This article was originally published on Get Life Right: https://www.iselect.com.au/getliferight/first-home-buyers-house-land-packages/
For many Australians buying their first home, finding the right property for the right price can sometimes feel next to impossible. A house and land package might help to overcome this obstacle by providing an affordable, brand-new home, often requiring a smaller deposit. Here, we look at what’s involved to help you decide if this is the best option for you.
Understanding house and land packages
In short, house and land packages are usually available in newly developed estates on the outskirts of cities and regional centres. Developers acquire the land and build the necessary infrastructure, then market the blocks of land together with a series of home designs that buyers can choose from.
New housing estates are often advertised on real estate websites, in newspapers and on billboards in and around the area where the housing estates are located.
What to look for in a new home
To choose the right place for your new home it’s important to get a feel for the community and the facilities available. Look for transport infrastructure, shops, childcare centres and schools. Consider whether there are lifestyle amenities, such as green space, walking and cycling tracks and playgrounds.
Next, visit display homes for new housing estates in the areas you’re interested in. This will give you an insight into the house designs available and what suits your needs, taste and budget.
How house and land packages differ
Compared to other options – such as purchasing an established property or buying land – the key difference of house and land packages is in the financing.
The financing process usually consists of two steps: a mortgage for the land and then a construction loan for building the house. A construction loan is taken out in stages, meaning you ‘draw down’ on a pre-agreed loan amount and only pay interest on the amount needed for each phase of the build. These two loans are usually bundled together, but not always, so it pays to do some research and consider your loan options.
House and land packages: Advantages and disadvantages
Make sure to review the pros and cons of buying a house and land package as your first home. They can include:
- The First Home Owner Grant: The government scheme awards first home buyers a one-off lump sum payment for buying property. The details vary between each state and territory, but in most cases the First Home Owner Grant generally only applies to new builds. This changes regularly so it’s best to check to see what applies to your area.
- Potential savings on stamp duty: Stamp duty is a state tax applied and payable on the purchase of property. A house and land package may offer stamp duty savings as duty will only be calculated on the value of the vacant lot. First home buyers might also be eligible for a stamp duty exemption or concession.
- Customisation: You can choose the home you’d like to build and customise it to suit your needs.
- Fewer maintenance costs: As you’ll be getting a new home with a warranty, your maintenance costs in the early years will likely be less than an established home.
- Potential lack of infrastructure and longer commutes: Transport infrastructure might be lacking (or in development), so it’s a good idea to check how this will affect your commute and lifestyle.
- Inflated costs: There are sometimes built-in marketing costs and commissions with house and land packages that aren’t always declared, which may push up the price of your new home.
House and land packages can offer many benefits, particularly for first-time home buyers. By doing your homework, checking the options available in your area, and weighing up the pros and cons, you can decide if it’s the right option for your needs.