Choosing What and Where to Buy
SM Property

June 5, 2023

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again – Your first home is very rarely your dream home. Most of the time, it’s an affordable first step, to get onto the property ladder. That’s why it’s important to determine your “wants” and “needs” in your first home. Let’s explore some of the questions you should be asking yourself when you start your property search.

Bedrooms and Bathrooms

How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you really need? If you’re planning to buy alone, you realistically probably don’t need a massive three bedroom house. You might want it, sure, but is it in your first home budget? On the other hand, if you’re buying with friends, or have children, those 3 bedrooms are probably a need, instead of a want.

Let’s talk bathrooms. Most of the time, you can actually save thousands by opting for a one bathroom home with an extra guest toilet, instead of two full bathrooms. The only difference is your guest toilet won’t include a shower – do you really need two showers if you’re living as a couple, or living alone? Alternatively, sometimes you may not even need the additional guest toilet. Sure, it can be handy having a downstairs toilet. We’ve found in the past some of our buyers have family that are frequent guests and are unable to walk up stairs due to injury – in this case, a guest toilet would be a need. However, if you don’t really need it, again it can save you a significant amount of money.

Carparks + Garages

We know a lot of people buying a home will own at least one car, if not more if there’s more than one buyer. Having an allocated carpark can be a big help, and luckily majority of townhouse listings will have this. There’s also the option of parking on the street depending on where you are buying – some streets have an abundance of parking available, which can save you tens of thousands on your purchase price depending on your budget. Many people don’t own cars and prefer to use public transport – in this case, it can be better to look for a townhouse with good public transport access, rather than spending extra money on a carpark you’ll probably never use.

Garages normally bump the purchase price of a property up by at least $40,000. Consider this when you’re house hunting – do you really need a $40,000 garage if your car is only worth $7,000? Or will an uncovered parking space be acceptable (as well as a whole lot cheaper).


Make sure you consider the location of your first home when you’re looking for a property. If you have children, what are the school zones like? Do you use public transport, is there easy access to public transport such as train or bus station? Commuting to work? How long is the drive, is there easy motorway access routes? If you have a dog, you might want to consider looking at the nearby parks, walkways and reserves. If you want to live in a certain suburb but it’s out of your price range, have you considered looking 5-10 minutes up the road at the surrounding suburbs that may be more affordable?

There’s no point owning your own home if you can’t keep up with the mortgage repayments. Sometimes dropping an extra bedroom or bathroom can get you into a nicer location so it’s about finding the happy and comfortable sacrifices for your circumstances. Seeing as your first home is unlikely to be your dream home it’s best to also think about it as an investment, as well as a place to live. Chat to the SM Property team today so we can help you knuckle down these wants and needs, and find the right home for you. We’ve also got a lot of handy content for first home buyers on our Instagram!

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