Canberra’s most affordable suburbs

As Australia’s third most expensive capital city to buy a house, it’s important to keep in mind which suburbs are the most affordable when searching for your new home in Canberra.

The capital city is becoming more urbanised, and has a stronger economy with a high employment rate. In addition, the city’s affordability compared to Sydney and Melbourne makes Canberra a strong competitor in the Australian housing market. All of these factors have resulted in the higher median house prices.

During autumn this year, the median house price reached $733,786, a significant increase from the $705,059 a few months ago. It’s also expected increase to $770,000 by 2020, according to Domain Group. If these numbers sound alarming to you, take a look at the median prices for these suburbs.

The Cheapest Places to Live in North Canberra

North Canberra hosts the majority of the most affordable houses, which is why many first homebuyers are choosing to invest in this side of town. Here are the median prices of five noteworthy suburbs:

Belconnen: $423,500

Belconnen plays host to a diverse population of students, families and professionals and surrounds the bottom three quarters of Lake Ginninderra. Host to parks, a shopping district, a number of excellent restaurants, and also The Basement for those of you who love seeing live music on the regular. There is plenty to do right at the doorstep of the homes of Belconnen residents. 

Charnwood: $455,000

Charnwood sits north west of the hustle and bustle of Bruce and Belconnen but is fast becoming a sought-after location for a first home among the population of young professionals looking to set down roots. Having gone through a transformation through the last few years, we are confident in our view that this is one of Canberra’s most underrated and affordable suburbs.

Macgregor: $463,500

Macgregor is one of the quieter suburbs in the northern parts of Canberra. But the locals will tell you that that is a good thing. Surrounded by parkland and featuring a golf course, Macgregor residents are only a short drive away from major retailers and supermarkets.

Holt: $473,500

Holt is a balance of built up and quiet. With restaurants, schools, churches and places to do your shopping in the eastern section, and a golf course taking up a large section of the west, there is a bit of both worlds in the suburb named after Australia’s late Prime Minister.

Ngunnawal: $475,000

Named in tribute to the Ngunnawal people, and you will see plenty of references around the area to the people who inhabited this part of the world thousands of years prior to European settlement. This area is great and highly affordable for young families, with plenty of day care options and facilities. 

These suburbs are all generally close to the city: about 15 minutes by car, which is great for those commuting to work in that area. These suburbs are close to shopping malls including the Canberra Centre and Westfield Belconnen, which are the hub of Canberra’s best restaurants, shops and nightlife. It’s also great for those attending the Australian National University and the University of Canberra, because it’s no more than a 10-15 minute drive.

Other suburbs to consider include: Higgins (540,000) and Jacka ($460,500), a little further afield.

The Cheapest Housing in South Canberra

Buyers who want to be closer to the snow, or generally have a preference for living in the south side of Canberra will find it harder to find affordable housing compared to north side. That’s not to say that the median house prices in these suburbs are significantly lower than the state’s overall median house prices. Consider these top five suburbs you could be living in:

Banks: $480,000,

At $480,000, the median house price in Banks is one of the most affordable in this section of Canberra, and this southernmost suburb is still only a 25-minute drive from the CBD. For those looking for a home in the city with quick access to Namadgi National Park and surrounds, this is a great place for young families to raise their children.

Richardson: $501,000

Richardson is another southern suburb that has seen a great deal of growth in recent years. The relatively inexpensive median house price has attracted a population of young families that has seen the area come to life. Fun fact: each of the streets in Richardson is named after a writer, with a particular emphasis on female writers. Richardson itself being the end of the nom de plume Henry Handel Richardson, the name under which Ethel Florence Lindesay Richardson.

Isabella Plains: $507,500

A beautiful suburb tucked in just next to Richardson is Isabella Plains. Around 17km south-west of the CBD, this picturesque suburb has everything you could need, without feeling crowded. The locals might not all be over the moon about the parking situation you might find in the post-school rush, but we wouldn’t let that stop us when looking at this highly affordable and beautiful part of Canberra.

Chisholm $515,000

Chisholm shares a border with the neighbouring Gilmore, and the parkland that runs along that border is a popular place for those looking to get some exercise outdoors or walk their dogs. The suburb itself is full of sporting facilities, parklands and boasts excellent views of the Brindabella Mountains. 

Theodore: $520,500

Just a touch further south is Theodore, a quieter suburb 19km from the CBD and perfect for those looking for a bit of space. There is not a great deal of shopping options to choose from in Theodore itself, but the surrounding areas have plenty to offer only a short drive from home.

Residents in south Canberra can take advantage of the close proximity to nature parks and reserves, including Wanniassa Nature Reserve and Big Monks Mountain. Moreover, these suburbs are suitable for couples raising a young family. In 2013, south Canberra was recorded to have the highest quality of life. This was base on factors including: levels of safety and security, the quality of the environment, young people in full-time work or education, air quality, job availability and Internet access.

Other suburbs to consider include: Gilmore ($525,000) and Kambah ($540,000).

 Affordable Housing in Canberra’s Surrounds

If you have a tighter budget and don’t mind the commute with more peace and quiet, these suburbs could be ideal for you to call home.

Yass: $386,500

Yass is a growing community situated north of Canberra and the Australian Capital Territory. For those comfortable with a slightly longer commute, the 45-minute drive to the Canberra CBD is a trade well worth it for new and growing families. 

Queanbeyan: $498,000

While not technically part of Canberra, or even part of the Australian Capital Territory, you would be hard pressed to find anyone in Canberra that wouldn’t say that Queanbeyan wasn’t ‘practically a part of Canberra’. Nevertheless, Queanbeyan is a city unto itself, and has all the things you would expect to find in a regional hub. While there are some odd disconnects in public services and transport that you might have to negotiate if you’re looking to work in Canberra, Queanbeyan is a brilliant choice for those looking to find an affordable home for themselves just a short distance from Canberra.

Karabar: $485,000

Karabar neighbours Queanbeyan and an excellent opportunity to stay in close to the city, while not having to struggle to find space when you want. With ready access to all the conveniences of Queanbeyan and only a short drive to Canberra itself, this suburb is full of opportunities to grow and live.

Karabar sits next to Queanbeyan and is a great

Please note: prices are subject to fluctuation.

Tips For Buying Off-The-Plan

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When buying a new home there are a tonne of options to consider. One option that should be at the forefront of your decision making is buying off-the-plan.

Off-the-plan refers to purchasing a property before it is constructed. Most of the time this means you will be buying a property while it is just a hole in the ground, and while it may seem crazy to buy something that has not been built yet, there are many benefits to purchasing an off-the-plan property:

The Benefits

  • One of the biggest benefits of buying off-the-plan is having the ability to customise the finishes and fittings in the home to suit your personal needs.
  • Since stamp duty is calculated based on the value of the land and the building, you will essentially only have to pay based on the value of the land, because there is no building yet!
  • In terms of an investment property, the depreciation tax savings are greater for an off-the-plan property, as the newer the building is, the greater the savings are.
  • You have the ability to lock in the price that you will pay, which is financially beneficial as there is a good chance the property will increase significantly in value by the time of completion.
  • The extra time you have while you wait for your new house to be built will allow you ample time to sell your existing home.
  • If you are a first home buyer, you will be able to benefit from the First Home Owners Grant, as well as stamp duty exemptions.
  • Newly built properties in Australia come with a 7 year builder’s guarantee, which means any faults must be repaired by the builder.

The Risks

  • There is always a risk that you will not get what you have already paid for. That is why it is important to have a comprehensive contract detailing all features, fixtures, fittings and time frames to ensure you have a leg to stand on when expectations are not met.
  • Since there is no way to see your apartment before purchasing it, there is a chance that you simply might not like it. Once completed it may look different to your expectations and it will be too late to change anything.
  • If your circumstances change during the build and you are no longer able to buy, it is important to act quickly and ensure you find another buyer to purchase from you at settlement.
  • A risk of having a locked in price is the uncertainty of the property market. Your property may suddenly lose value but you will still be paying the agreed price for it.

Things To Do

  • Make sure that it is definitely the property you want. This includes the size, suburb, orientation, and whether it is on a level you want to be on.
  • Visit the property site regularly and check if there are any other constructions occurring that may obstruct your view.
  • Carefully inspect the display home, including fixtures, fittings and finishes.
  • Research the market conditions and get advice from professionals on the right time to buy.
  • Research the developer. Do not be afraid to ask detailed questions and inspect other projects completed by them in the past. You may even want to talk with a past client to gauge satisfaction.
  • Have a legal professional look over all contracts and translate key points to you in laymen’s terms.
  • Make sure you have a lender that has agreed to financing. A lot of lenders are reluctant to finance off-the-plan properties given their high risk and the chance that the lendee will sell the property for a high price straight away, meaning the lender will lose interest.
  • Check that your deposit is going into a trust account, and do not let that money be released to a personal name to help build the project. This is a sure fire way to lose a lot of money very quickly.

Essentially, when buying off-the-plan, make sure you do the appropriate research to make sure it is the right option for you!

References

Emily Blatchford, Huffington Post, Buying A House Off The Plan: The Things You Need To Know, http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2016/02/18/buying-off-the-plan-australia_n_9269506.html, Accessed April 7th, 2017.

Oz Property Law, Buying Property Off-the-plan, http://ozpropertylaw.com/buying-property-off-the-plan/?gclid=CKqb2qX4kNMCFUcKKgodLqkF-g , Accessed April 7th, 2017.

Real Estate View, Things to Consider when Buying Off-the-plan, https://advice.realestateview.com.au/buying/things-to-consider-when-buying-off-the-plan/, Accessed April 7th, 2017.

Tim McIntyre, Your Investment Property, The Trick to Buying off the Plan, http://www.yourinvestmentpropertymag.com.au/buying-property/the-trick-to-buying-off-the-plan-148257.aspx, Accessed April 7th, 2017.

A Beginner’s Guide to Positive and Negative Gearing

If you’ve considered investing in the property market, there is a chance that you may have been baffled by the complexities of “positive” and “negative” gearing schemes.

However, determining whether your property will be positively geared or negatively geared is an important step in the investment process. For a better understanding of the benefits and potential drawbacks of these schemes, we have compared the two strategies below:

Positive Gearing

Opting for a positive gearing strategy is generally considered the safer and more conservative option. Positive gearing occurs when the rental income on your investment property exceeds the cost of maintaining it. This includes the cost of mortgage repayments, interest rates and maintenance fees. Positive gearing schemes are sometimes more favourable, as the extra cash-flow results in an immediate short-term profit.

Benefits

  • Immediate short-term profit – Investors will immediately gain an additional stream of income.
  • Low risk – If circumstances change and the investor loses their income, they will not be under pressure to pay the costs associated with multiple mortgages.

Drawbacks

  • The additional funds are taxable – As with your regular income, any funds obtained on a positively geared property are subject to income tax.
  • Less long-term gains – While you are immediately rewarded with additional income, it lacks the long-term payoff of a negatively geared property.
  • It is circumstantial – Due to a range of circumstances, a positively geared property can quickly become negatively geared. For example, if you are forced to reduce the rental income, you may have to cover the extra costs personally.

Negative Gearing

Negative gearing occurs when the rental income is less than the costs of maintaining the home. As the property is running at a loss, investors need to use their own funds to make up the difference. The benefit of a negatively geared investment is that the value of the home is likely to grow in time. It is expected that the increased profit from selling the property will outweigh the initial financial losses. Further, thanks to the available tax deductions, negative gearing can be a helpful strategy for offsetting the costs of acquiring an investment property. Negatively geared homes are likely to be in more populated areas like capital cities, where there are fewer factors that can affect their value.

Benefits

  • Greater long-term profit – Over time, the value of the property can be increased to the point where it exceeds the cost of maintaining it.
  • Tax deductible – A negatively geared home allows you to claim tax deductions related to any expenses you incur, so you can reduce the shortfall in rent and ultimately reduce your taxable income.

Drawbacks

  • Higher risk – If your circumstances change, or an investor loses their source of income, they are still required to cover the additional rent.
  • Housing markets – Investors will need to be careful that the property does not lose value over time. They will also need to ensure that the property is sold at a time where the housing market is strong.
  • You will need to budget – The ongoing costs associated with a long-term investment will add up. You may also need to consider you will be taxed on capital gains accrued when the property is sold.

Why NOW is the perfect time to build

There are many factors that contribute to making the decision to build a house, but underpinning all other decisions should be your financial security.

If you’ve been paying attention to the news lately, you’ll know that interest rates are now at a record low after the Reserve Bank of Australia cut them earlier this month.

With rates at 1.75 per cent, the banks are beginning to pass along the cuts, meaning there’s never been a better time for you to build, whether it’s your first home or a new home.

Which banks are cutting interest rates?

The big four banks – National Australia Bank (NAB), Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Westpac Banking Corp and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) – have all agreed to cut variable home loan rates. Starting this month, these banks will begin rolling out their all-time low rates, check out when your bank’s cuts will take effect here.

What you’ll save

According to Canstar, the typical homeowner will save $72 a month on a $500,000 loan. This brings the average standard variable home loan rate down to 4.52 per cent. For those taking a $300,000 home loan, the cuts will push the variable home loan rate down to 4.4 per cent, introducing a saving of $44 a month.

Now, these savings may not seem like much, but they definitely allow extra breathing room for the bulk of home buyers who are looking to have a larger mortgage. For those who are first home buyers, these savings mean repayments will be similar to rental payments, meaning you won’t be paying “ridiculously above what (you’re) paying in rent” for your repayments.

Things to consider

There’s a few things to consider before diving in. Although the rates are low now, it’s inevitable the rates will fluctuate. While it is possible rates will continue to drop, they will eventually rise. First home buyers should make sure that they can afford repayments even if the rates were to rise.

If you want to make the most of the all-time low interest rates, now’s the time to start talking to Achieve Homes about securing your new home. Achieve Homes offer a whole range of home designs and house and land packages fit for almost any budget.

Disclaimer:  This information does not constitute financial advice and you should speak to a qualified financial advisor and your bank about your individual financial circumstances before buying a property.

What’s holding your house up?

There’s more to a house than four walls and a roof.

Foundations and footings, structural timbers and steel, and load bearing brickwork are all doing their bit to keep your house up for decades to come. So, how exactly does it all work?

Foundations and Footings

Houses sit upon a foundation which transfers the load of the walls and roof through the footings to the earth. A house without foundations would sink or topple over from the weight of other parts of the structure.

Footings are wider than the foundation so it can spread out the load of the rest of the house. They are sized according to the weight of the house, the type of rock/soil, available drainage and budget. The main types of footings you’ll find holding Australian homes up include, strip footings, concrete pad footings, ground injected piles, and timber piles.

Timber and Steel

A large majority of Australian homes are built using a timber frame due to its versatility and cost effectiveness. Steel is used throughout the construction to reinforce concrete and is sometimes used in place of timber.

Roof trusses are responsible for supporting your roof over your head while also holding your walls together. Timber trusses are light, durable and can span 10 metres or more without the need for reinforcement. Framing distributes the load of the roof towards the foundations and footings, again framing is typically a timber product and acts as the skeleton of the house.

Load bearing brickwork

The brickwork is an extremely important detail of any house. Not only do your walls keep you protected from the elements, but they take on the load of your roof, hold up against wind and a support a second storey if you’re house has two levels.

Structural Maintenance

It’s possible for buildings to move, the main cause being problems with the foundation soil. At Achieve Homes we provide new home owners with structural maintenance information to help you take care of your house. The CSIRO Foundation Maintenance and Footing Performance: A Homeowner’s Guide explains how to maintain your foundations and footings. The documents is designed to help home owners identify the causes of soil-related building movement, and suggests methods of prevention of cracking in buildings. If you regularly monitor and actively prepare your house through methods suggested by the CSIRO it’s possible to save yourself a lot of headache in the future.

If you’re interested in building a new house checkout our house and land packages here or contact us to find out more on how we can help you.

Why Googong? 10 reasons to invest

There’s no doubt that there’s been a lot of buzz around Googong – but how much do you actually know?

We’ve got 10 things you maybe didn’t know that will make you want to find out more!

It’s closer than you think.

If you’ve never been out to Googong before, you might be thinking that it’s ages away from, well, everything. Fear not – Googong township is located just 16 kilometres south-east of Parliament House. That’s a drive that’s about the same distance between the city and Tuggeranong Hyperdome, around 25 minutes. And with the jobs in Queanbeyan continuing to rise, you’ll be thrilled to be this township’s neighbour.

A vision bought to life

Googong consulted with everyone from urban and transport planners to water engineers and sustainability experts. Queanbeyan City Council and NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure are on board and are fully committed to making Googong the best it can possibly be. The smart people over at Googong Township have spent years consulting the public.  Every element from the fun and flashy Club Googong through to the not-so-glamorous sewage system, has been carefully considered and consulted to plan this modern township.

Big township with small town vibes

Googong is set to cover 780 hectares, with the town centre comprising of approximately 40,000m2 of commercial space – about the same size as Manuka. While this is a significant investment in promoting growth in this new township, they haven’t compromised in creating community focused spaces, with 196 hectares dedicated to gardens and open spaces. This means you get all the access to modern facilities without having to forego a relaxing and healthy lifestyle.

It’s accessible.

It’s never been easier to travel between Googong and Canberra or Queanbeyan with considerable improvements being made to the main access roads. With main sections of the Edwin Land Parkway open from 2012, it’s easy to get to Tuggeranong, Woden and Canberra City from your home in Googong.

It’s priced competitively.

Wondering how all this compares to ACT land releases? A standard lot in Googong will cost you $170,000 less than a standard lot at Throsby. After a premium lot? Montgomery Rise in Googong is still $130,00 less than a premium lot at Denman Prospect

It’s super pretty.

Looking out over the picturesque mountain backdrop of the Molonglo Ranges, you’ll forget that the hustle and bustle of the city is only a short drive away! You’ll be able to walk out your new front door and be greeted by wonderful scenery.

Everything’s new!

New road linkages, schools, Club Googong (year round swims for all!), Beltana Park and Rockley Oval for playing and watching sports, playgrounds, community centres, a library, modern connectivity fibres, mobile phone coverage… We could go on, but you should have a look for yourself.

Go green.

Feel great about living in an environment that cares for the environment. Googong is proud of their purpose-built water and sewerage system that delivers recycled water to every home for toilet flushing and garden watering – as well as providing irrigation for parks and open spaces. They’ve built up a network of walking paths to encourage people to get on their feet – good for you, good for the planet! Add an abundance of ecological waterways and pond and habitats for protected native species, you’ll be feeling even better about your new home.

Googong is for everyone.

If you’re interested in living a life that’s relaxing, rewarding and sustainable – congratulations, you meet the criteria for being a homeowner in Googong. Everyone can find the right pace for their life here at Googong – we even have a dog park for your four-legged friends.

It’s going to be THE place to be.

Imagine the bragging rights you’ll score having been among the first to invest in this township that’s projected to house, educate, employ and entertain as many as 18,000 people. If you want to be among the first, check out the house and land packages we have available and contact us today!

Who Chooses A Knock Down Rebuild?

Who chooses a Knock Down Rebuild?

We’ve already established that knock down rebuilds are becoming increasingly popular in Australia, but you may be wondering who chooses to go through the exciting process of demolition and building a dream home when you’ve outgrown your current space?

If any of these sound like you, a knock down rebuild might be perfect option.

The “tricky site” home owners

Perhaps you’ve got a large tree that’s been planted years ago whose roots are now causing havoc on your plumbing, or maybe you’re set up on a sloping block that has to meet specific building guidelines? Knock down rebuilds are a great opportunity to have a home built to your blocks specifications, without having to compromise on constructing a contemporary home with all the features you’re looking for.

The “changing needs” household

No matter if your family is growing, or if your children are “flying the nest”, it might be time to consider what you want your home to look like moving into the future. A new home in a spot that you love can be the perfect change to support your lifestyle and the memories you plan on making there. You may want a contemporary designed home that’s energy efficient, alfresco dining areas for those warm summer eves or bigger living areas for celebrating your families achievements – it really is up to you!

The “renovations seem too risky” decision maker

Renovations are notorious for running over time, over budget and bringing a whole lot of extra stress to your life. Many renovations are priced relying on the “bones” of the house being in great working order – unfortunately, too often, this is just not the case. Remove the risk of hidden costs by starting from scratch and avoid having your budgets blowout. Save money, save time and save yourself a whole lot stress by investing in a knock down rebuild.

The “I know what I like, but I haven’t been able to find it” house

Want loads of storage, after specific features and finishings, or have you gotten as far as having plans drawn up? Instead of spending days, months – even years! – searching high and low for your dream home in Canberra and surrounds, Achieve Homes would love to discuss with you how to bring your vision to life. We’re experienced in building quality homes, designed to your specifications, within an agreed upon time frame and budget.

The “we love our neighbourhood, but not our house” family

Minimising family disruption can be a key factor in choosing to knock down rebuild. Canberra residents are known to be fiercely loyal to their suburbs, and by staying in your neighbourhood, there’s no need to change schools, alter schedules around getting to work or re-establish the family in an unfamiliar neighbourhood. Stay close to family and friends in a location you love and build the house you love to match!

Knockdown and Rebuild Costs in Canberra

Achieve Homes are a group of leading specialists in knock down rebuilds across VIC, NSW and ACT. We take pride in helping our customers build the home they have always wanted, where they want it. We offer a wide range of home and land packages but growingly we are seeing new families take a further step and commit to building their very own homes.

For many, the prospect of knocking down an old structure and freeing the space to create their own dream home is something that offers a remarkable level of freedom. The implicit costs and time investment of building your own home is something that pales in comparison to the 

Knockdown and Rebuild Costs in Melbourne

Melbourne is a ready site for knockdown rebuilds. With slews of properties in up-and-coming areas primed for growth, there are plenty of opportunities open for individuals, investors and families looking to build their very own brand-new home.

Achieve Homes are the award-winning organisation helping families and investors build their very own homes in and around Melbourne and we are excited to see what we can do for our customers in the coming months and years ahead. We have opened a number of display home locations throughout Melbourne that are perfect for those looking to get a better picture for what we can make possible for them.

Make a knock down rebuild easy with the help of Achieve Homes

Achieve Homes are the new home building specialists perfectly equipped to help individuals, investors and families alike plan and build their very own new home. For those who have fallen in love with the area and community that they are already living in, knocking down the home you have lived in gives you the perfect opportunity to build the home you’ve always wanted, exactly where you want it.

Get in contact with us today to find out what we can make possible for you! 

What would you ask the person building your dream home?

Your dream home is easy to imagine but getting those ideas in your head to translate into reality can be difficult.

That’s where architectural services comes in handy.

Krystal is Achieves in-house Project Designer and with more than 10 years of industry experience she knows a thing or two about making your dream home become a reality. She answered some questions we had for her about custom builds.

What are three things every person should consider when engaging an architect to custom build their home?

  1. Their needs and wants
  2. Their lifestyle
  3. The adaptability of the home as the family grows and changes over time

Why do you think custom builders are so popular?

Achieve Homes offer the complete package in a timely and efficient manner. We have the knowledge and resources to exceed the expectations of clients and we can delivery on budget with no hidden cost.

Who chooses to do a custom build?

Anyone can, I think there is a lot of people that believe it is unaffordable which is not the case. If you know what you want then why not try and achieve that.

What are the steps involved in a custom build?

Come to us with a brief of what you need and want in a house, ideas of how you would like it to look, block details if you have one – we can also do custom builds on a knockdown rebuild in existing suburbs!

What experience have you had in the industry prior to joining Achieve?

I have had the pleasure to establish a design department within Achieve Homes building company this year. Prior to this new venture I have been in the industry for 10 years working with engineers and well-known local and international architectural firms where I have obtained a great deal of knowledge and experience in the field working on many design winning projects which have taken out HIA (ACT/Southern NSW) custom built home of the year 2016 & MBA 2016 House of the year.

What’s the best part about being an architect?

The satisfaction of helping our clients to achieve their dream home that suits their needs and life style.

What standard features do your homes include? What options and upgrades can I select?

All our project homes come included with two living areas, walk in pantries, walk in robe for the master and for large 4 bedrooms homes an alfresco area for dining outside and an instantaneous gas hot water unit is included into the price. The optional upgrades include façade and material upgrades and optional alfresco areas on the 3 and 4 bedroom homes.

If you’re interested in a custom home or knock down rebuild get in contact with Achieve Homes today.

Buying a new home vs buying an established home

Buying a new home vs buying an established home? This is a question we constantly get asked, the truth is, there are advantages and disadvantages for both!

We’ve pulled together a list of what we love – and less than love – about purchasing an established home and purchasing a brand new home.

An Established Home

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Established homes tend to have an architectural beauty, charm and individuality about them – characteristics that are certainly difficult to find in brand new homes. They also bear a mature garden, which means there’s no need for costly landscaping, fence fitting or time spent nurturing a young, dependent garden.

Older homes are located in older suburbs, where the streets are lined with large, fully grown trees and established nature strips – a site that, in a new home, could take decades to come to fruition. Older homes also have larger blocks, meaning a bigger backyard and more space between your neighbours.

When purchasing a pre-loved home, buyers also tend to have more flexibility in their negotiating power on the price of the home. There’s also a good opportunity for savings/investment. However, if you’re lucky enough to save a bit on money buying an older home, it does beg the question – what do you need to spend money on to update or revote the house? Fixing up older homes can often be very costly. Renovations could range from simply replacing a toilet suite to needing an entire new kitchen. Then there is always the unknown, because you never really know what will need fixing (and the costs associated with it) until you move in.

Plus, there are a range of inspection and residential reports that you should get when buying an established home. These include building inspection reports, pest inspections etc, and range in cost.

A Brand New Home

Googong

There’s nothing like the luxury of moving into a brand new home. No maintenance or renovations are required because everything is brand spanking new; the paint is fresh; the floor is unscathed; and the kitchen and bathrooms are modern are functioning properly. There’s also the comfort of knowing that the products and components of your new home are still under manufacturer’s or builder’s warranty, so if something breaks you can get it fixed quickly and easily. And did we mention that new homes are guaranteed asbestos free?

The orientation of a new home is also likely to be much better compared with an older home. These days, houses are built to maximise sunlight in the right rooms at the right times of day. Not only does this boost the amount of natural light in your home, it also helps to ensure that you use your air conditioner less in summer and your heater less in winter, saving you money in the long run! New homes are also much more energy efficient than old homes. They use current, energy-saving materials, technology and appliances to reduce the impact on both the earth and your pocket.

While new suburbs tend to be in a more remote location, they are also better planned with nearby schools, shops, parks and other community and recreational facilities. Although, as mentioned above, it can take years for these suburbs to develop the natural beauty of an older suburb.

When purchasing a new home, buyers do not usually have much negotiating power on price and have less opportunity to for savings/investment. In saying this, if you’re an investment buyer, a new home can be quite appealing due to the depreciation benefits that can be transferred to tax benefits.

New homes also aren’t entirely complete just because the build has finished. There’s usually landscaping to be done, proper fences to be built and sometimes a driveway to be paved. Due to space restrictions, new homes are also built on smaller blocks, meaning they compensate the backyard to ensure a reasonably sized home. On the plus side, if you shop around, you should be able to find affordable, value-for-money house and land packages in a suburb to suit your needs!

How To Build an Accessible Home

An accessible home is one that not only makes life easier for the mobility impaired, but is also one that’s sustainable.

Owners of homes that are built in an accessible way can live comfortably for decades to come, without the need for expensive modifications in the future. Plus, building a house that is accessible means there’s no restrictions for people that visit your home, and no restrictions if you find yourself with an injury!

If you’re interested in incorporating some accessibility features into your new home, it’s important to consider a few things first:

Driveway:

Adding even just a meter to the driveway and garage will remove the stress of getting in and out of a car, plus it’s so much easier to park! To help give you an idea of size, public disabled carparks are 2400mm wide x 5400mm long with a shared area along one side of the space.

There should be a clear, wide and sealed flat path between the garage and the front door, making sure there is no steep inclines, curbs, or stairs. If you’re planting trees or bushes along front paths make sure there are no hazardous branches that could be problematic in terms of overhead clearance or vision impairment.

Googong

Doors: 

Next, you should ensure that your doors are user friendly. This means building a door that is wide enough for wheelchair access, is not too heavy or difficult to open, and has a handle that’s easy to use. Round door handles may prove difficult to manipulate, so it’s best to choose a D-Shaped handle.

The door width for adequate wheelchair access is a minimum of 813mm and should open away from the body (in towards the house). This is slightly wider than the standard front door, but there are many available on the market. Large entry doors are very on trend and add a feeling of grandeur and opulence, which also provides a great first impression for visitors and bypasses!

Lawson

Bathrooms and Toilets:

People with impairments use amenities differently to most and may take a little longer to use them. Adding an extra bathroom to your home will ensure there’s ample facilities for everyone to use. Also, having the toilet separate to the rest of the bathroom means the toilet can still be used while someone is in the shower.

Flooring and drainage is crucial to safety, ensuring that everyone who uses the bathroom will have a reduced risk of slipping over. A non-slip floor will also assist this, as will providing a uniform flat surface between the shower and the rest of the bathroom.

Taps and fittings in an accessible bathroom need to be within an arm’s reach and easy to manipulate. You should also leave underneath the sink empty so that wheelchairs can get up close the vanity.

Grab rail supports are necessary for providing stability around the bathroom. They help the mobility impaired get on and off the toilet, as well as into showers and bathtubs. Other options include walk-in baths, electric toilets and even remote controlled showers (who wouldn’t want one of those?).

Grab rail supports

Living Areas:

While carpet is a popular choice, it’s hard to roll wheels over. Opt for tiled or timber flooring instead! Not only is it easier for those in a wheelchair, it’s also modern and clean. Just remember that a high-gloss tile can sometimes mean a high-slip tile, which is bad news for people with crutches or canes.

Floor space in living areas is paramount for manoeuvrability. If any of your furniture is going to be built in, make sure there is still room for people with varying degrees of mobility. Move loose furniture to the outside walls and remove coffee tables in favour of side tables to provide plenty of space to get around without added obstacles.

In terms of window furnishing, long curtains that puddle on the floor can be tripping hazards and can get caught up in wheels. Blinds with cords may also be difficult to reach, so a great option is custom fitted shutters. They’re easy to use and you certainly won’t need to compromise on style.

Lawson

The Kitchen:

Just like the main doors in your house, the handles you choose for your drawers and cupboards in your kitchen should be easy to use, with round handles to be avoided. Just like with the bathroom, keep underneath the sink empty to provide space for wheelchairs to get up close. Replacing under bench storage with drawers also makes access to stored items much easier, and likewise takes the struggle out of getting to the items at the back. Having lowered sections of benchtops are perfect for wheelchair users to use as prep areas. The standard bench height is 900mm but reducing it as little as 50mm makes all the difference.

Safety and accessibility features are becoming the norm with kitchen appliances. Ovens that open sideways rather than down wards are now available, which enables people to get close without having to lean over a hot door. We’re also seeing staggered stove tops with controls along the front, which eliminate the danger of reaching across hot burners.

Hopefully we’ve covered just about everything you should incorporate into your beautiful new accessible home. Following these tips will ensure your home is one that people from all walks of life can enjoy.

Googong

References:

Able 2 UK, Wheelchair Accessible Living Room Designs, http://www.able2uk.com/disability-news/wheelchair-accessible-living-room-designs, Accessed 24/02/17

Disability Horizons, Disability and independence: creating an accessible bathroom, http://disabilityhorizons.com/2016/03/disability-and-independence-creating-an-accessible-bathroom/, Accessed 24/02/17

Easterseals Crossroads, Top 5 things to consider when designing an accessible kitchen for wheelchair users, http://www.eastersealstech.com/2014/06/04/accessiblekitchendesign/, Accessed 24/02/17

Equal Access Australia, Accessible (Disabled) Car Parking Requirements, https://www.disabilityaccessconsultants.com.au/accessible-disabled-car-parking-requirements/, Accessed 24/02/17

Handle House, https://handlehouse.com.au/product/l11-mackay-door-handles/, Accessed 24/02/17

The KingBorough Council, Building an accessible home, http://www.kingborough.tas.gov.au/webdata/resources/files/Building%20in%20Kingborough%2015.02.16.pdf, Accessed 24/02/17

Get The Best Sales Price For Your Home

SOLD

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re looking to build a new home. For some of you, that might even mean having to prepare your current home for sale – a huge task to say the least. So, we spoke to Own It Finance to find out how you can get the best possible price for your property. Here’s what they had to say:

Presenting your home in the best possible manner can have a big influence on the valuation process when selling your home. The same goes for presenting your house to a prospective buyer. If your home looks like it hasn’t been cared for properly, then chances are, you’re not going to get a very good sales price. However, if your home looks like it’s ready for a photoshoot, then you’re likely to get a great price at sale! In fact, there are 3 main price points for any property, which are outlined below:

Heart Price:

  • Your home is picture perfect and ready for the cover of a magazine
  • Your home has everything that the buyers and valuers are looking for
  • Similar competing properties lack the presentation that yours has

Average Price:

  • Your house looks average from the street, and does not stand out from the rest
  • Your gardens are mostly tidy but clearly unloved
  • The interior is untidy and appears ‘lived in’

Fire Sale Price:

  • The gardens are overgrown and show no signs of maintenance
  • There is mess throughout the house and the bathrooms and kitchens have not been cleaned thoroughly
  • The house is dark, dusty and does not smell inviting

With this in mind, we’ve compiled a simple checklist to help you prepare your house for open homes and valuations, to hopefully help you get the highest possible valuation and sales price:

  • Ensure all gardens, exteriors, and outdoor entertaining areas are maintained and presentable. It’s amazing what a freshly mown lawn, some weeding and a few trimmed bushes can do to the look of your home.
  • The front door is a visitors’ first point of contact with your home, so ensure it looks as presentable as possible. Remove any lingering shoes, sweep the floor and don’t forget to refresh your welcome mat.
  • Maximise all natural light. Natural light is known to make people feel happier and will also open up your home. If you have time, clean windows and light fittings, and leave lights on in dark areas of your home.
  • If it’s a very hot day, be sure to turn your air conditioner on, or open doors and windows so that the house feels cool and airy. Alternatively, if it’s a cold day, be sure to turn the heater on or get the fireplace raring so that the house feels warm and cosy.
  • Tidy up! There’s nothing more repelling than a home that’s messy and cluttered. Store all your clutter in cupboard and boxes, ensuring it is out of site. Clear all clutter from the bathroom, put bottles and creams in drawers and only have matching towels and fresh hand soap on display. Keep your kitchen benches as clean as possible with only fresh fruit and maybe a kettle out. It is also crucial that you remove any dirty tea towels or floor mats.
  • Ensure each room is as presentable as possible. Some new bed-linen in the bedrooms and cushions or a throw rug on the couch can help to modernise and freshen up any room.
  • When a valuer enters your home, you want them to feel as welcome as possible. It’s always good to offer them something to drink and eat. You don’t want any “hangry” valuers determining the value of your home.
  • Do your research! Find out the sales prices of similar properties to yours in your area and present the results to valuers and prospective buyers.

Whilst this list doesn’t guarantee a high price for your property, it will certainly help to improve how valuers or prospective buyers perceive the value of your home. As you can see, you don’t need to spend a lot of money to increase your house’s price. The most basic improvements usually have the highest return.

Good luck!