So the time has arrived at last – after years of renting other people’s homes, saving every spare dollar towards a deposit, you are finally in a position to start thinking about buying your first family home. By now you should have spoken to your lender and have a good idea of your price range, but what are the main things a young family should look for when purchasing their first property?
It’s cheaper to buy a house with a lot of rooms than have to add them on at a later date. Unexpected additions to your family, having enough places for storage, or having a spare room for guests are all things that need to be considered. It is easy to be distracted by beautiful furniture, artwork and cushions when inspecting properties, but remember that these won’t be there when you have the keys in your hand and first unlock the front door. What you will be left with are rooms, and for a growing family – the more the better!
With house block sizes shrinking as high density living becomes the norm, you may think the lack of a backyard is a deal breaker for a family. This need not be the case if the neighbourhood has been well designed with open spaces and parks. A perfect example of thoughtful neighbourhood design is Yarra Bend (https://yarrabend.com.au) with its myriad of family friendly facilities such as open woodlands, bike tracks and wellness centre, any family would be well catered for. Whatever area you are considering it pays to take a walk around and get a feel of the surrounding streets. Does it feel safe? Are the residences well maintained?
There are things that a growing family cannot do without, and they are schools, healthcare facilities and, depending on your circumstances, childcare providers. You may have fallen in love with the house but, if you have to drive the kids to school everyday, you may find that after a few months it was not worth the sacrifice of your time and energy.
A local school from which kids can walk to and from if necessary will be a huge plus in the future, especially if both parents are working. Also take into consideration local shopping, as while you may not need department stores within walking distance, shops which supply the basic necessities like bread and milk are invaluable.
- Value Adding
Most young families will be purchasing on a budget, so when inspecting properties, it’s best to look for space over beauty. Houses can be given a cheap makeover with paint and carpets, and it makes better economic sense to do these things yourself rather than pay a hefty price tag where the seller has already made these simple updates.
- Hidden Expenses
When you are working within a budget, it is easy to be tempted to skip the usual expenses such as building and pest inspections, especially if the house outwardly appears to be fine. Unfortunately, this temptation to cut corner can be very costly in the long run. Re-stumping, re-wiring and damage caused by white ants can be some of the largest hidden expenses you can come across after you have taken possession.
- Peace and Safety
The ideal position for a family with young children is a court or crescent location. A quick look at Google Maps will give you a good idea of the locale and position of prospective properties. Look for green spaces and neighbourhoods with minimal access to through traffic.
Taking these points into account when considering the purchase of your first family home should assist in making this investment one that suits you and your growing family, both now and in the years to come, and when it’s time to move again, remember that we buy houses.