Choosing a home
Choosing a home
More about buying a home:
Buying a house is likely the largest purchase you’ll ever make and there’s a huge range of factors to carefully consider when searching for your dream home.
These can be broken down into four categories; type of ownership (freehold, leasehold, etc.), house type (weatherboard villa on quarter-acre, one-bedroom apartment, etc), house condition (is it liveable or does it need work?), and location (the neighbourhood, proximity to amenities, schools and your work etc.).
View our handy ‘choosing a home’ guide below and get in touch for more assistance.
Type of ownership
Think about which type of ownership is right for you:
- Freehold – Owners of freehold properties own their house and the land it sits on, the whole shebang
- Leasehold – Owners of leasehold properties own the building they live in (house or apartment), but they don’t own the land it occupies — they instead lease it, annually. There are different types of leasehold ownership agreements, and a leasehold review takes place at the end of the agreed term (anywhere from 5–20 years or more). These reviews usually see the lease price increase
- Cross-lease – Multiple parties own a share of a freehold title in a cross-lease. This was a common way of subdividing property several decades ago. A cross-lease title often includes conditions that most definitely need to be reviewed by your lawyer. These might include having to ask the other shareholders (likely your neighbours) for permission before renovating or altering your house
- Unit title (or strata title) – A unit title (sometimes referred to as strata title) usually applies to owners of apartments or attached townhouses. Holders of unit titles own the unit they live in and pay fees to ‘body corporate’ to cover costs like building insurance and the maintenance of shared areas such as lobbies/hallways/driveways/gardens. The body corporate is a membership, which all unit owners will belong to, including you
The right type of house for you
Think long and hard about what type of house will best suit your lifestyle and family situation:
The quarter-acre dream
- Living in a three- or four-bedroom house on a quarter-acre section can be a dream come true for a family. There’s loads of space for the kids to hoon around outside and endless potential for keen gardeners, landscapers and those who like to stay up late tinkering in sheds (yes — sheds, plural, if you so wish)
- If you have a freehold title, there may even be potential to eventually subdivide or refinance to build your dream home in place of the current one
- Just keep in mind that these properties require a lot more upkeep than many realise until after they move in. It can be a lot to take on if you already lead a busy lifestyle
Urban apartment living
- If you want to live in a built-up city where apartment living is a viable option, then this can be a great way to stay close to work and the buzz of city life
- City apartment units can be cheaper than houses in the outer suburbs
- More affordable apartments are usually leasehold and don’t come with any land. As such, they don’t appreciate in value much and lenders can be more reluctant to lend against them
- You may end up paying a larger deposit because of this
- It pays to look to the future and ask yourself: will any potential situation changes mean an apartment isn’t suitable in the long term? Think kids, lessening mobility, retirement, etc.
- Being part of a body corporate isn’t for everyone
Low maintenance town house
- A one- or two-bedroom attached townhouse with a small garden and internal garage means less real estate to take care of
- Brick construction is common, and usually requires less maintenance and repairs over the service life when compared to a weatherboard home
- May be more affordable for first-time home buyers and easier going for those looking to downsize, or both
- If this is your first home, you may outgrow it sooner than you think
- Usually closer quarters with neighbours than detached homes
- Having a freehold title may not be an option
Think about how the house will be to live in and how many of your boxes it ticks:
- Does it have the right number of bedrooms?
- What direction does the house face? Which rooms get all-day sun, and are any rooms sun-starved and damp?
- Is there space to extend and build another bedroom if you need to?
- Is the home structurally sound? A building inspection can identify most issues
- Are the power points plentiful and in the right places?
- Is there enough water pressure? (there’s nothing worse than a dribbly shower in the morning!)
- What heating/air conditioning sources are there? Will they suit your lifestyle? Think wood burners and buying/chopping firewood vs. turning the heat pump on
- Are any renovations required for the house to be functional, warm, dry, clean and cosy?
Location, location, location
When choosing an area, there is a lot to think about:
- Is the suburb within your price range?
- Is it tranquil or is there lots of road noise and party houses nearby?
- Are you going to be close enough to your essentials?
- Shops (a dairy)
- A greenspace with playground
- Public transport
- Where is the nearest school?
- Does the street have a sense of community and a neighbourly feel you want to be a part of?
First Home Buyer Success Stories
Simon and Katie buy their first home, and peace of mind
We chose Tony Mounce Mortgages & Insurance as our advisers because everyone we talked to was easy to deal with and talked us through every step of the process without any pressure.
We spoke to them about our options and what it would take for us to get a mortgage, then went back to them a year later when we were in a position to go ahead.
A positive outcome without the stress
The outcome was perfect — we got a mortgage on the terms we wanted and have been able to build a beautiful home we designed ourselves.
The team stayed in contact with us every step of the way and made the process as smooth as it could be. We didn’t have to spend hours on the phone with the bank arranging anything or causing needless stress.
Customers for life
Our experience was awesome, and we’ll happily go to them again for any mortgage or insurance needs in future. They made every step of the process so easy, and everyone has been lovely and amazing to deal with.
You really feel like the team go above and beyond to get everything right for you. - Simon and Katie Cartwright