How might your next house affect what school your kids attend?

4 important things you need to consider about your next house

Your house should be in the perfect location for your needs. If it's not, you're in the wrong house. When buying, it's important to consider things like where your kids will go to school, how close you are to shops and how easily you can get to work, among many other factors. For example, buying in a school zone might cost you around $300,000 more, but in the long run, sending your kids to a private school could be much more than that.

Making the decision to move house is hard, but even harder is buying somewhere that's head and shoulders above your previous residence in every way. If you move into a place that's not, then what was the point of relocating? A buyer's agent has their finger on the pulse of the region they work in, so they know where will be best for your needs. From motorway access to the closest supermarket, your requirements for a new home will all be taken into account.

1) School zones

According to a Perth Now report from May 2016, getting into a top public school zone could save parents a lot of money. Private schools in Australia don't have zones, and many offer boarding for people coming from the countryside or overseas. Public schools, on the other hand, are cheaper, but you need to be within a certain area to attend.

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The Perth Now article suggests that living in a home (with two kids) valued at $600,000 outside of a school catchment area means you can feasibly upgrade to a $900,000 place in Rossmoyne and send the children to Rossmoyne Senior High School and still save money. As the high school is ranked third on the list of best government schools in Western Australia, you won't be sacrificing a quality education.

What's more, homes that are zoned for the best schools tend to increase their median value rapidly. Take Rossmoyne – over the past five years, the median dwelling value in the suburb has increased by 20 per cent. Capital gains are possible with an investment in education. More people are realising the benefits of having houses zoned for excellent public schools.

2) Proximity to work

After a hard day at work, many people try to get as far away from the office as possible. However, you don't have to leave the inner-city in order to do that.

If you add half an hour onto your trip each way, then that's a whole extra hour of personal time you lose.

Living outside of the CBD can be cheaper, but it also has a few disadvantages you might not want to see creeping into your lifestyle. For one, your commute is going to be longer. If you add half an hour onto your trip each way, and that's not unrealistic in the busy Sydney and Melbourne traffic, then that's a whole extra hour of personal time you lose. You might even see increased stress levels or less quality time with your loved ones, and nobody wants that.

When you eventually do get into town in a car, you then need to find a park, and that can be expensive. Sydney Council charges up to $7 per hour for peak times at parking meters, while Wilson parking buildings can cost as much as $24 for earlybird parks. That particular carpark might not be anywhere near your office, so to arrive at work on time, you have to be closer. That could cost anywhere between $20 and $30 per day on average, but if you miss the earlybird time then expect to pay $7 an hour for your time at work.

If that does happen, you could see $63 go down the drain. Over a whole week, if you're on time everyday and there are no traffic jams, parking costs could be $100, but if you're late once or twice, that figure will shoot over $220.

When you live closer to work, you'll most likely have access to a bus route that drops you off near your office, so parking isn't ever going to be an issue. You can also leave your home later and arrive on time, and the return journey won't take as long, meaning you have more time to yourself or with your family.

3) Where are the closest shops?

The Nielsen Think Smaller for Big Growth report from June 2016 suggests that people view shopping as a chore. It can be, when you have to trawl through the same aisles week after week, looking for that last bottle of ketchup that everyone in the family can agree is the best. Almost half (46 per cent) of survey respondents claimed to spend as little time as possible on the weekly supermarket shop. That translates into 56 per cent of people preferring a retailer in a convenient location, so buying close to a supermarket is going to save you time.

You don't want to have to drive for 30 minutes just to pick up a prescription from the pharmacy, or to get another bottle of milk. Instead, ask your buyer's agent to look for a home that is within ten minutes of a supermarket or corner shop. You might even just have to walk down to the end of your road to get a loaf of bread in the morning, and that can save you a lot of time.

It's also great for the kids, because if they're old enough to drive, then they won't be away from their studies for too long if you ask them to pick up some supplies for the weekend. All they'll have to do is take a 30-minute break, which also gives you some deserved peace and quiet.

4) Council rates

A Sydney Morning Herald article from 2013 stated that council rates in Victoria would be at an average of $1,662, or a $76 rise over the previous year. Over 2015-16, the Herald Sun reports that ratepayers would see a $67 increase in annual rates compared to the previous year. For some living in a town like Shepparton, that results in rates of $2,238. Some buyers don't take these sorts of payments into account when choosing where to live, but it could impact your yearly budget.

Living in the right location might end up saving you over $5,000 a year.

A $500 difference in rates could be the difference between a holiday to Lake Mountain Alpine Resort, or flying out to see the in-laws for Christmas. Add that to the potential of $220 a week in parking, compared to around $50 a week for public transport, and living in the right location might end up saving you over $5,000 a year.

Without the help of a buyer's agent, buying in the right place for your needs is going to be a hard task. From budget considerations to school zones to the daily commute, there's more to selecting a house than just how it feels inside.

Instead of doing all the hard work yourself, taking time out of your busy schedule, hand the reins over to a Cohen Handler buyer's agent, and let them find you the perfect home to suit all of your needs. If you want your kids to attend the best public school in the state, a buyer's agent will know where to buy. If you want to be on a bus route that takes you right into your office, a buyer's agent will know what street to be near.

Get in touch today, and don't waste any more of your time looking for the house of your dreams. A professional can do it for you.

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