March 2015

How Single and Double-Storey Homes Fare in Perth

A lot of new home listings in Western Australia seem to be for single-storey properties. Do these homes offer more benefits to first home owners than double-storey houses?

Today, it's virtually pointless to argue that one option is better than the other. Instead, buyers are advised to consider their needs. Here are the distinct features either floor plan offers.

Single-Storey for Retirees

Perth must soon cater to an ageing population, which is expected to increase by up to 20 percent in 20 years. Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi has, in fact, placed housing as one of the top priorities in future preparations for an age-friendly city. As single-storey homes don't need staircases, seniors don't have to worry about mobility and safety.

Double-Storey for Must-Go-Big Buyers

The average lot size in Perth has shrunk to 415 square metres in 2013, but more new homes are just registering at below 200 square metres. For nuclear families, a single-storey home with these dimensions might not provide enough living space. Double-storey homes provide living space by expanding vertically instead of horizontally, helping with zoning compliance.

Whichever type of home you prefer, be sure to put your budget and needs first. A reliable home builder can shed light on your possible options based on your preferences.

Saving for a Down Payment on a New Home

When you’re starting from scratch, any effort to save for your first home deposit can seem gargantuan. Buying a home is the single biggest financial commitment you are bound to make, after all, so you certainly have your work cut out for you. If you’re currently working towards a down payment for your new home, here are a few simple tips that may help you save more money and reach your target faster.

Set up a high-interest savings account

Once you’ve identified your down payment amount, start a high-savings account that’s independent from your household expenses. Calculate how much of your monthly earnings you can spare, then set a weekly or monthly deposit goal that you can stick to.

Reduce or eliminate debt

Eliminate your use of credit cards. If that’s not possible, have your credit limit reduced. Pay your debts on time, and avoid accruing them. Set your down payment as your primary financial goal (apart from necessities, of course).

Apply for a Grant

The First Home Owners Grant can help you out immensely when you’re saving for a down payment on a new home. As of September 25, 2013, first homeowners planning to purchase or build a new home can apply for a grant of up to $10,000.

Make Building and Owning a Home More Affordable

Building and owning a home is one of the biggest investments you’re likely to ever make. If your income is just about sufficient to make ends meet, you would do well to consider your options when it comes to house and land packages in Perth. You also need to sort out your finances, choose the right home builder, and think of how to make the home more cost-efficient.

Here are some ways to make building and owning your home more affordable:

·         If it’s your first time to own a home, see if you are eligible for the First Home Owners Grant worth up to $10,000. This amount should give you a head start and enable you to realise your dream of homeownership.

·         Shop wisely for loans, and make sure that the monthly repayments are within your means. Make sure you still have enough for your daily living costs and other expenses after money due to your lender is taken from your income.

·         Evaluate your lifestyle and see if your new home can accommodate it. For instance, your home should be large enough for your family’s needs but not too spacious as to make maintenance rather taxing, not to mention costly. If you plan on having children in the future and have a spare bedroom in the meantime, see if you can rent that room out for extra income.

The Unsung First Home Buyer's Benefit

As a first-time home buyer, you stand to benefit from the First Home Owner Grant (FHOG) of $10,000. With the right home builder, you may also enjoy more financing perks and savings.

Is that all there is to it, though?

You may or may not have heard of the First Home Saver Accounts (FHSA), which is meant to complement the FHOG; however, if you think the FHSA is an additional option to finance your first home, you ought to know that this programme is already undergoing legislative changes and will soon be abolished.

The national budget for 2014-15 will see the FHSA abolished effective July 1, 2015. Government contributions have already ended as of July 1, 2014, and new accounts have been stripped of their privileges as of May 13, 2014. If you signed up for an FHSA prior to the news, it's most likely inactive right now.

You'll then need to go back to old-fashioned saving methods, like setting aside 10 percent of your pay check, taking care of your debts, and adhering to a strict monthly budget. Getting a part-time job is also a good way to earn extra income.

As to whether or not the government will come up with a replacement program for the FHSA, only time can tell. For now, the FHOG remains the strongest ally of a first-time home buyer who wants a home built from the ground up.

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