It’s easy to fantasise about that dream home, but what about the dream surroundings? According to Joe, “it’s how you live in the suburb, not how you live in the house.”
This means taking a good look at what’s around a prospective property. Joe suggests going for a walk in the area and looking at the community. Who’s around and what are they doing? What coffee shops and recreation spots are around?
“The joy you get from things outside play a big role in your life. The bigger the mix, the richer the culture.”
As Joe says, “it doesn’t matter what your home looks like, you can always fix up a house, but you can never change its location.”
To understand the importance of this, it can help to put it into perspective by considering your time.
“The one hour you’re spending on a bus – the opportunity cost is thousands of dollars over several years, which could equate to the cost of a second property in years to come. If you can save yourself a few dollars on the train each day, you can buy yourself more time.”
Joe also looks at recreation opportunities as a big plus. “When you’re near the river, beach, or parkland, there’s lots of passive recreation opportunities.”
Speaking of places for recreation, “the closer you can get to Fremantle, the city, or the beach is a good place to go.”
If you’re planning on living there for a while, what it looks like in years to come is important. Joe suggests:
Joe also notes that “it’s vital that when young people buy a house, they buy one that’s as easily leased to someone else as what it can be to live in themselves.”
This is because if you move for a job, it’s better if you don’t have to sell your house.
Joe stresses that there are two different budgets to consider when buying property – the budget to buy there and the ongoing budget of living there.
“Things like communal swimming pools and communal lifts send strata costs through the roof, and the maintenance erodes a lot of income.”
Remember to also consider your future plans – for example, could you still afford it on one income due to having kids?
Joe’s budget tips:
Overall, Joe’s advice when it comes to crunch-time is “don’t make irrational decisions. The more info you’ve got, the better your decision will be.”
Some key things to do include: