When it comes to building a home, wanting the biggest house on the biggest block can seem like the best move for some. However research shows that lately trends in the Australian housing market have changed. More and more people are buying smaller blocks of land in developed suburbs instead of buying acreage in less desired areas. It seems land developers are also adapting to this change, with many estates selling 7m and 10m wide blocks faster than the common 12.5m frontage lots.
When my husband and I decided to build our first home, we wanted to buy land in an established suburb within a 25km radius from the city center. We also wanted to be in close proximity to a train station, a beach, a shopping center and great schools for our kids. It was also very important for us to live in a place that had young families and a friendly community vibe. Looking at our list, it was obvious that small living was the way to go for us.
A great advantage to building small for us, was that we were able to stick to the lower end of our budget and save some money for a few upgrades on our internal finishes. The biggest mistake first homebuilders make is to remove finishes such as wall painting, floor finishes etc from their building contract and place them in the “we will do this later” box. Often times these items take years to get completed, that is if they are ever done at all! I mean think about it, you move into your new home and immediately start paying your mortgage, saving $5000 to install your flooring isn’t going to be easy. To save yourself the stress of living in an incomplete home for a long time, write up a wish list and add all your needs into your building contract. This will allow you to build your home turn key and not have to worry about the “I will do this later” box . My advise to you, establish your budget and Stick to the lower end of it.
My husband works away from home a couple a weeks a month, Im a full time working mum by day and a creative blogger at night. So it’s safe to say a big house on a large block was not going to work for us. Apart from our work schedules, we also travel a lot. We are usually away on holiday for 3 – 4 weeks at a time and we needed a home that allowed us that lock up and go lifestyle. When making a decision on what to build and where to build, be sure to consider how you live. Your home should be a space that enhances your lifestyle and allows you to live your best life. If like us, you don’t want to feel trapped in a large mortgage and stuck in a house that needs your up keep most days, small living might be something to consider.
Smaller homes are often energy efficient because they have less space to heat and cool. Which means the bills are lower and the savings are higher. For us, the savings are even higher because as soon as we got the keys to our home, we got solar panels installed. I can’t tell you how much joy I get from opening our electricity bill. Always exciting seeing our savings every quarter.
Ok, Let’s be honest. I am obsessed with the small living movement! My dream has always been to downsize my family home and for us to build a little cottage. I love the character smaller homes have, the thoughtful use of space and the amount of creativity that goes into designing a home on a smaller block. Unlike bigger homes, small homes have intimate rooms that feel cozy and lived in. There are also no dead spaces in small homes because every inch of space is designed to be flexible and have multiple purposes.
Building your first home is exciting but can be overwhelming. There is so many decisions to be made and so many options to choose from. However, if you make your decisions based on how you live your life instead of what is expected of you, you will always make the right choices.