Nila Sweeney


Your dream home isn’t necessarily the one you can afford to buy or at least not in that condition! 
There are three pathways to achieving that dream home: relocate, renovate or detonate. Consider the pros and cons of each before starting your dream home journey.
Starting anew
In some respects, it’s a great time to buy a new home. Property prices are expected to remain subdued this year. However, as a seller you may need to downgrade your asking price. It’s also important to factor in the costs associated with buying and selling such as using a real estate agent, removalists, stamp duty, and other legal fees. 
If you’re still on a mortgage with the original home, you would need to check if your loan can be transferred to a new property and if you would be subject to early exit fees.
Think about proximity: how close is the property is to the nearest school, railway station or shopping centre? Which services will be important for your family in the years to come?
Home improvements
With all these relocation costs in mind, it could be the case that renovation or rebuilding may be more cost-effective than relocation. 
One tip is to receive a property appraisal from a real estate agent, so that you have a clearer idea of how much your home would currently sell for and how much it could sell for in its revamped state. An accountant could help you estimate the costs of renovation.
A renovation is only worth considering if the costs of remodelling are less than the extra value that would be added to your new home. In addition to hiring builders or painters, allow for the possibility of time delays and the cost of being inconvenienced (such as possibly renting a temporary property during the renovation proves).
If you are making improvements to your home, you should consider whether your goals are long or short-term. Do you plan on selling the property in a few years, or will this be the home for a growing family for decades to come? If you’re in the former group, then it’s best to use conservative colour schemes that will appeal to most home buyers
There are various finance options designed for those looking to rebuild or renovate their home. 
Under a construction loan, customers receive the funds in instalments throughout the construction period.  Loan top-ups are another choice, which uses the existing equity in the property as security.  
For those who can’t access the equity in their property, a personal loan might be useful – upfront fees tend to be lower, although expect interest rates to be quite high.
Regardless of which option you choose, it pays to do some forward thinking: compare the potential growth of property prices in your current area with growth in the suburb you’re thinking of moving to.
-- By Stephanie Hanna
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