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July 23, 2020
One of the best things about building your first home as opposed to buying an established home is that you can choose what you want from the start of your home owning journey, and customise your design to suit your needs. With so many new home features to consider when you’re looking to buy, it helps to write a home buying checklist including all your must-haves and nice to haves. We’ve compiled a quick guide below, to help our first home buyers make their own home buying checklist.
1 – What is your budget?
The first thing to work out is your budget. Our Sales Manager Aidan Winter says, “We always encourage our clients to have an understanding of their borrowing capacity early on, so you know what you’re working with.
“If you haven’t already done so, speak to a mortgage broker for a clear understanding of what you need to have in terms of a deposit, what Grants you’re eligible for (for example the First Home Owners Grant and the HomeBuilder Grant), what costs you’ll accrue in the building process, repayments and borrowing capacity requirements for you to buy and build your home.”
2 – Land or house first?
It is up to you whether you buy a house or land first; but it is important to research both early on to make sure you can get the home and location you want within your budget.
For example, if location of your block is your number one priority, then you may be prepared to compromise on the size of your home, but if you’ve fallen in love with a particular house design then consider talking to the builder about what size and shape block will fit the home design you love.
3 – Floor plan
In terms of floor plan, you’ll want to choose a layout that fits your lifestyle now and probably into the future. Maybe a media room and a home office are priorities for you now, but you also need to consider things such as will your family be growing, and will your new home be able to accommodate that growth? Could you easily turn that media room into a nursery? We don’t know exactly what the future holds, but for a sizeable investment like a house, it’s essential to consider how it will fit in with your long-term plans, and consider resale value.
4 – Orientation
Orientation refers to the positioning of your house in relation to the movement of the sun. How you place your home on your block will determine which parts of it get sun and natural light at which times of the day. For example, you might want to position your alfresco area to catch the morning sun.
5 – Facade
Be mindful of facade fashions that could date. You might be tempted to make a statement — to go big and bold — but it pays to think long-term. Aidan suggests to our first home buyers that “it is important to keep in mind that the more conventional the facade and colour choices are, the better the resale of the property will be as facades that focus on the latest trends can date quite quickly and put off future buyers.”
6 – Energy efficiency
There are several factors that can help you use energy more efficiently. Firstly, the orientation of your home can affect energy efficiency. By allowing more sunshine into your home during the winter months, you’ll spend less trying to heat and illuminate it. Conversely, allow too much sun into your home during summer months and you’ll spend a fortune trying to cool it. You could also consider installing sun smart blinds and solar panels. Solar power is a little more costly to set up, but it can lead to huge savings over time. As you’ll be using more of your own power than relying on the grid, your power bills can be considerably lower. Some builders also offer special deals on solar energy, so add this to your checklist.
7 – Interior design
On one hand, it’s tempting to employ the most modern design trends for your interiors. On the other, you need to ask yourself whether these are going to date quickly. A good in between option is to choose classic fixtures and fittings which are costlier to replace and mix in with a modern twist and a bit of personal flair. Putting up new curtains, artwork, or changing some cushions, rugs and even door handles for example, is far cheaper and easier than installing a stone bench top in the kitchen.
8 – Maintenance and upkeep
Maintenance is an integral part of owning a home and to help you keep on top of bills and avoid costly renovations, it is important to select materials that require less upkeep over time. For example, you could choose a low maintenance cladding on the exterior of the house, aluminium window frames or plastic composite decking in your outdoor areas. Inside your home, choose long-lasting LED lighting, easy to clean vinyl flooring or a gas-powered fireplace. Modern and innovative solutions, which save costs in the long run and look great in a contemporary home.
9 – Air conditioning and heating
Air con is a must have when building a new home in Queensland. You typically have two choices: Ducted and split.
A split system is a head unit attached to an interior wall, while the condenser is located outside. These are cheaper (both to install and run) but can only supply cool air to one part of the house. A ducted system is that which is built into the ceiling, with vents in each room. While more expensive, a ducted system evenly distributes cool air throughout the entire home. Again, many builders offer deals on air conditioning, so shop around to get the best deal on what you want.
10 – Security
Security is another important feature which many first home buyers accidentally neglect. Again, there are a huge amount of options and we recommend checking with your builder to see what comes as standard and what costs extra. Your security measures won’t usually affect the way you build, but they will need be considered before construction is complete. Security features such as high quality screens can also lower insurance costs and help resale value.
If you are interested in finding more information about building at North Harbour we have plenty to offer on our website, www.northharbour.com.au, and social media:
You can also contact us by phone, 07 5433 1111, or email . Our office is open 10am-5pm every day. You can view latest land releases, house and land packages and general information on our website www.northharbour.com.au, and walk through videos of all 30 Display Village homes at North Harbour are online here.
If you’d like to visit North Harbour, our Display Village is open seven days a week, 10am-5pm*. It is located on the corner of Buckley Road and Fraser Drive in Burpengary East with the North Harbour Sales & Information Centre and North Harbour Cafe. North Harbour Display Village offers 30 designs available to view from 15 of Australia’s best new home builders including:
We also have a stunning display home by Villa World available to view in another area of North Harbour, near Riparian Park. Villa World has brand new, completed homes for sale and more are planned to be constructed soon. To find out more about Villa World at North Harbour including contact details and location, please click here.
*Individual Display Village Builder hours may vary from our general opening hours so if you are interested in seeing a particular home design or builder, we recommend calling ahead to check opening times. Builder contact details can be found here.