5 things I wish I knew before buying my first home
House buying tips are rarely original, however sometimes it’s nice to know when those tips should have been higher on the priority list. The little things can seem trivial when making such a huge life decision but that doesn’t mean they should be forgotten.
Here are 5 tips that I definitely wish I gave more though to before I purchased my first home.
1. Not only research your area, but spend some time in it. A suburb may look great on paper, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right place for you. My suburb ticked all the right boxes, median house prices, proximity to the city, development and appreciation, however there are plenty of things about it that I don’t like. Whilst my suburb is nice enough, it’s tiny and the neighbouring suburbs are quite run down which makes my area look worse than it is. There are no local shops or cafes within walking distance, and as it turns out living in a one car family means a supermarket within walking distance is pretty important. One thing I have learnt about myself since buying my first home is that I really like being able to walk to a coffee shop on the weekends, this may sound minor but it will be on my must have list next time.
2. Local flora and fauna. There may be certain environmental impacts that surrounding trees can have on your property. There is a giant itchy bomb tree in a neighbouring garden that leaves small cacti like spikes all over my outdoor setting and back yard. This kind of issue can have an impact on everyday life like when hanging out the washing, not wearing shoes, spending time outside or if you have pets. Those big trees can also serve as home to a large number of birds that can lay nests in your guttering and create a few more pesky chores during the spring.
3. Gas is important – my hot water system is terrible and expensive to run. I thought gas was a nice to have – it’s now a must have. Even if you don’t have a preference, be sure to turn the shower and bath on and make sure the pressure is decent. It’s also helpful to do some googling on the hot water systems so you know how old it is, and the general consensus on if you will have any issues with it.
4. Air conditioners can be noisy. Make sure you road test it before you purchase. It’s nice to be able to factor in the cost of replacing a reverse cycle before making an offer, rather than after the first night of deafening racket.
5. If you’re particular with your taste, you are likely to do a little DIY on the house, or you know you will repaint and replace the flooring – buy a cheaper house. There’s something that feels wasteful about painting over a brand new cream paint job with a brand new white paint job. If you know you will be refacing, focus on structure, layout and location, you’ll likely save money and could end up with a house that has more potential. You might even paint over the 1960’s green kitchen a little sooner too.
Nothing is ever going to be perfect however that doesn’t mean that you can’t have your to-do list ready and yours costs estimated before making an offer.
– Jes O’Reilly