Many of you know we spent most of last year looking to buy a new home. After selling our house the previous October, we then spent over a year searching for a more suitable home. Enthusiasm and excitement quickly turned to worry and disappointment as the housing market boomed and sellers’ confidence grew. We realised quickly that our dream home did not exist on the budget we had set. We began to consider a new build.
Looking for a place to buy is an emotional rollercoaster. Sunday mornings were depressing after yet another disappointing auction or open the day before. I would search the news hoping for signs of a slowing market, but all the media reports were of unprecedented growth. Headlines like “Spring market soars” and “Buoyant property market” became our living nightmare.
It was tough. Our kids were tired of being dragged around to open inspections every weekend. And it was no fun for us either. In the space of a year we discovered that the houses we were inspecting fell into the following categories:
- Not big enough (we were looking for a 5-bedroom house or a 4-bedroom plus study and there were few and far between).
- Fundamental flaws with the layout/floorplan/flow.
- Poorly renovated or in need of an immediate renovation, which we were not willing to do.
- No garden. I mean, not a blade of grass to be seen!
- In the wrong area; not close to school or public transport
- Too expensive. The few houses we did find that ticked most of our boxes were quite simply outrageously expensive. And often they were severely under quoted. Competitive bidding taking the reserve way out of our league.
After 14 gruelling months of house hunting, 156 inspections, 66 squandered weekends, and missing out on countless houses at auction, we made the decision to buy a block and do a knockdown/rebuild. But we didn’t make the decision lightly. Although we had it at the back of our minds, we really wanted a house that was finished so that we could move in straight away and not have to spend more money or time building. But, when we weighed up all our options we realised it was the best decision for us on many levels.
Benefits of a New Build:
- You get a brand spanking new home. And new is FABULOUS!
- You get to design or choose a floorplan that is exactly what you want.
- It gives you more of an opportunity to stay in the same neighbourhood. A choice to knockdown and rebuild means your family can stay right where they are. Keep your kids enrolled in their school and childcare, stay close to family and friends.
- It can be cheaper than renovating, and less of a headache.
- You start with a clean slate. While renovating requires you to work around existing structures, knockdown-rebuilds offer a lot more design freedom.
We missed out on a couple of knockdowns but virtually at the end of the year, a block came up very close to the school and kindergarten that our children attend. It had a West-facing backyard, which was our preferred choice after North facing, and the block was flat.
We went for it. And guess what?
We got it!
Over the year we had visited a stack of display homes in case we decided to build. For us, going with a volume builder was more appealing than a custom design or architecturally designed home due to its affordability and the efficiency with which they can build a home. The building company we have engaged guarantees a build time of eight months. I will tell you which company we have engaged and how the design process in another post.
Word of advice: Before you decide to buy or build, make sure you’ve done your financial homework in advance. Be very clear about what you can, and can’t, afford. Stick to your budget and compare home loan rates. If you’re looking for a first home loan, Peoples Choice Credit Union recently won CANSTAR’s 2016 First Home Buyer Customer Owned Institute of the Year SA. Make sure you check out their highly competitive three-year Fixed Home Loan Package rate for first home buyers. You can also check out their other range of loans and calculators here.
Have you, or are you currently, considering buying or building a new home? What has been your experience? Or are you more of a renovator?