Buying your first home is one of life’s milestones.
Those who build new have an extra layer of satisfaction because they get a say in how the home will look without having to renovate.
As with any first step, things might feel a little daunting initially, said Stockland, Mike Davis. But knowing what was required would help pave the way.
“Building your first home is a dream come true, but it is important to keep your eyes open and stay informed to ensure the process is a smooth one,” Mr Davis said.
Here, the Stockland chief shares his top tips for first-home buyers building new.
Get your finances in order
As a first-time buyer, you might be eligible for a first-home owner’s grant and various concessions.
Mr Davis recommended finding out what you qualified for and getting your finance sorted before you started looking to avoid the disappointment of falling in love with something you couldn’t afford.
“Have a budget, check the prices, work out how much you will need for a deposit and get your finance pre-approved,” Mr Davis said.
He recommended seeking expert financial advice when structuring your budget.
“Knowing what you can afford now and into the future can be tricky, especially as outgoings are likely to increase if your family grows,” he said.
He also recommended seeking expert legal advice before signing the two contracts (one for the house and one for the land).
“It’s also important to ask your builder if they handle all the steps of the building process, including whether they will lodge your design application with the developer and take care of council approvals,” Mr Davis said.
Shortlist your must-haves
Research should be your best friend before you make any decisions.
“Create a top must-haves list to narrow down features you need and those you can live without if your budget doesn’t permit,” Mr Davis said.
And, he added, really think about your lifestyle. Maybe you will need a guest bedroom, or larger living areas because you like to entertain.
You will also need to consider where you want to live and what sort of community is the right fit.
“Think about your lifestyle and aspirations, the closeness of your block to parks, shops, employment and other services, as well as transport connections,” Mr Davis said.
Be prepared to wait
Once you have selected the community and chosen your block, you won’t necessarily be able to build straight away, Mr Davis explained.
In some cases, buyers might have to wait until land has been titled by Victorian Land Registry Services, which could take 90 days to 18 months.
“You will only need to pay a deposit on the land on signing the contract, with the balance not payable until settlement on the block,” Mr Davis said. Settlement usually took place about 14 days after being notified the block had titled, he added.
Be sure to ask the builder how long it will take to complete the house and what factors might cause delays, such as wet weather and soil testing.
Mr Davis said having a realistic time frame written into the contract and an understanding of how potential delays would be managed would give you some peace of mind and an ability to plan your life around the construction.
Decide on a design
Visit as many display homes as possible to get a feel for what living in the house would be like, Mr Davis recommended.
“There’s nothing like stepping into a display home for an up-close-and-personal glimpse of the fittings, finishes and layouts and to understand room dimensions,” he said.
“Many display homes are built with the higher-end options, when there are levels of finishes available, so always ask to see an ‘as displayed’ price list to know exactly what you’re getting.”
Decide whether you want a single or double-storey design and how many bedrooms and living areas are needed.
“Also consider the orientation of the house and the position of the sun at different times of the day,” Mr Davis said.
And don’t forget to futureproof your home. “Adding energy-saving initiatives such as solar panels could help with keeping energy costs down in the long-term and make your house more sustainable,” Mr Davis said.
Article, Mike Davies, Stockland | RealEstate.com
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