Buying your first home is such an exciting time – and I should know! But before you start shopping around for your very own castle, glue this message to the inside of your eyelids:
House prices are not the only thing you should look at.
That seems like a crazy statement to make! Surely it’s the first thing you should consider when house hunting in Sydney, right?
It’s true that price needs to be part of your filtering process, but there are a few other things you should consider if you’re going to live a happy life inside your brand new home.
- How long are you going to stay there?
Buying a property is a long-term investment, as well as a highly emotional decision. Can you see yourself staying there for several years at an absolute minimum? How long do you think you could stay there? If you’re prone to catching the travel bug, what will you do if you want to do another stint in London, or travel over to the States?
Are you eager to embrace Sydney’s big nightlife, or are the suburbs calling you? Does the area have everything you need? Shops? Cafes? Laundromats? And if not, is it close to roads that will take you to everything you need? If you don’t have a car, is there a train station near by? Think about what schools are in the area if you’re planning for kids, and cafes for escaping them occasionally.
- Neighbourhood vibe
Think about how quiet the neighbourhood is. Is the house you want near a major café/restaurant/bar precinct? Is it on a street of eager motorbike riders? If you value peace and quiet, it pays to do a bit of investigative work before you choose your Sydney suburb.
And if it’s a new suburb, you’ll likely be in for regular road works and infrastructure updates. Read: nighttime disruptions and Wi-Fi blackouts.
Also, it’s really important to find out what the neighbours are like. Remember – you’ll be living next to them for a while. And if their son has a drum kit, you’ll want to find out beforehand.
- Your home, or someone else’s?
If you’re planning to make your new house or apartment an investment property, what sort of tenants do you think will live in the area? If they’re not high quality tenants – ones who pay on time and don’t trash the place – then can you outsource that part to a professional and experienced real estate agent who’s willing to take the hard line?
- Gardens and backyards are hard work
You might think a flower bed and water feature will make for great Instagram posts, but consider if you really want to be spending your weekends mowing the lawns and pruning shrubs. And if not, can you afford a gardener?
- Sunshine and natural lighting
Real estate photos are often heavily edited to make properties look a lot brighter than they actually are. Make sure your chosen property has enough windows, and that trees aren’t blocking any natural light.
- Could it be the worst house on the best street?
Prime location? Check. Nice neighbours? Check. A hop, skip and a jump from your favourite restaurant? YES!
But can you park your car anywhere near your house? What about the temperature – is it 10 degrees hotter or colder inside? And bathrooms! It’s a nightmare when your dream house turns out to be the worst house on the best street. Make sure your house has everything you want for your personal needs.
- Contract terms
If you’ve found the perfect property for a price that suits you, make sure you read the contract. Is the settlement period insanely long, or too short? Will you have enough time to get approved for a mortgage?
- Trust your head, not your heart
Like I’ve said before, buying a property in Sydney is a huge emotional decision. But trust the facts, and don’t be afraid to walk away from a bad deal. Even if you’re already creating a Pinterest board for your home’s new décor, buying a home is a financial decision. Think about your future, and what you can afford right now.
- Work with the best
Hire the most experienced, thorough and people-oriented professionals to help you find your dream home sooner. If you’re going to avoid heartache, make sure your Sydney mortgage broker, your real estate agent and your conveyancer are working with your needs in mind, and not their bottom lines.
Thinking of buying a home in Sydney? Get in touch to see which mortgage you qualify for.