If you could buy your first home anywhere in the world, where would it be? For one first time home buyer tI know, that would be Sydney, Australia (sorry Nova Scotia!!).
I don’t live in Sydney, nor have I ever visited it, though I hear it is renowned in the world for its magnificent beaches, iconic landmarks and vibrant nightlife. It is also famous for the exorbitant cost of it’s housing market. In fact compared to notoriously expensive cities such as New York and London, Sydney has the dubious honour of taking out second place for the most expensive city in the world.
So if you’re a billionaire, it’s the spot to be in! But that’s not the most of us….
Sydney First Time Home Buyer Advantages
The positive view is that the lifestyle, space and proportions of what you get for your money are often streets ahead when compared to other major capitals around the world. In fact Sydney is currently placed around fifth for quality of life compared to other global cities. At least there are amplified benefits to being there and paying into the high life.
For those first time buyer despairing of ever being able to save up enough to own their piece of Sydney, all is not lost.
Believe it or not, home and land packages are a viable, affordable entry into the property market offering luxury, space and community living. Built around areas with strong infrastructure they offer families and down-sizers the best of all worlds: affordable living combined with modern housing plus space to grow and enjoy life.
Buyers have always been dictated to by price. The closer to the city, the higher the price tag. Recently, however, many buyers are favouring regional areas as their first choice. More flexibility in working conditions thanks to remote offices, heightened connectivity and communications have freed those formerly tied to long commutes. The payoff is larger lot sizes, an improved housing quality, and in many instances a better quality of life.
Look for solid infrastructure or talk of new infrastructure along with amenities such as schools, medical facilities and public transport.
Auction or Private Treaty
The decision whether to buy at auction or privately through negotiation is dictated to by the market. A hot sellers market means auction prices can quickly derail your dreams and become quite disheartening. This is where the beauty of the fixed price of a house and land package comes to the fore.
Unless you are devoted to the idea of a renovation, think twice. Many ‘fixer uppers’ which seem like a bargain are selling for far more than they are worth. You might be tempted to renovate the kitchen to model it as you like, or set new bathroom flooring. It is advisable to crunch the numbers including council permits, labour costs, contingencies for the unexpected and so forth. That said, I do recommend investing in a cctv camera, this will mean you’re never worried and can always see what’s going on outside your house!
Depending on the finishes and scope of works, you can expect to pay around $3,000 – $4,000 per square metre for inner city and inner suburban properties which will always demand a premium from tradesmen.
If you are adamant at rolling up your sleeves and doing the renos, here are some interesting stats about renovation trends that rose from House Method’s survey based on the 10 most popular HGTV and DIY Network shows to reveal the top styles, most popular colours, and must-have furniture accents used by television’s design stars.
- Number of white walls on TV design shows jumped 75% in the last 5 years.
- Contemporary is the most popular design style with white being the most popular wall colour followed by modern at 16%, and transitional at 12%.
- Least popular styles for TV designers are coastal (5%), shabby chic (4%), and western (3%).
- Grey is the top accent wall colour (71%) followed by muted colours at 69% & cerused wood at 47%.
- Country is the No. 1 design trend for kitchens.
You can view the full report here.
A buyers advocate is a licensed professional who is working for you to get you the best property for your money. They will do all the legwork from research, refining and inspecting a property to the final negotiations. They can access the ‘hidden’ market through established relationships with agents.
Seek positive, genuine testimonials to identify the best advocate for your preferred location.
In this age of DIY, it’s a case of buyer beware when buying property. Papering over the cracks has never been more literal. Make sure that you do your due diligence with building and pest inspections.
Agents will always show properties at the most flattering time of the day. To discover traffic noise, flight paths, congestion and parking issues around local schools, spend some time in the neighbourhood. Drive around in the evenings and get a feel for the place. Notice things like graffiti and household litter on the street.
What permits from neighbours are in the works? Could they build out your view? A few quick phone calls to the local council or some online research could save you years of heartache and resale bust.
When it comes to termites, Sydney is the second most infested state in Australia. This just reinforces the necessity to get pest and building inspections carried out to ensure the structure of the property has not been undermined by invisible invaders.
Understanding your borrowing power and getting approvals in place at the outset can save a great deal of disappointment. Buying at auction demands that you have your finance ready to go. Buying privately with a lenders approval gives you the freedom to negotiate a better price.
The Gist of it
Sydney is one of the world’s most liveable and beautiful cities. If you are considering sliding your first tentative foot onto the property ladder, take your time. Do your research and before you know it, you could be turning the key on your very own piece of Australia.
What are some of the tips you would recommend for a first time home buyer?
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