Q: My husband and I are looking to buy but we’re still a few years off trying for a family and right now we want to be close to the city in a metro location with cafes and bars on our doorstep. But what happens in a few years’ time if we decide to start a family and need a bigger house? Do we sell and buy again, or buy for what we might want in five years’ time now?
A: It sounds like you need a crystal ball that can help you be certain the decision you make today is going to be the right one for tomorrow. Unfortunately life isn’t always that easy, but it’s smart that you’re trying to think longer term.
I personally can’t tell you what would be the best approach because there are far too many variables that can influence your situation.
What I can say is that buying for what you are sure of may be a safer bet than buying for a future scenario that mightn’t come to fruition. What if the family you are considering doesn’t eventuate or you decide that a suburban life just won’t ever be for you?
Here are a few things to think about that might help you make a decision or at least consider some other options:
- Buying, selling and buying again can be costly. If your property hasn’t had time to enjoy any capital growth or the market goes sour, you may end up out of pocket on two lots of stamp duty plus your homes’ value. There are also all the other costs of buying property that you will need to spend twice, like legals, building reports and moving.
- Buy for now and renovate if, or when, you need more space. Unless you buy a property with DA approval there are no guarantees, but you can take a closer look at properties in the area you are keen on to see if any of them have been extended. You can also look up lodged, pending and approved DA applications via council websites. This way you can buy for what you want now, with potential to extend should you need it down the track.
- Buy for the future and rent for now. You could buy the family home in the suburbs and rent it out as an investment property until you’re ready to make the move, and rent a property in an area you want right now. This will save you buying, selling and buying again and allow you to still get into the property market.
- Properties closer to city centres or with great transport links and local amenities can attract higher capital growth than homes further afield, but there is no hard and fast rule so it’s worth researching the markets you’re considering.
There are a few different options for you to consider, but I recommend thinking it through carefully so you don’t end up down the wrong path.
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