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A forever home is a home that you’ll likely live in and see through to retirement, giving you decades of fond memories and perhaps even a nest egg for your children and family. So how do you even begin to search for a property that may ultimately mean so much? Read on below!
BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND
When you’re thinking about your forever home it’s a good idea to start with the end in mind. If this really is your forever home, purchase one with a floorplan that allows for practical growth and flexibility. Think wedding bells, nurseries, home offices and/or flat mates.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO BUY A ‘FIXER-UPPER’
Not every forever home is going to start out looking like a million bucks. It’s such a mistake to overlook a great property simply because it needs some work. Remember – there’s a difference between your ‘dream home’ and your ‘forever home’. While it’s true that you should always abandon a sinking ship, it’s wrong to overlook something you can fix. It’s also wrong to set your initial expectations too high. There will always need to be a compromise and a few extra dollars in the right places can take a property from a 2 to a 10 in a hot minute.
PICK THE RIGHT LOCATION FOR YOU
Buildings can always be changed, improved and altered to add value – but the location cannot, that’s why it’s so important to ensure you’re looking in the right spots. A few things to look out for are:
- Employment Opportunities - A broad, diverse, long term employment base is something everyone should be looking for when deciding where to buy their forever home as it’s a real indicator of the area’s stability.
- Infrastructure & Facilities - Thriving schools, hospitals, shopping centers, recreational parks and centers as well as banks and coffee shops are all so important for anyone looking to establish a life in a new location. This is because they are a sign of a well-established community where people like to live, meet with friends and love living. Areas with engaged neighborhoods and community hubs are great indicators for families.
- Access to Transport – If you’re a commuter, are you relatively close to your workplace or the wider CBD? If you commute, are you close to a highway? If you haven’t got your own mode of transport is public transport sufficient in that area?
- Environment – It’s important to know how you envisage the next few decades of your life. If you’re not physically fit – rural properties might not be the way to go as they involve a lot of physical labour to be maintained. If you enjoy a busy lifestyle, the city would be a better choice than a hinterland property. If you prefer a more relaxed environment you might want to go somewhere coastal.
UNDERSTAND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN YOUR WANTS & NEEDS
It’s a good idea to make two lists – wants / needs. Your wants should be the things you don’t want to compromise, and the needs should be the things you simply can’t compromise on. The property you purchase should really allow you to tick off 7/10 things with the knowledge that you can tick off another one or two down the track. Finding a balance between the two lists will eliminate the possibility of buyer’s remorse down the track. Home owners are constantly changing their homes, so it’s unrealistic to think you’re going to find something perfect right away.
DON’T LOWBALL YOUR OFFERS
This is your dream home. You’re doing yourself a disservice and risk getting yourself into a seller’s bad-books if you’re constantly proposing lowball offers. You don’t want to negotiate yourself out of a sale – especially one that you see as fit for your forever home.
Simply find out what the vendour is asking for and compare it with what you’re willing to spend.
ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS
How are you going to find out what you need to know without asking? A forever home is kind of a big decision, so you’re well within your rights to ask all the questions you want about a prospective property.
- Ask why they’re selling - It’s unlikely that they’re going to be upfront if the neighbours or neighbourhood is dodgy – but it’s worth asking. How they answer can tell you just as much, if they’re open and honest it’s likely you’ve got nothing to worry about.
- Ask about how long it’s been on the market for - Is it a fresh listing or has it been sitting on the market for a while now? Either way, this information will help you make a more educated offer.
- Ask about the negatives - It’s not something a real estate agent or seller would be used to hearing but it’s a good question to ask. You can also request a seller’s disclosure where the structural issues should be flagged. Pay attention to these areas during your inspection and factor them into your offer.