The new generation of home owners are out to spend their top dollar on their dream home to roof the next generation.
The older generation of home owners are downsizing to ward of the feeling of an empty nest or renovating to change the functionality of their home; converting old rooms and spaces into hobby rooms or playpens and bedrooms for the grandchildren.
Some are taking advantage of the lower house prices the reccession has brought about to buy a second holiday home or investment property.
The thing in common everyone has when they’re buying a home these days is we all want it tailored to suit our needs and lifestyle.
So if you’re in the market for your slice of property heaven what’s your best option to get the home of your dreams?
Well, it all depends on what you want to achieve at the end of your dollar.
Building a new home
Who it’s for: busy couples, working individuals and retirees. Those who like new, modern and functional and don’t wish to spend alot of time and effort in the process.
Buyer beware: read the fine print carefully. Especially if your home is built on a new subdivision. The water and electrical services are untested and barely used; when it comes to problems and malfunctions, no one is to tell or blame. Rest assured, problems will be fixed by the builders and developers as they arise (during the warranty period) but expect inconveniences.
The upside: clean living spaces built to specification and your liking. If you are more creatively inclined and savy dare to configure options available to you to make it that much more special. If not, there are plenty of “off the rack” homes to chose from.
The downside: even with customizations to the floor plans and hand-picked floor and wall coverings, when you visit your neighbours; expect to have the “my home is a from a cookie cutter” feeling.
Who it’s for: people with more time on their hands to go through the renovating process and spend time chasing up their renovators. Individuals wanting to keep their existing home but change the functionality of the spaces.
Buyer beware: expect delays and expect to pay more than if you were building a new and modern home from scratch. Unexpected complications with water pumps, electrics and all things that live in the ceiling means additional costs. They get you on the variations and are not afraid to come after you on them. The best advice is decide exactly what you are going to do and the materials you will use; don’t change your mind half way through the process; this is where costly variation bills come in.
The upside: a truly unique home. The satisfaction of materializing your creative impulses — and dream home.
The downside: doing too much or too little. If you want to renovate your entire home, start with the main rooms such as the kitchen and bathrooms, floor and wall coverings and the structure (such as walls to be taken down). Doing too much may leave you with regrets. Doing too little and then deciding to do more becomes more expensive and a hassle of living in a construction site with each new idea that pops into your head.
That said, what is your best bet as a new home owner with a limited line of credit?
If your heart is set on that loft conversion, make sure to leave more than enough (quoted) room in your budget for the renovations.
If your heart is set on a new home, do your research on location. Buying smaller but in a better location has a higher potential to benefit you in the long run when property prices come on the uprise again.
As an ex- property agent my advice is never expect to walk into the perfect home. I’ve had so much experience with people buying on emotion; when they use more logic at the supermarket. The bunch of celery you bring home will be cooked in a stew or cut up as vegetable sticks. A home is the same. View with an open mind; especially when it comes to specials, because everyone makes something different of the home they walk into.
Buying a second home or investment property
Fix only if critical and buy when low. These properties, despite their promises fluctuate little and are the first to take the fall in bad times. Their return is a steady stream of income if renting or added benefit (no hotel bills!) if you are the sort to take frequent holidays and sort getaways out of town and have children. You are likely to get back your capital buying and selling at the right time but do not expect to laugh to the bank on resale — but it happens and thank your lucky stars.
Location, location, location
We are notorious for supersized homes; big as the block with accomodate in Australia. That’s not a bad thing, but don’t make size your top goal. It’s more common now to change homes as your needs and lifestyle changes, and your family grows. Being bent on location than size will more likely give you a better return for when sell and are next in the market.
Lastly, look in unexpected places such as www.gumtree.com.au and www.craiglist.org for individuals advertising homes without an agent and save on fees, you would be surprised at some of the offers you will find.