5 Things to Consider Before Buying a House in Australia

| February 13, 2017

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Buying your first home is a major milestone, more so if you’re a migrant and you’re looking to buy a house in Australia.

If you’re at this stage in your life, congratulations. I can only imagine the amount of work and discipline it took to get to this point, so job well done indeed.

Now, we’ve already established that buying a house in Australia is a big deal, so this isn’t something you go into lightly. In order to make sure that your hard-earned funds don’t go up in smoke, let’s take a look at the five things you need to consider before you place a down payment on that dream property in Oz:

1.) Rent vs. Buy.

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Okay, some people think that renting a house or apartment is akin to throwing away money and enriching your landlord or landlady, but there are instances when it’s more practical to do this as opposed to buying a home.

If you move around a lot, for example, it would be more cost-efficient to rent a place since that gives you a lot more flexibility. Houses are also harder to maintain than rented properties. In the latter’s case, if anything breaks, you can call for the property owner to fix it (unless you broke the said item, then it would be your responsibility). If you own the place, you’ll have to either fix it yourself or call for repair personnel to do it for you. That big, beautiful lawn does require a lot of work to keep it looking like that, mind you.

However, if you’re pretty much based in one place and have no plans of moving within the next five or ten years (and you’ve got a growing family), then by all means, call up your real estate agent and begin the hunt for your dream house.

2.) Location.

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Image Credit: Chantelle Riordan

Ah, the primary rule of real estate: location, location, location.

You would certainly want a house that’s close to where you work and to where your kids will study, if you’ve got them. It also goes without saying that you’d want to live in a good neighborhood with access to hospitals, supermarkets, and perhaps even some recreational centers.

Another thing to look for in a property’s location is its proximity to public transportation. Most Filipina wives are still nervous about driving in Australia, so having a train or bus station nearby would help them get around with greater ease.

3.) Size.

It’s far too easy to be blown away by big houses with all the MTV Cribs-like decor and furnishings, but these won’t necessarily be better at fulfilling your needs than their less flashy counterparts.

Before you go looking at houses for sale, think about what you really need in a home first. How many bedrooms do you need? Is a swimming pool really necessary? How big should the kitchen be and what should be included in it?

Once you’ve decided on your essentials, start looking at the houses on the lower end of the price spectrum first and check if any of them meet your specifications. That way, you’ll have a more realistic basis for comparison and it’ll be easier to stick to your pre approved budget.

4.) Upkeep.

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Image Credit: Huffington Post Canada

As we discussed in the first item, upkeep is a significant and constant cost when you become a homeowner. You have the freedom to do basically whatever you want with the property, yes, but you are also responsible for keeping it in tip-top condition.

Thus, it’s better to stay away from homes with high-maintenance features like big, sweeping lawns or Olympic-sized swimming pools. Outdoor living is big in Australia, yes, but you don’t need to spend weekends weeding and mowing the lawn to enjoy that. A low-maintenance alternative, for example, is an outdoor living area that you can use throughout the entire year.

5.) Budget.

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Image Credit: 123rf.com

When accumulating funds for your home purchase, it’s not just the property’s list price you need to take into consideration. Make allowances for other expenses like documentary stamp taxes, agents’ commissions, and of course, repairs and refurbishments.

This is why it’s so important to view a house before buying it. You need to really check if there are any costly repairs and upgrades (bathrooms and kitchens often require expensive remodeling) that will come with the property and if you can afford them.

Lastly, make sure you have a healthy amount of cash on hand before moving in to your new house. These will cover any equipment, appliance, or furniture purchase you might need, as well as any minor home repairs (and perhaps even snacks and drinks you’d want to serve to the people helping you move as a “Thank you”).

Here’s a bonus tip to round out this article: take your time. There are plenty of good properties out there in Australia, but you need to do your homework. Bear in mind too, that you shouldn’t hesitate to walk away from a bad deal or to seek out advice from more than one expert.

Happy househunting!

 

About the Author

clip_image010Rica is the founder and CEO ofiRemit.com.au, a remittance company focused on Australia to Philippines money transfer. She is a Filipina who loves writing about anything under the sun and reading hi-fiction books (dragons!), good stories, dancing, laughter, lying on the grass and eating balut.

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