If you’re planning to buy a home this season, you’ll need to know what you’re looking for depending on where you're at in life.
If you're a first home buyer looking to enter the property market, price will likely be the main consideration in your choice of home. So you may need to steer clear of expensive inner-city locations in favour of suburbs or regional centres.
But as your first property is likely to be a long-term investment, you'll want to make sure it has the potential to increase in value – so it's worth doing some research around up-and-coming neighbourhoods in your area.
To avoid straining your budget, be wary of 'fixer-uppers' that may require hefty spending on repairs and maintenance down the track. But at the same time, think about how you can add value to the property when you eventually sell. Even a small renovation could give a big boost to your sale price.
The good news for first home buyers is that the government is proposing to offer a helping hand. If the First Home Super Save Scheme is legislated, you'll be able to access up to $30,000 of your pre-tax super contributions (plus earnings) and put this amount towards a deposit.
As you move through life, your housing needs may change as well. For instance, if you have a growing family or pets, you might be in the market for a larger property with plenty of living areas and outdoor space. You might even consider a cheaper neighbourhood if it means you can afford a more sizeable home.
Other geographic considerations may include easy access to schools, parks and public transport. You may also want to be within a comfortable distance of your parents or other relatives.
If you don't have a family and you're not planning to start one, a change of address could allow you to enjoy the type of lifestyle you love. For example, you might take the opportunity to move to a vibrant neighbourhood with plenty of restaurants, cafes and recreational facilities nearby.
Working from home? You'll probably want a peaceful location with enough space for your home office.
Once the kids have flown the coop, you might think about selling the family home and moving somewhere cosier. And as you settle into retirement, you may prefer to be surrounded by a community of people your own age who enjoy similar hobbies and activities.
Chances are you won't want to move again any time soon, so you'll need to consider how your needs may change in the future. As you become less active, you'll want a home and neighbourhood that are both easy to get around. It's also worth ensuring you'll have easy access to medical facilities and government services.
If you're looking to downsize, you may be able to use it as an opportunity to boost your nest egg. A new government proposal will allow Australians aged 65 and over to contribute up to $300,000 from the sale of their home directly into super if they've owned it for 10 years or more. If legislated, this proposal will take effect on 1 July 2018.