How to find your ‘forever home’

By Michelle McKinnon

Most of us can’t afford our ideal home first up. But taking a long-term view might give you what you’re looking for.

PBC Expo spoke with Aussie Home Loans to hear of their tips on finding your ‘forever home’.

Buying, selling and buying property again can be stressful and expensive. First there is stamp duty, which ranges between $19,277 in Queensland and $38,547 in Victoria for a $700,000 property.

Then there is the cost of moving, buying new things and reconnecting utilities, not to mention all the time spent getting organised to move.

It’s hard not to become emotionally attached to a property. It’s where memories are made and it can be a stable, grounding force for children. There are also benefits in staying in one house for a long time, such as making lasting connections in your community.

So how do you know if a house has the potential to be your “forever home”?

To qualify, a property has to be somewhere you can see yourself living in 20 or 30 years’ time. This can be tricky because with prices at record highs in some areas, few people can afford their ideal home in their preferred neighbourhood the first time around. Instead, many of us assume we will buy a “starter home” before using capital growth accrued over a series of purchases or our home’s equity to upgrade to our dream home.

But it is possible to take a long-term view when buying your first home and avoid a series of costly and possibly unnecessary moves. If you are a younger buyer who plans to have children, you should consider whether a house can expand to meet the needs of a growing family. Is there potential to add an extra level or a loft extension?

You should also consider how the property would adapt to different life stages. For example, it may be practical for young children to share a bedroom but teens value privacy and are likely to want their own rooms. Before committing to a neighbourhood, make sure there are good, affordable schools in the area.

If you plan to live in the property long enough to retire there, think about how you will use the extra space once any children have left and whether the house will work when you are less mobile. Stairs or bathrooms on different levels to the bedrooms, for example, may be problematic when you are older.

Obviously, finding a property that you buy now is unlikely to meet all your needs for your entire life but if you want to buy a “forever home” – or at least a long-term home – adaptability is the key.

Note: The views and advice expressed on this blog post are those of the author and are not representative of the Pregnancy Babies & Children's Expo.

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