Adelaide Realestate - Advice for Buying home in the city of Adelaide

Looking for a house or an apartment to purchase is a challenge,
as well as being one of the biggest financial decisions you will make.
However, if planned well, it can be a very rewarding investment both financially and emotionally.

Having a place of your own gives you the freedom to make improvements
to suit your personal needs and your own comfort and enjoyment.

Below are a few tips to help you assess the merits and suitability of places that you view. Whether you are buying a snappy modern apartment ‘off the plan’ or a beautiful established dwelling, there’s sure to be something here that will assist you in making the right decision.

There is much more to good design than appearance. Design affects both the use and enjoyment of a home.

Before you buy, consider the following:

Size

You will need to have the floor area of the dwelling in square metres, so you can compare
it with other dwellings. It is important to check whether the floor area stated includes balcony areas and car parks.

 

Check the size and dimensions of individual rooms and compare them with your present accommodation. Will the rooms accommodate your needs and furniture? A dwelling with
one large and one small bedroom may suit a couple, but may be impractical for two independent adults.

 

Spaciousness

A sense of space is very important, especially in small dwellings. This can be achieved
with high ceilings, large windows, light coloured décor, plenty of natural light and open plan living areas.

 

Storage

Keep in mind what you need to be storing, including bulky items. Is there enough storage space and is it high enough, deep enough and wide enough for your needs?

 

Natural Light

Check the location and size of windows, skylights and glazed doors. Do they provide enough natural light? Are any buildings nearby likely to block out your sunlight, particularly during winter? Are the windows and glazed doors protected from the summer sun, and open to the winter sun?

 

Outlook

What are the views and outlook like? Ideally, the best outlook should be from the rooms that are used the most often.

 

Floor Plan

Consider the plan carefully. Does the design make efficient use of available space? How do the rooms relate to each other and to your lifestyle? How does the kitchen relate to the dining area, and how well is the living area separated from the bedrooms? Is the open area/balcony convenient to the living area?

On-site Parking

While the convenience of city living reduces the need for a car, most households have at least one. Check the following important considerations:

  • How many spaces are provided for your use?

    Is access to your parking spaces convenient?

  • Is the cost of parking additional to the cost of the dwelling?
  • Is parking under cover or open to the elements?
  • Are parking spaces individually allocated to the dwelling?
  • Is visitor parking provided?
  • Are the parking areas secure?
  • Will car headlights shine through your windows?
  • Is on-street parking available for either your own use or for visitors,
    at the time periods when you will expect to use them?

Open Space, Balconies and Decks

Is any open space available, either private or shared? Who is responsible for maintaining the open space, and who actually does the maintenance? Does the open space, including balconies and decks, suit your outdoor living requirements?

 

Consider the relationship between the outdoor space and the rooms of the dwelling. Outdoor areas that can be directly accessed from living areas provide good opportunities for extending your living area during good weather.

Site Facilities

  • Is a refuse area provided, and is it conveniently located?
  • Will refuse collection disturb you or other residents?
  • Are mail boxes located in a convenient and secure place?
  • Can they be locked if required?
  • Is there a clothes drying area on the site?
  • Privacy, both inside and outside the dwelling, affects the ways that you can use your home. Before buying, take a good look at how you might be overlooked by your neighbours, or how open you are to the eyes of passers-by.

Privacy

If you are looking at a multi-unit property, consider the potential for disturbance from other residents and their visitors walking past your windows and doors. Remember that there are many things that can be done to protect your privacy once you have bought - for example (subject to strata or community corporation rules) installing blinds, frosted glass, or screens
of plants.

Noise

Noise can also affect the way you use your property, and your quality of life. You will need to check for potential noise problems, both externally and on-site. Here are a few things to check:

Off-site

Check potential noise problems from the street and commercial neighbours, such as industrial premises, restaurants and late night entertainment venues. Find out their operating and delivery times. Don't forget! There are night services like street cleaning and garbage collection to be checked.

On-site

Consider the location of rooms in relation to the layout of adjoining dwellings and possible sources of noise. For example, will parking areas create a noise problem? What building materials have been used, and what measures exist to reduce noise transmission through the walls, windows and floors? Particular attention should be paid to walls shared with a neighbour. If noise reduction relies on windows being closed, are alternative forms of ventilation available?

Security

The Dwelling

  • Secure dwellings need good quality doors, windows and locks. Deadlocks are a wise precaution. Intercoms, alarm systems and door viewers all add to basic security.
  • Check for yourself:
  • Are the doors solid?
  • Is a good quality security screen door fitted?
  • Do external doors have deadlocks fitted?
  • Do windows fit snugly?
  • Are key operated window locks provided?
  • How would you get in if you left your keys inside? A burglar may well go the same way.

Common areas/ Parking areas

The security of common areas in strata/community title developments is important for safe living and car security. Windows overlooking open areas, car parks and access routes (especially from a mix of living areas and bedrooms) improve security through casual surveillance by residents. Be sure to check the lighting in common areas: does it provide adequate night security?

Building Entrance

Security of the building entrance is also important, especially for apartment buildings. How is access to the building controlled? Is the lighting near the entrance adequate for night security? Is it visible from windows and the street?

Street Lighting

Does the street lighting provide adequate night security for the property?

Energy Efficiency

Energy efficient dwellings and appliances can result in considerable savings.

Points to consider include:

Insulation

Insulation of ceilings, walls and floors reduces heat loss during winter, heat gain during summer, and provides a greater level of comfort all year round. In addition it reduces the cost and need for heating and cooling systems. Heat passes through windows and window insulation can be improved through the use of double-glazing, heavy curtains with pelmets, and external sunscreens. If windows are to be closed to improve heating or cooling, alternate forms of ventilation should be available.

Orientation and Layout

A dwelling with an ideal "energy efficient" orientation has protection from the heat of the summer sun and is able to make best use of the sun's winter warmth. The sun is higher in the sky in summer than winter. An ideal dwelling has living areas facing within 30º East and 20º West of true North. Windows facing north should have a shelter overhanging far enough to shade the window from the summer sun, but not so far that it keeps out the winter sun. Few windows should face east or west, as it is difficult to provide suitable summer screening on these faces. Adequate internal airflow is also very important. Air movement cools living spaces and reduces the need for air conditioning.

Heating and Cooling

Heating and cooling systems are major users of energy. Make sure to check the energy ratings of key appliances. Energy costs can be significantly reduced if living areas can be isolated so that only those areas in use are heated or cooled.

The more common systems available are:

  • Gas hot water systems - practical and relatively cheap to run.
  • Solar hot water systems - cheap to run.
  • Gas heating and reverse cycle (heat pump) air-conditioners - effective cooling and heating systems, providing the convenience of heating and cooling in one system.
  • Evaporative air-conditioners - cheaper to run than reverse cycle units, however a separate heating system is necessary.
  • Ceiling fans reduce the need for air-conditioning and are very cheap to run.

Services

Power Points

The location of power points can affect how you arrange your furniture and use a room. Check the number, location, and type (double or single) of power points in all rooms. Are they in the right places and adequate to meet your needs?

Telecommunications

As computers are becoming a standard feature in homes and home offices, the locations of telephone plugs and data points is becoming more important. A computer with a modem needs a power point and a phone point located close together. Plugs for specialist telecommunications should be organised with your provider.

Lighting

Check the number, type, and location of lights and light switches. Consider the position of external lighting, particularly in common areas and along paths leading to your entrance.

Appliances

Check the type of hot water service, its capacity and location in relation to hot water taps. The less distance the water needs to travel, the less the amount of water wasted waiting for hot water to flow. Other appliances to check include:

  • Stove and hot plates;
  • Dishwasher;
  • Garbage Disposal units;
  • Exhaust fans;
  • Air-conditioning;
  • Heating (See Energy Efficiency section).

Do all of these appliances meet your needs? Make sure that you can be provided with copies of instructions for these appliances.

Check the manufacturer’s specifications. An important consideration with exhaust fans is their location in positions to effectively remove odours and steam. Poorly located exhaust outlets may affect the level of noise and the quality of air inside the dwelling.

Other Services

Other services which may be provided include a TV antenna, intercom and security surveillance systems.

Fixtures, Fittings and Finishes

The quality of fixtures, fittings and finishes can vary greatly in quality and cost. Consider your requirements and check if the various items meet your expectations.

If you are buying off-the-plan, request samples. You may be able to choose your own fixtures, fittings and finishes to meet your specific needs.

Construction

Materials

Consider the materials and finishes used on external walls, roofs, gutters and windows. Durable materials and certain finishes require less maintenance. Consider how the materials will affect noise transmission and insulation.

Dampness and Ventilation

Where external walls have no cavity, check what provision has been made to prevent moisture penetration. Check that adequate ventilation is provided by fixed wall vents, windows that can be opened, air-conditioning and other means. If ventilation relies on an open window, is security still maintained?

Maintenance Issues

On-going maintenance costs are not always considered as part of buying a home. Obviously these costs tend to increase with the age of a dwelling. Many inner city dwellings are strata or community titled, with shared areas and facilities, such as driveways, entrances, parking spaces, building exteriors and open spaces. Owners of individual dwellings in strata or community titles usually pay an annual fee to their strata or community corporation to cover the costs of managing and maintaining these common areas. Items which will require maintenance over time include:

  • Roof and gutters
  • Walls
  • Shared areas and facilities
  • Windows, including cleaning
  • Issues to be considered include:
  • Who is responsible?
  • The likely costs over time
  • Ease of access for maintenance work
  • Is there a Maintenance Program (for strata and community titles)?

The Full Purchase Cost?

It is important to consider all costs associated with buying a home, not just the purchase price. Other costs that must be included are:

  • Stamp Duty on the Property
  • Stamp Duty on the Mortgage
  • Loan and mortgage establishment costs
  • Registration of transfer
  • Council Rates
  • Water Rates
  • Conveyancing costs
  • Strata or community corporation fees.
  • Moving costs
  • Power connection costs
  • Phone and telecommunications connection costs.

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Reported on:
Sat, 11/25/2017 - 04:00
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