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When buying a new home, most people would prefer to find a house of the perfect size, good quality, located in the center of a great school district, and within comfortable driving distance of their work. Of course, these are harder to come by than you might think. Between the rising demand for housing and the current crunch for available property, it can be difficult for the first time (or second or third time) home buyers to find a good property that meets their criteria, and it can be tempting to get creative with your options. You have enough for a deposit and the dream of homeownership is so close you can taste it; now all you have to do is decide the kind of property you’re willing to start with.
Other than the dream house which may have a little trouble manifesting, you have a number of options for your new home property. Each of them comes with a certain amount of promise and opportunities, but there are also unique precautions you should take. You may need to get additional inspections, wait for work to be complete, or even build a home on your own empty lot in order to get exactly what you want. As long as you have the time and money, a good deal might be worth the extra hassle.
- Established Property
- From an Owner Builder
- Condos and Flats
- Off the Plan
- Rural Property
- Vacant Land
When looking for a new home, often some of your best options are, in fact, old homes! An established property generally refers to a home that was built some time ago and may need renovations or extensions to become your dream house. This can be a wonderful investment in a property with a lot of history and personality, but it can also be a big risk if there are repair and maintenance costs that go beyond your estimated budget.
If you are considering buying an older property, whether or not you feel it needs fixing up to meet your requirements, make sure to get a very detailed inspection. This will help you estimate the cost of repairs and regular maintenance and determine if the home will need renovations before it meets modern standards of living.
Tip: Check for Recently Finished Building Work!
If a builder has worked on the property in the past 10 years, the work they have done is under warranty. If you find the work to be sub-standard or notably degraded in your inspection, you may be able to ask the builder to come back and finish, improve, or touch up their work. You can find out if there has been recent building work by checking the vendor’s statement (also known as Section 32) or by contacting the local council.
It’s not uncommon for someone to decide that the perfect home for them will be the result of construction rather than searching. When someone builds their own home or manages sub-contractors for the task, they are considered an Owner Builder. Perhaps you and the selling owner have a similar taste in homes and you love their workmanship, or maybe this is just the closest thing to your dream home on the market. For whatever reason you’re looking into the house because owner-building is a little non-standard, you’ll want to make sure you have all the paperwork and assurances before completing your purchase.
You can tell if a home has been owner-built, or if other building work on the property was completed by the owner, by checking the vendor’s statement. You can also contact the local council or the Building Practitioners Board which should have records of both the builder and the construction. If any building work was carried out in the last 6 years, the owners will need to provide you with a defects inspection report. Finally, make sure that there is a certificate of insurance on the building work attached to the vendor’s statement.
Owner-builder homes can be incredibly rewarding, beautiful, and unique, but it’s also important to cover your back before making a big purchase. Get an inspection and make sure all the builder insurance is in place.
If you want to live close to city centres and don’t mind the proximity of other people, a condo or flat unit might be the perfect first home! Of course, it’s important to remember that this isn’t an apartment and you can’t just walk away from it if the neighbours get noisy or it turns out your location isn’t so ideal. Never buy a flat that you haven’t completely checked for desirable livability. Spend some time sitting quietly in a condo you’re considering and take a walk through the shared areas.
Make sure that the walls are thick enough that you won’t be constantly woken up or bothered by neighbours. Check the view from the unit you’re considering, along with the smells that come with this new location. If you have a car and intend to use it, make sure the unit comes with a parking space or two or you’ll be parking on the street even after becoming a homeowner.
Once you’re sure you like the unit, make sure that you also like the owners’ corporation, which is the council of everyone who owns a unit in your building or complex. If you buy, you will automatically become a member of this group. You will share in their rights, responsibilities, and part ownership of the common areas like the hallways, pool, lobby, and so on. If you love the flat, approve of the common areas, and feel you can get on well with the other owners, a condo could be just the home for you!
When looking for your new home, it doesn’t matter what kind of property you buy as long as you’re happy with the result. Do your due diligence to make sure you’re moving into a safe home that is up to modern living standards but also don’t let fear stop you from investing in your dream house if all it needs is a few coats of paint and new light fixtures.
Stay tuned for more types of property you might consider, and remember, you can always contact us if you need help with the buying process!