What Do I Want In A House?

Your starting your journey to home ownership! Now lets get serious about house buying... As a minimum you have a price range you are looking in, but what other criteria do you have?

Making a House Buying List
What do you want? Some suggestions...
I can't afford the house I want

Making a 'House Buying' list

Let's get down to the basics, what do you want? You may have a long wish list but you need to establish what is not negotiable and stick to it. So start making some lists:

  • The 'not negotiable' list:
    A list containing no more than 6 things. Don't even bother going to see houses if they don't tick all of these boxes.
  • The 'would like to have' list:
    If you buy a house with 80% of the things on this list you are doing well.
  • The 'wish' list:
    Achieving anything at all on this list would be a bonus.

The 'not negotiable' list is the most important. It will help you narrow your search down quickly and if a house doesn't match your criteria, don't waste any time looking at it.

Buying a house is an emotional decision and a list will remind you what your focus should be. You do not want to end up falling in love with a 'charming two bedroom shack up a goat track' if you really want a 'four bedroom family house with an internal access garage'.

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What do you want? Some suggestions...

A house buying checklist is a good place to start when you are thinking about what you want. Here at Propertytoolbox we have put together a checklist that covers off all the main aspects of a house and grounds that you may want to consider when you are thinking about your new home. This list can then be used to keep track of how closely houses you visit meet your criteria when you start looking. If you just want to stick to the basics, here are some good starting points to help you create a 'not negotiable' list:

  • Number of bedrooms.
  • Location.
  • Type of garaging and/or carparking.
  • Ease of access - walk up, drive on, etc.
  • Amount of work needed - renovations, outstanding maintenance.

Then, depending on your situation, style and temperament, you may want to include:

  • School zoning
  • Number of bathrooms
  • Child friendliness - fencing, section
  • Privacy & noise
  • Public transport
  • Ongoing maintenance - brick versus wood, new versus old
  • House style & character

Now you have your 'not negotiable' list sorted, everything else is really a 'would like to have' and is more to do with the feeling you get when you are at the house. If you know the 'not negotiable' list is sorted when you visit a house you can relax and let those house buying emotions take over.

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I can't afford the house I want

A house with all the characteristics on your 'not negotiable' list may not seem to exist in your price range. In this case you have a few options, you can:

  • Look hard at your 'not negotiable' list; you may need to compromise on one or more things if you are determined to buy a house.
  • Keep looking, the house may not exist right now, but that doesn't mean that it won't next week or next year.
  • The listing price isn't always the sales price; check what houses are actually selling for to get an idea of house prices.
  • Think about a 'Doer Upper' - a house that needs work should cost less to buy. You may still need to spend the same amount of money in total buying it and doing it up, but this can be done over time.
  • Wait and save hard - if you have the income to support it, every $1,000 you save can borrow you another $4,000.
  • Rent - perhaps you are better off renting to get the house you want?
  • Consider other methods of getting the house you want. Like getting a guarantor, co-buying, or using government house buying schemes.

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