty savings on new builds that a broker or bank can discuss.

Read up more on the First Home Owner’s Grant – and the rules in your home state. 

Home sweet home…

“The common thread from the majority of new home buyers is they appreciate being in control of the process and having flexibility. When you buy an existing home, you lose that control and flexibility,” says Stephanie.

“And new buyers have an overwhelming sense of achievement and pride knowing they are on the property ladder, which is easier than breaking into the established property market. Their new home is an investment into their family and there’s a great deal of price in being able to share that with loved ones.”

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