Buying your first home is always an exciting and nervy time in anyone’s life.
For a start, for many people, it is the most expensive purchase they have ever made – or indeed will ever make.
It also involves entering the longest commitment outside of marriage they might ever be involved in. Namely, paying a mortgage for upwards of thirty years.
To ensure you make sensible decisions, there are many things you will need to consider.
One of the main ones, of course, is how you will fund the purchase of your home. This is something the major banks, as well as non-bank lenders like Homestar Finance, can help you do.
The other is the actual home itself.
Choosing the right home for you is a very personal decision. You will need to think about all aspects of it from practicality, aesthetic and lifestyle perspective before deciding on the one that best suits.
To help you do this, outlined below is an overview of what features to look for in your first home. If all of them are to your satisfaction, the chances are you would have found somewhere to put an offer in for.
- The Exterior
The first thing you will see on any property you inspect is its exterior. In this respect, initial impressions do count.
If you are looking for somewhere with street appeal and a ‘wow’ factor, you will need to decide whether it has enough of it for your liking. Or at least if you can create this vibe yourself.
This might include the appearance of the door, front lawn and any furnishings that might adorn it.
Even if this is all to your liking, it is critical to have its foundations, roof and exterior walls checked out by a professional property surveyor.
This will ensure that it not only looks great but also will stand up to the rigours of time and the elements as well.
- Property Size
Whether you are after a mansion or a cosy one-bedroom apartment, you will have a vague idea of what size of property you are after.
The size of the property you buy will vary according to your preferences and needs. However, it should be adaptable enough for you to live comfortably both now and in the future. This is particularly pertinent if you plan to start, or add to your family.
When inspecting a home, try to figure out whether the size of the property is something you can easily manage. If it is too big, you might find yourself hoovering and dusting too much for your liking.
If it’s too small for your partner or children, you could find yourself living in each other’s pockets, which could end up causing frustration and resentment.
- The Back Garden
Like with the size of the property, the size of the back garden is a key consideration too.
During your tour of it, you should be mindful of how you would use the back garden.
As a rule, the bigger the garden, the more maintenance there would be required on it. Especially when it comes to mowing and raking up leaves.
However, a bigger yard will also allow you to put in a swimming pool, hot tub, playground equipment, a gazebo, decking, fire pit or BBQ area – if it doesn’t have them already.
Regardless of whether you aim to spend many hours every week in it, or if you don’t plan to step foot in it at all, the total area of the back garden should be factored into your decision.
One of the main features people look for in a home is the bedrooms.
It is hardly surprising given that we often spend upwards of 10 to 12 hours in them every day, sleeping, getting dressed, reading, relaxing and engaging in other bedroom activities.
You will need to work out if the number of bedrooms the property has fits your requirements – especially if you do intend to grow your family.
It is also important to evaluate whether the size of each bedroom is appropriate for your requirements too. For instance, is there enough wardrobe space for all your clothes and shoes? Can you fit a TV or your computer table in there?
While your children might be young presently, you will also have to establish whether their rooms will have enough space for them when they become teenagers.
In addition, it is worth considering the configuration of the rooms. If the parent’s room is on a different floor to that of young children, it might not be an ideal situation.
Other things you might want to consider are how much natural light comes into the room and how much privacy they offer you from the rest of the house.
Real estate professionals are in agreement that the kitchen is the most important room in the house for buyers.
For many people, it is the hub of their home.
As well as being where food is prepared, it is a place where we chat with our family or friends over coffee, celebrate special occasions, do school or company work and even just create memories.
If you love to cook, you will need to establish whether the current appliances are something you can work with. Alternatively, should you want or need to bring in your own, it is important to determine whether there is enough space to do so.
Benchtop space is imperative too, not just for food preparation, but also as a place to provide easy access to your microwave, air fryer or electric frying pan.
It is worth checking out the amount of storage there is available and the size of the table the kitchen can accommodate.
- Bathrooms and toilets
Like the kitchen, bathrooms and toilets are important too, so they must work for you both, on a literal and metaphorical level.
Be sure to check the water flow of the shower and toilet and check for any leaks, signs of mould and other plumbing issues.
Aside from that, it is worth determining how many bathrooms you require and whether you need bathtubs, showers, or both as a combo.
If an ensuite bathroom in the main bedroom is a must-have, you will need to factor in the cost of renovations to add this to your home in the future.
- Living Room
When not in their bedroom or kitchen, the living room is where people spend quite a bit of time.
You will need to ensure that the living room in your first home has enough room to accommodate your furniture. This includes your TV, sofas, armchairs, and any display cabinets you might have.
It also needs to incorporate any artwork and decorative pieces you want to exhibit and needs to be big enough to accompany your family and a decent number of guests.
The layout is a crucial thing to consider too. As you will need to decide where your furniture will go and how much space you will have to walk around.
Be aware also of whether it is carpeted, has curtains, or blinds and just feels cosy and comfortable. It is, after all, a space where you should be relaxing.
- Heating and air-conditioning
Depending on where the house you view is located, it could be in an area renowned for hot summers or cold winters.
Subsequently, it is worth checking whether the property has existing heating and air conditioning systems.
If it does, you will need to make a judgement on how effective and energy efficient they are. Should it not, then work out what costs are involved in installing them and factor it into the price of any offer you make. To learn more cost effective heating and cooling systems visit your local HVAC expert.
For many Australians having access to a garage is critical. Not only does it provide them with a place to park their cars. But they can also use it as a workshop and for storage of items like power tools and a lawnmower.
If the property you are looking at comes with a garage, take the time to see if the space is big enough for your needs. For instance, those with multiple cars might want a double or even triple garage.
You will also want to determine if the garage doors are electronically or manually operated too and how long the driveway is.
- Attic or basement
Not all properties will have an attic or basement, but if the one you are viewing does, you will need to properly check them out.
Be sure to verify if either is finished or needs remodelling and establish how best the space can be utilised.
Could they, for example, be converted into a games or media room? Or even a creative art or music space?
Doing this could add significant value to your home and provide you with a bigger living space. Just make sure the lighting and ventilation are good though.