Realistically, in a tough and competitive market compromise is always going to be a factor in play. But having set your sights on buying a house or apartment you should keep your sights high and try and avoid settling for second best.
Buying a house is firmly in the ‘big picture’ category and you should keep your eye on that big picture. The potential resale value of the property is an essential consideration.
There are several factors listed here that house-hunters should never compromise on.
It’s just about the one feature that can never be changed. So if it’s under a flight path, within rattling distance of a train line, under a freeway or near an emergency services depot, it’s likely to whittle down the pool of future buyers or tenants.
According to experts buyers should avoid noisy main roads or being too close to commercial buildings or schools when buying a house. Melbourne’s population is heading in one direction only and that’s up. Development and road traffic is building up with it. You don’t want that madly growing traffic congestion swelling up on your doorstep.
Flood prone zones are rare in Melbourne but homes in those locations can rapidly convert from dream home to one that’s badly water damaged. So avoid them. Petrol stations are not great to live near. They attract 24/7 traffic and noise.
The old advice about not buying the best house in the street is a bit of a cliche. There’s no problem as long as the other owners are house-proud. But its not good when those other houses are unkempt. Or with unruly tenants and visitors. Neglectful owners who let gardens suffer or perish in summer are bad for the street. People with lawns and nature strips but who apparently don’t have a lawn mower just drag your street down to their level. And if its an inner-urban location, you should avoid living near the neighbourhood drug dealer.
Sometimes its hard to judge who’s who in a neighbourhood you don’t know. But the signs are often there. Bins left out in the street days after pick up time. Litter. Graffiti and tags building up, without being removed, which then invites a bigger graffiti break out. It’s best not to buy into that when you’re buying a house.
Properties with significant building issues like subsidence, replumbing, or presence of asbestos should be given a wide berth. The cost of fixing these problems can outweigh the ‘bargain’ element of the deal. The repair or make-good bills can blow out. The detected presence of termites might bring about some downward price negotiations, but if it means buying a house with that sort of problem it’s simpler to walk away.
Topographic layout and light
Some buyers hoping to find a property that ticks every box will only consider a buying a house with north-to-rear aspect but only one quarter of properties have this feature. Although this is the optimum aspect for a Melbourne property it’s a bit unrealistic to narrow options down that much. Of course, there are a multitude of properties in Melbourne with a range compass orientations, that are still highly attractive.
Certainly, any agent will tell you a particular property for sale is on ‘the right side of the street’ or the ‘right side’ of an apartment building based on aspect and sunlight. These positions certainly are a better investment and will attract a premium. But it is very important to be sure your potential property is light and bright inside and has a plentiful supply of direct sunlight inside and out at various times of the day. It enlivens a home and contributes important warmth in Autumn, Winter and Spring.
Little natural light, or poor ventilation are things to avoid when buying a house.
Try and avoid being tempted to exceed your carefully planned budget. The fear of missing out (FOMO) syndrome is tough to contain, but it must be done or you could end up over your head. Particularly with the possibility of gradually rising interest rates always somewhere over the horizon.
When planning your budget for buying a house it’s a good strategy to exaggerate the loan repayments, include a provision for annual maintenance, and put aside a contingency amount for unexpected occurrences. If it’s an investment property then also underestimate the rental income. With this cautious budgeting you are less likely to experience difficulty later and of course – you’ll sleep better at night!
A poor floor plan can’t be altered without a lot of expense. And in some apartments or units, changes may be impossible because of structural walls or regulations.
Changing a home’s layout can be difficult, costly or sometimes just not allowed, so unless you are a builder or married to one, then it’s better to choose a setup you are happy with right from the start!
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