House v Unit:
Which will meet your needs?
Whether you’re looking for extra floor space or privacy, when it comes to buying a home everyone’s preferences vary.
Gone are the days when the choice to live in an apartment or a house was a purely financial one. Now it’s more of a lifestyle choice; will it be sky-high views or a backyard for the dog?
If you’re undecided, take the time to consider each of the factors below. Start to think about your current situation and how you see your future.
First and foremost, consider what’s non-negotiable. Is owning a house more important than getting yourself on the property ladder? Is a garden or parking space something you’re willing to compromise on if the property is otherwise perfect?
Location, location, location
Everyone has a wish list of ideal suburbs when looking for a property, and they’re usually ones you’re already familiar with. However, if your budget won’t stretch to a home or apartment in the suburb of your dreams, you might be able to afford the home of your dreams in a neighbouring area.
Don’t discount somewhere just because it’s unfamiliar. Take the time to explore like a local, find all the best cafes, the local supermarket and familiarise yourself with the public transport network and your work commute.
Do you have a practical idea of how much money you need to afford your dream home realistically? Sitting down with your lender or a mortgage broker will help you come up with an accurate budget.
Depending on the housing market, if you decide to sell the property in future, you may want to investigate the potential capital growth of the property.
If the resale potential is crucial to you, make sure you do some research. Compare sales figures for areas with similar types of properties and seek expert opinions if necessary.
Is a house the right choice for you?
Apartment living: what to consider
Strata fees: Depending on the amenities, strata fees can cost thousands of dollars per quarter – particularly if there are luxuries such as elevators, swimming pools or gyms. Factoring these extra costs into your budget is essential.
Outdoor entertainment: If you love a late summer barbeque or breakfast in the backyard, then apartment living might not be for you. Most apartments will only have a small balcony, if at all.
Bedrooms: While three bedroom apartments do exist, you will more often find one and two bedroom options on the market. If you want to have children in the future, you will probably need to upgrade once baby number two comes along.
Expansion opportunities: Owning an apartment doesn’t mean you have no renovation opportunities. However, you probably won’t have the ability increase the size, the way you can with a house.
Owning a house: what to consider
Location: When choosing an affordable house, the first compromise is usually location. Moving further away from family, friends and work can be a tough decision.
Property condition: Particularly in metropolitan areas, there are plenty of brand new (or near new) apartments. When purchasing a house you will need to consider the condition of the property, does it require any upgrades to bring it up to your personal standards?
Maintenance: Houses require an investment in time and money to maintain them to the standard you bought them in. From general upkeep to surprise disasters, maintaining a house can be costly.
The opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Resimac. The above is general commentary only and is not advice tailored to any individual’s financial situation. We recommend seeking advice from a mortgage or finance professional before implementing changes relating to your finances.