Tips for buying a new house

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A home is a major commitment, both financially and emotionally. Before you sign on the dotted line, it's important to assess that the property is not only right for you but is also in good condition. We give a few tips for new home buyers.

A new home is a lifetime investment and when problems with the building, the land or the neighbourhood arise, they don't only affect your quality of living but can also come at a heavy financial cost. Carefully considering and researching your new home is important before purchase so that you can be aware of any problems before you settle in.

It's important to consider all aspects of the property and its surroundings as they might affect your quality of life at home.

Surrounding the property

The location of your property can affect many aspects of your life. Its proximity to major services and the workplace can prove not only convenient but might also save you on public transport, petrol and parking costs. Taking into consideration a few of these factors will help determine whether your dream home is the right one for you.

  1. Neighbourhood and services: Assess how suitable the neighbourhood is for your lifestyle and needs. Consider the proximity, number and variety of shops, eateries, medical services, parks, and community and sport centresi. Also, factor in crime rates, safety and (if applicable) the neighbourhoods suitability for raising children. If you plan on having kids, it's important to check that there are enough schools, childcare centres and medical services nearbyi.
  2. Transport: Is the area well served by public transportii? Find out whether public transport services run regularly. Also consider the distance from your work, which may impact upon your daily routinei. How far will you have to travel to get to work each day? Calculate the cost of transport for one year - is it affordable?
  3. Parking: If the house doesn't have a garage, check that there is ample street parking available. Obtaining a council permit that exempts your vehicle from parking meters and time restrictions may reduce costs and inconvenienceiii.
  4. Noise and pollution: External noise and pollution may affect your quality of lifeiv. Even if there isn't an airport nearby, check whether the property is under a flight path. Highways, major roads or urban centres are also prone to higher noise levels and pollution from heavy foot and vehicle trafficiv.
  5. Development: Find out if there are any commercial or industrial developments taking place nearby that might affect your quality of life, comfort at home or impact on the value of your property. Local councils will have information regarding immediate future developments in the areav.
  6. Natural disasters: If the area is prone to bushfires or floods, this may affect the cost of building and maintaining your property, as well as your ability to obtain home insurance. Find out if there are any forests, flood plains or waterways that may cause problems near the propertyi,v.
  7. Value of property: Keeping in mind all the factors mentioned in the previous points, the value of your home may be impacted based on things that may be out of your control. For example, the value may go up if convenient services are being added such as shops or public transportvi.

Features of the property

While the location of your property is important, so is the property itself. Researching the restrictions that apply to your property and the features that might affect your quality of living at home is an important step to take before buying and moving into your new home.

  1. Aspect: The aspect (e.g. north facing) can change indoor climate and may affect your electricity bills for heating and coolingvii. A room that faces north maximises sunlight absorption in winter and minimises it in summer. This keeps the room at an accommodating temperature at all times of the year - cool in summer and warm in winterii.
  2. Renovation: Consult your local council about restrictions on renovations and development as your development plans are likely to be subject to council approvalviii. If renovations are approved: will heavy machinery and construction equipment be able to easily enter the construction sitei?
  3. Obstruction: If vegetation, neighbours' renovations and high-rise buildings obstruct the light that enters your house - how will this impact on your quality of living and comfort?
  4. Trees: Trees, particularly roots and branches, can often present problems for home owners. If there are trees that you think would cause harm in a storm, it's important to consult your local council and neighbours. Your local council will inform you of the regulations, restrictions and permits required to remove trees or tree branchesi,ix,x. Also, check regulations for planting trees or visit your local council's nursery for tips and advice on which vegetation would flourish in the climate of your area.

Organising a building inspector to inspect the property may expose faults, such as mould or defective structures in the property that you might otherwise have overlooked.

Consult your local council regarding planting or removing trees on your property.

Making sure your dream home doesn't turn into a nightmare is easy when you're prepared and well-informed about your prospective property. In the event that something unexpected happens to the place you call your own, you want to make sure that you are in the best position to recover financially. That's why Allianz offers home and contents insurance options, with options including cover for events such as fire, storm, or theft, as well as policies with additional benefits like cover for fusion and landscaping. Get a quote with Allianz today!

i Family & Community Services NSW Housing 2010, Buying Land and Building a Home, NSW Government, viewed 10 October 2013,
, p. 1

ii Your Home, Choosing where to live, Australian Government, viewed 10 October 2013,

iii City of Sydney, Parking permits, viewed 10 October 2013,

iv Your Home, Noise control, viewed 10 October 2013,

v South Australian Government, Residential land for sale, viewed 10 October 2013,

vi HomeGuru, House Prices, viewed 8 November 2013,

vii Your Home, Choosing your new home, viewed 10 October 2013,

viii, Rules & Regulations, viewed 10 October 2013,

ix South Australian Government, Regulated and significant trees, viewed 10 October 2013,

x City of Sydney 2013, Pruning and removing trees, viewed 10 October 2013,

xi Money Smart 2013, Buying a home, Australian Securities and Investments Commission, viewed 10 October 2013,