Considering a move is a big deal
When anyone is moving to a new suburb or region it can be a confronting experience. But there are some simple things you can do as a homebuyer to find out whether a location is suitable for you.
The first consideration is largely budget – the cost of real estate in the area and the expense of strata fees and council fees. In the City of Casey, the average rates bill is $1,672.68 for a home – similar to the $1,677 average for similar sized councils. Strata costs differ from building to building.
Outside of the financial expense of living in an area, there are several main areas to look at as a homebuyer.
1) Amenity and lifestyle
Write a list of the features you want in your local area. This could include access to a community centre or place or worship. Then take a look on Google Maps and run some searches on different businesses in the area.
You’ll quickly find out whether you have easy access to cafes, restaurants, shops, parks and other features that matter to you and your personal lifestyle. While this differs from person-to-person, many of the features people find desirable align so it’s worthwhile having a look at the WalkScore, or Walkability, of the suburb you’re looking at.
2) The streetscape and aesthetic of the area
Once you’ve had a look online, which could include looking at Google Streetview, there’s nothing better than having a drive and a walk around the area yourself. Everyone values a different aesthetic in a suburb, but common things to look for include graffiti, rubbish, unmaintained roads, unkempt homes and a lack of landscaping on council land.
The Know Your Council website found the City of Casey was among the better councils for maintaining roads and for resident satisfaction with rubbish collection.
3) Future development and gentrification
For many homebuyers, it’s the future potential of an area that’s worth spending time researching. Given most homebuyers are in their properties for an average of nine years, and suburbs are fast-changing, it’s important to speak to council and look at development plans to make sure where you’re buying will suit you for your planned ownership period. Gentrification is also a huge driver of property growth, and when you’re buying your biggest asset this is definitely something to consider.
In the City of Casey, for instance, there’s plenty of development underway. This includes MAB Corporation’s purchase of 38 hectares of land, which is expected to become a master-planned business park worth $150 million. By 2046, the population of the Casey LGA will be close to 500,000, compared to 300,000 in 2016.
You should also look for development approvals and the zoning near to the actual property you’re looking at – these can tell you whether your neighbour is soon to be a tower of apartments.
4) Access to key hubs
Whether it’s employment, education, childcare, healthcare or relatives, there’s a specific ‘hub’ that means something to every homebuyer. Some of these require living within a very specific geographical slice, such as being near an elderly family member or a specialist hospital, but others are more flexible.
Find out what services and hubs are important to you and make sure you are catered for. Most often, this will mean being within travelling distance to work or children’s schools. Research into the commutes ahead of time, as well as looking for alternative schools or centres if necessary, to ensure you’re picking an area that is best for you and your family.