There’s so much talk about how difficult it is for young Aussies to break into the real estate market (with many of us apparently choosing smashed avocado over a savings account). So, when you do reach the point where you’re considering buying a home (give yourself a pat on the back you little saver you!) it’s SO important to be on top of the ins and outs of the process and to be smart with your well-earned and carefully saved money. We’ve pulled together a few tips and tricks to help – you’re welcome!


As they say, failing to plan is planning to fail and this could not be truer of the real estate market. You need to have a clear idea of what kind of repayments you’ll be able to afford before starting to look for properties. Then you need to factor in property taxes, homeowners insurance etc. Chat to your bank, your financial planner, and your real estate agent about realistic budgets then stick to them!

If you’re building…

Building your own home is a dream for so many Aussies, but it’s a huge undertaking and will require you to enter into a building contract. Hotondo Homes’ Madelaine Martin, explains that you’ll need to ask these 10 questions of your builder BEFORE signing the contract:

  1. Do you have a builders licence?
  2. Can I see examples of your work?
  3. What insurances do you use throughout construction?
  4. How many homes are you currently building?
  5. When can you start and how long will it take?
  6. Do you have a range of home designs?
  7. What brands do you use throughout the home?
  8. How do I choose the fittings and colours of my home?
  9. Are you a local builder?
  10. Can I be assured the price will remain the same?

Having the answers to these questions will ensure you are well-informed and allow you to gauge which points you need clarifying before proceeding (and more importantly, avoid issues down the line). The more you know, right?!

Energy saving

Making your home energy efficient is not only good for the environment, but it’s good for your wallet. Hotondo Homes Building Designer Adrian Knowles tells us that ensuring your home has a passive design will mean more natural light, less heating and cooling costs and better ventilation which will both improve quality of life and reduce operational costs of your home. So, how can you create a passive home?


If you build your own home, ensure the orientation main living areas are north-facing to take advantage of the natural sunlight and keep bedrooms east-facing. Adrian also recommends placing utility rooms such as the laundry or garage on the west side of the home to provide additional insulation for your living areas.


Installing eaves will not only protect the windows and walls on the exterior of your home but will also control the amount of sunlight that enters your home, allowing maximum sun (and heat) in winter and blocking the summer sun, keeping your home cooler. WIN!



Insulation is another way to reduce your heating and cooling costs. Adrian explains, “insulation plays a vital role in controlling the internal temperature independently of the external temperature.” Another option to control the internal temperature of your home without using electricity is double-glazing your windows.

Are you buying or building your first home? What tips do you have for first home-buyers?

Want more? Get more from Kyle & Jackie O!