Deciding which area to look in for your first home is not necessarily as simple and obvious as it seems. You possibly have a firm idea of the location you wish to buy a property. However, there are rafts of subsequent and compounding decisions which may confound on your initial thought processes.
• What stage of life are you in?
• Are you single – and happy to remain so?
• Are you in a relationship and not contemplating children?
• Are you in a relationship and undecided about children, or maybe totally committed to having children?
This is only the start of many aspects that may ultimately make you change direction numerous times before deciding on your final area to investigate.
Some general considerations are constant when thinking about the location to look in for your first home – and generally involve a ranking in importance to narrow down location searches.
What is important to you?
• How important is the lack of a commute to work?
• Conversely, what are you prepared to trade off in commuting time for finding the ideal home?
Related to this consideration is assessing your proximity to public transport. In these times of increasing petrol prices and chaotic travelling costs, does the area you are looking at have reliable train lines or bus routes or any other kind of public transport? The increasing demand for public transport is witnessing increasing premiums on real estate prices as well.
How important is it for you to be located near family and friends? Neighbourhood networks and enclaves are very important for many prospective property purchasers and may well be important for you too.
Convenience to other amenities such as:
• Shopping centres
• medical and other service facilities
is a given for most young families; however, the trade-off for lifestyle and the wider open spaces may be more important for you.
Those of you with young families – or who are in the family planning stage – will find the availability of educational facilities of paramount importance. A word of advice – think long term. This means thinking across the whole educational spectrum:
• early childcare
• primary school facilities
• the availability – or potential availability – of secondary schools
Further down the track, tertiary educational facilities are likely to be an issue as well, so the availability of universities, TAFEs and technical colleges should not be out of your thought processes.
Proximity to recreational facilities is also an important consideration when deciding where to buy. There will always be times you would rather be in an open tree-lined park rather than the centre of trendy, inner city living.
You could do worse than think what your favourite activities are away from work. Is living near the beach a greater priority for you, or would you be happier living nearer a decent library or possibly arts or cultural centre? It could be that a location handy to your gym or maybe tennis courts, swimming pools or sports stadiums are what is most important to you.
You should never forget thinking about your environment.
• What does the rest of the street that the property you desire is in, look like?
• Do you feel the suburban surrounds are pleasant for you as well?
• Is the property you’ve discovered on the main flight path into the city?
• Is the property near loud or undesirable industrial activity?
• Or, what many prospective purchasers forget to investigate, is loud or industrial activity planned for the area? You should ascertain this with the local council.
These are the very real considerations when you are deciding where you would like to purchase a property. Driving around those areas you would like to live is also a good tactic. You will be amazed at how many properties for sale you can spot when you're on the lookout. Write down the property and real estate agent's details and follow up any promising finds with the agents concerned.