4 min readYou’ve finally decided to settle down and buy a home, and you know as far as location is concerned the suburbs are the place to be for you.
The suburbs are a wonderful option for many homeowners, but how do you know where the best value is? Here are nine important factors to consider when shopping for a home in the burbs.
Affordability & finance
You need to be realistic about your purchasing power. There are many financial options for those who, like most of us, do not have the cash to put down for their dream home out right.
Among the stimuli, first time home owners will have the option of making voluntary superannuation contributions toward a home loan deposit, thereby reducing their overall taxable income.
This, if coupled with low interest rates is to be a positive step toward home-ownership. With an adequate deposit, home buyers can shop around for a suitable loan.
The two most common types of housing loans or mortgages are the fixed and variable interest rate loans. A fixed interest loan may, for example, be taken out over a 5-year period. In that time, the homeowners have some comfort in knowing what their financial obligations are going to be.
They don’t benefit from dips in interest rates, but they do benefit from the reduced stress. Variable loans have interest rates that fluctuate with market demand. If interest rates go up, they pay more. If rates go down, they benefit from the short-term savings.
Another option is to purchase land only. Many families have done this with good success. If you have enough for the deposit, you may consider buying a parcel of land. If you have the means, buying two – one that you intend to sell and one that you intend to build on – can turn out to be very profitable down the track.
This strategy requires patience and careful planning – not to mention a little bit of luck in the market. However, a lot of people with good foresight have been able to sell one block and use the proceeds to build on the other.
This slower, but more thoughtful route, can make home ownership a lot more affordable since it eliminates or drastically reduces the amount of your loan.
For the best value, search for areas that are adjacent to your preferred suburbs. This is often a way to get better value: you get the amenities of your favourite location but with a slightly reduced price tag by moving that little bit further out.
Engage a buyer agent and a conveyancer with experience in your area or in your target market. A buyer agent will bring their experience to the table to help you search for, inspect, negotiate and even bid for a home on your behalf. A conveyancer will help to ensure that you have realistic expectations, understand your obligations as well as safeguard your own interests legally.
Proximity to work
Do you already have an established career? Or will you be searching for a job in your new area?
Either way, seek suburbs that offer relative proximity and easy travel to your workplace. If you will be searching for a new job, seek out suburbs that offer a variety of opportunities in your field. i.e. have hospitals, education institutions, new construction or retail space.
Shopping & restaurants
While this is higher on the list for some people than for others, you should consider what shopping and restaurants are nearby. Many people find they enjoy living within walking distance of shops and other lifestyle amenities.
If you have children, this may be especially important. Even if you don’t have school-aged children, this can still be a factor to consider for the future.
Perceived school quality can affect property values, so it may be worth investing in a property near prestigious schools, even if it’s not an immediate concern for you.
You can easily check what schools are around your potential new residence with Homely’s new school data feature.
Many individuals see access to water, whether it’s the ocean, a lake, creek or river, as a big factor that enhances their quality of life.
If water sports or simply lying on the beach is important to you, seek out suburbs that offer this when you’re searching for a home.
Green space & streetscape
Having access to communal green space, walking trails and parklands has been shown to enhance your health and wellbeing. It offers you and your family a place to relax, a place to play, and the feel of wide open space and nature, even when you live in the suburbs.
The streetscape in the neighbourhood of your choice is also important. Drive around your prospective new suburbs to make sure you like the look of the streetscape and that people look after their properties.
Views matter. As a buyer, consider the views that are offered by potential properties in the suburb of your choice. Not only can these enhance your life, but views can also add to your property value in the future. This may be especially important if you are considering a flat in a high-rise building in the suburbs.
Many people rely on public transport to get around. Good roads and access to bus routes, trains or tram services can make your life in the suburbs easier and more economical.
These factors can also add value to your property. Proximity to public transport may mean that you pay more, but it is likely an investment that will pay off.
Considering buying a home can be overwhelming. Many buyers opt for the suburbs for good reason. These nine things to consider can allow you to choose a home and a suburb that offers the amenities most valuable to you and your circumstances. They are also the most likely considerations for those wanting to good return on their investment down the track.
To ascertain whether you’re making the right move here are four ways to make sure a suburb is right for you before buying and what makes a good property investment.