With lenders approving a record $33.9 billion in new housing loans in Australia, the number of dwellings financed by first homebuyers reached the highest level in 92 months in August 2017. The nation is also in the grip of an energy crisis so what should first homebuyers be looking for when purchasing their first home so they can ensure energy-efficiency as well as manageable and affordable utility bills?
First National Charles L King principal Gary Wood says it is about looking at the property inside and out (bigger is not necessarily better – can you afford to heat/cool the place?) as well as its proximity to local shops, the Murray River, hospital or the aquatic centre (do you have somewhere to cool off if your electricity is shut down?).
There are three factors Gary Wood stresses first home buyers should explore – the property itself (swimming pools come with hidden maintenance costs), the area’s infrastructure (local amenities, child-care, schools and location to the River) and using your real estate agent’s local knowledge – they’ll have the local expertise when it comes to rates, bills and the community as a whole.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR AS A FIRST HOME BUYER TO AVOID BILL SHOCK
• Is the property close to the shops?
• Is the local swimming pool nearby?
• Are there safe –swimming waterholes nearby or is it close to the Murray River?
• Distance from schools/work – possible to reduce car usage and save on petrol?
• Is there air-conditioning and is it throughout the house or isolated to one area – what are the running costs?
• Does it have a swimming pool – if so, what are the running costs (does it leak)?
• Are solar panels fitted?
• Does it have a high or low maintenance garden to reduce water bill pressure?
• Does it have a clothesline to ensure clothes drying and reduce dryer bills?
• What rooms face east and face west to maximise morning and afternoon sun?
• Are there trees around the property – do they provide shade?
• Are blinds or screens installed on the windows to block sun?
• Appliances – a dishwasher might seem like a bonus but can you afford to use it?
• Rainwater tanks?
• Which energy source powers the property’s heating?
Your real estate agent is your local expert and will know what the approximate costs of living in the area are – ask questions about bills, suppliers, local businesses that are important to residents of the area. Contact our office today 03 5482 2111.