The 7- Point Checklist to Upgrading Your Home
Thinking of upgrading to a new home? Before you start looking, check out our 7-point checklist to make your move easier.
Practice makes perfect, and buying a home can be much easier the second (or third) time around. Not only are you more familiar with the process, you also have the benefit of home equity, which can really broaden the market in terms of what, and where, you can afford to buy.
But when it comes to property there is always something new to learn, and while you can tap into prior experience, some steps of a home upgrade will be different. Take a look at our 7-point checklist to make the move easy and get the most from your next home.
1. Is moving the right decision for you?
Chances are things have changed since you purchased your current home. The arrival of children for instance, may mean your place is a little too snug these days. But if you love your suburb and your home, it’s worth weighing up the pros and cons of renovating versus relocating.
Without costs like stamp duty and agent’s selling commission, renovating can offer more bang for your buck. In fact, opting to renovate rather than move is becoming more popular, with recent HIA statistics showing renovation spend is expected to increase by nearly $2 billion over the next few years.
However, a change of location can be an exciting new beginning. Give it some thought to be sure your next move is the right move
2. Sell first or buy first?
Timing can be critical when it comes to upgrading and there’s no right or wrong answer to the issue of sell first versus buy first. The main point is to know how you will manage the two transactions from a practical and financial perspective.
For more ideas on what to consider take a look at Selling before you buy – is it the right move?
3. Get to know your borrowing power
You probably drafted a purchase budget for your first home, and the same process applies for an upgrade. This time around however, things are a bit different. On one hand, you won’t be eligible for any first home buyer incentives that may have applied with your first home. The flipside is that you’ll have the benefit of home equity to boost your buying power. You may also be earning more, though you could face additional living costs if you have started a family.
The important thing is to take the guesswork out of how much you can borrow as this determines what you can afford to pay for your next home. Speak with your home loans provider to know exactly what your buying budget looks like.
4. Choose a location
Your new postcode will shape some big issues – how much you pay for your new home, your quality of life, and the sort of capital growth your next home is likely to notch up over time. It’s worth investing serious thought into where you plan to live to be sure it fits your needs today and further down the track. After all, you can change your home but you can’t change the location.
5. Decide on the style of home that fits your needs
The type of dwelling best suited to your circumstances will depend on your budget and lifestyle. An apartment can offer the convenience of low maintenance living, while a generously proportioned suburban family home can be a great place to raise children. Or you may prefer the character of a heritage home over a brand-new master-built dwelling.
A good way to know what suits your taste and needs is to think about what you like in your current home – and what’s not working for you. Note the essentials like the number of bedrooms and bathrooms you need.
It can also pay to be flexible. Sometimes a home comes along that you fall in love with even though it doesn’t tick all the boxes, more so if you’re up for renovations. Just be sure you have the funds (and energy) to see the job through.
6. Maximise the sale value of your current home
Amid the excitement of upgrading to a new home it can be easy to overlook a critical step: Sprucing up your present home to secure the best possible sale price.
Major renovations are not always a good idea at this stage as a new buyer is likely to want to stamp their own mark on the property. However, low cost improvements like tidying up the garden to create curb appeal, decluttering the interior and giving the place a fresh coat of paint can add value and market appeal to the property. If your budget allows it, hire a stylist for expert advice on how to present your home in the best possible light.
7. Review your home loan strategy
With the benefit of past experience you probably have a better understanding of how home loans work and the loan features that will serve you best. In light of this, you’re in a great position to shop around for a great home loan deal. Take the opportunity to speak with your lender to be sure your new home loan has the right features (and rate) for your circumstances. You need to be just as comfortable with your new loan as you are in your new home.