If you’re thinking about buying or building your first home, you’ve probably come across plenty of articles and experts telling you that there’s a lot to think about before you actually buy. It’s true, and the amount of work, research and consideration you put into this purchase should not be overlooked.
You’ll need to think about locations and layouts. Apartment or house, bedrooms and bathrooms, car spaces and council rates — it can all become overwhelming. Try as you might, you’ll probably overlook a few details in all of the excitement, and that’s ok. Buying your first home isn’t necessarily buying your forever home.
There is one thing, though, that you should never forget when buying a home — lifestyle.
Quality lifestyle options can make or break any house, so it’s important to not to lose sight of these when you’re considering your options. There are many lifestyle factors that go into a great home, and what they are will largely depend on your own personal preferences. However, there are a few that are universal.
Before you take the plunge on your first home purchase, make sure the following five lifestyle factors meet your needs.
1. Proximity to work
How much of your life do you want to spend commuting to work? Now, let’s throw in peak hour traffic conditions, three kids to get to school on time and a busy day of work ahead, starting with a very important meeting that you cannot be late for.
Before you buy the home of your dreams, you should drive the route to work during the time you would normally make the commute. This can be a very enlightening experience. It’s important to understand how far you will have to commute because underestimating the time commitment here can make everyday life very stressful.
Public transport can be a great alternative, so make sure you consider your options here as well. More on that later.
2. Shops and entertainment
When you’re researching the local area of your prospective dream home, look into the local shopping options. Is there a grocery store nearby? What about a butcher, bakery or bottle shop? How about hardware and furniture shops?
Along the same lines, entertainment is an important consideration. Especially if you have kids. Are there any restaurants nearby? What about movie theatres, coffee shops, clothing stores, cultural attractions, community centres, local markets or other types of entertainment?
If these amenities are not close at hand, it’s not necessarily a dealbreaker. Look into how far you’ll have to travel for them and make sure the benefits of your dream home outweigh the convenience of having these things nearby.
3. Childcare and schools
If you have a family, nearby childcare and schooling options is an important lifestyle factor. You’ll need to find a home that offers close proximity to these amenities.
Before you purchase, it pays to do your research into these things. Check out local childcare centres, including enquiring about space available for your children. Demand can be high in some suburbs, making it difficult to find a suitable childcare centre.
When researching schooling options, make sure you look at the quality of the schools, associated costs and the student life on offer for your children. Covering these bases before you make a major purchase will ease the transition for your children and help everyone settle into your new home.
4. Public transportation
Public transportation is often overlooked when considering lifestyle options, as most people just assume they will drive everywhere. However, if you’re commuting to the city for work, finding suitable parking can be difficult and expensive.
Public transportation can help cut costs, avoid traffic and save time in getting the family where they need to go each day.
Look into what’s available near your prospective new home and take each route for a test drive. See what the route is like and get an idea of the usual crowd along the way. This will help you identify any issues such as delays or overcrowding.
If public transportation is not available, think about how important this is to your daily activities. Is driving a feasible solution for you and your family?
5. Parks and recreation
Do you enjoy surrounding green spaces? Do you have pets? Do your children play sport? The answers to these questions can help you determine if nearby parks and recreational areas are an important lifestyle factor for you and your family.
If you answered yes to one or more, it’s worth looking into what’s available near your prospective dream home. Are there parks nearby? Do they offer running and hiking tracks or playground equipment? How far away is the nearest cricket pitch or football field? Are there gated dog parks nearby?
Much like shopping and entertainment amenities, having parks and recreation areas nearby is a bonus for many people. Not having them nearby may not deter you from buying in a certain area, but you should still think about how important they are to you and your family. Are you willing to travel a bit further to access them?
At the end of the day, the home you buy should strike a perfect balance between comfort and convenience. You’re probably willing to make some lifestyle sacrifices for the right home; it’s just a matter of figuring out what those sacrifices are.