Buying a home that’s right for you

This article is part of a fictional case study series following "Sarah", a typical first home buyer in Victoria. Read each article to follow "Sarah" through a variety of articles exploring issues related to buying a home.

Finally! Sarah started looking around to see what she could afford, and what she wanted to buy.

To help her understand what she really wanted, she drew up a list. After all, as a secondary school teacher with about $50,000 towards her deposit, she had a few things at the forefront of her decision-making when looking around. 

  • Where can I afford? This, is the first question. With $50,000, that’s a 10% deposit on a $500,000 home, or a 20% on a $250,000 home. Obviously a cheaper home means moving further away from her workplace.
  • Do I want a house, an apartment, or something else? Sarah would love a townhouse, but that means only putting down a 10% deposit. For many people that’s fine, but it’s definitely something to consider.
  • What services are in the area where I want to buy? For instance, is it close to schools, restaurants, public transport, etc? Sarah doesn’t have any children, but at some point she might – and so wants to know the area where she lives is set up for those possibilities.
  • How old do I want my property to be? Older buildings have tended to stand the test of time, but they come with problems newer houses don’t. On the other hand, newer homes have their own things to think about.

It’s important to separate the most important things when looking, from the least important. Location and services in your area are a primary concern…but paint colour or even wallpaper are very much secondary.

Sometimes, you can get caught up on the interior design of a house, and it stops you from buying. But those are things that can be easily changed. Just keep your eye on the most important things – price, location, nearby services and infrastructure – and just keep the others in the back of your mind.

It’s an exciting time, one filled with possibility. But there are some things you should think about before looking around – and they can save you a whole heap of time and money.


Sarah would love to buy somewhere close to the city...but there's a lot to consider. Thinking things through right now will definitely save her some financial pain later on.

Home First
Home First