|No shortage of affordable housing options|
|Tuesday, 01 May 2012 00:00|
For some, with hard work, good advice, good support or just plain good luck, this has become a reality.
But for so many Australians – and especially for working carers who often have lower incomes and less savings or superannuation, the dream is a long way from becoming true.
The folks at our favourite savings website www.simplesavings.com.au have hosted an interesting discussion about finding an affordable home.
Last month Simple Savings member Leonie asked how a couple could reduce the costs of owning a home.
Here are some of the most interesting responses she received from other members, and some of our own. We hope they might provide some suggestions you had not thought about.
Option 1 – You may be very surprised at just how affordable it is living on a community property. These are sometimes called “company title” community properties, or “community title” or “rural land sharing” communities or “multiple occupancies”. These all pretty much mean the same thing – you live on a small acreage of your own, which is part of a larger community-held property. You still retain the exclusive right to live on your lot. No-one can take it away, or come on your land without your permission. It is just like owning any regular house but it is much cheaper because it is not outright “freehold title”. There is the added benefit of having a ready-made community of friends as well. These properties are quite common in the beautiful Northern Rivers area of NSW (Lismore, Lillian Rock, Nimbin, Byron Bay, and Clunes). You can search for them on www.realestate.com.au generally by searching for key words like “community” or “company title” or “multiple occupancy”. Also look on www.gumtree.com.au
Option 2 – If you cannot afford to stay in your current house once you are no longer working, look for other alternative styles of living. You might choose a small house in a retirement village paying just a weekly maintenance fee. This fee covers the cost of water, maintenance of the yard, maintenance of electrical appliances included in the house on occupation, painting inside and out when necessary, secure access, no council rates and a small back yard which you maintain. Retirement housing communities can be accessed if you are 50+. Keep an open mind and look around.
Option 3 – Consider living in a mobile home village. Some of these are quite lovely and often on or near the water. For a fraction of the cost of a big house, you can have a sweet small home and pay just the weekly park fees that generally cover everything except your personal utilities bills. Search using Google for “mobile home parks” and “mobile villages” and even “caravan parks”.
Option 4 – If you need to be near a town or city, consider a home 10-15 minutes further away. If you drive an extra 15 minutes to work or are on the bus for 15 minutes more, it is often substantially cheaper. When you search for a home in the suburb you like, always include surrounding suburbs further away.
Option 5 –Two-bedroom houses. They exist, sell slow and are often on the market longer because most people do not want two bedrooms. Use that as a search criteria in all suburbs and surrounding areas (again, search at www.realestate.com.au).
Option 6 – Townhouses and villas are still affordable and you can still have pets and often a small yard. They are often cheaper than houses as you have less land. Some units also have a garden and car space on the title and they are more affordable yet again.
Option 7 – Buy a home you could live in, but rent it out for a few years to get tax benefits before you move in. It helps reduce the cost of mortgages initially. It is vital you speak with your accountant to get the proper advice first.
Option 8 – If within distance to work, consider a kit home on land. Finish half the house and once you have more money, finish the other half.
Option 9 – Really consider whether the city you are in is right for you. If you relocate to a cheaper city like Adelaide, the houses are more affordable and with a positive attitude, you can grow to love your new location as much as your old. You might be able to move back later once you have some equity/savings.
Option 10 – In the meantime, look at cheaper ways to save on living costs. An old house in a poor area will save rent money for mortgage money.
Option 11 – Consider sharing a house. There are other folk like you out there. Think about placing and ad to find them. Place a free ad on www.gumtree.com.au