Buy a House or Not?

hi OzBargain nation, i have a dilemma about purchasing a house.
I live and work in Brisbane QLD, and recently during this pandemic i was lucky enough to be able to work from home full time and first time ever in my life this made me think that id actually like to own a house on a piece of land.
I grewup in cold USSR (Soviet Union) and we had a small apartment house there, in which i always dreamt about living in a big house with a big green yard and without asphalt and concrete everywhere. SO this considered, i am looking somewhere away from central locations, but i also want to be in close vicinity - say 20-30km radius. But my friends all disagree with me that i shouldn't be investing in a land and build a house in somewhere away, because the house wont have a good value and ill struggle to sell it in future, and it is too far from the town.
I am currently looking at suburbs like Moggill, Anstead and Greenbank in Queensland.
I have never lived in quite, surrounded-by-full-of-nature houses that are far away from most of the urban facilities - but i always dreamt about it. And now i am also scared that what if i buy and then regret.
A few things to consider:
1) i wanna buy empty land and build on it - so that i can get new home builder grant
2) i dont have much savings, around $30K, but i have a permanent well-paid-ish job
3) i really like hiking and provincial lifestyle, yet also enjoy urban strolls, shopping centres, cafes and museums.

I really wanna hear your opinions - what you think i'd be better of doing, and why? what would you have done?

I was not going to build the house by myself, i was thinking of getting Plantation or Metricon plans. Their one storey 18x32 houses look great - for exmaple, Chelsea by Metricon and Plantation's Panama and Retreat house designs.


  • +12

    Talk to a mortgage broker to see what you can afford first. Then explore your options.

  • +2

    building a house is a big big big task especially if you dont plan on doing any tasks / owner builder DA so a lot safer to start with a villa / townhouse / terrace closer to city as a stepping stone and maybe reach for the off grid living / semi-rural living at a later phase…

    • oh i cant build, i was thinking of getting Plantation or Metricon to build it for me. Do you still think it is not worth it?

      • +1

        Still going to be lots of stress. Those companies will do the project management; but you still need to manage the project managers and still need to chase them for every tiny thing they have done wrong with your building. Hence, why lots of people recommend to buy established home as atleast then, you can see what the build is like - rather than hope it turns out like your have envisioned it in the plans.

  • +4

    Dont overlook the ease of purchasing an established home. Building a new one can be a nightmare.
    Houses can take a lot of maintenance. Lawn mowing, gardening, a lot more to keep clean than with an apartment. Consider all the obligations.
    There is a lot to consider.

    • i was thinking of getting a company to build for me, like plantation or metricon. and tbh, doing gardening, mowing and all sorts of house maintenance things are very fun to me (minus leaking roofs, floods, termite infestation etc. )

  • +1

    The idea of self-building your own home to your own specifications instead of inheriting a previous owner's taste, appeals to me too; but there are obviously many pitfalls, just watch Grand Designs. I'd speak to a broker first to get an idea of how much money you can play with.

  • +12

    Rent on the area first and see how you like that lifestyle, then look at purchasing established home - much less stress

    • great idea! i was thinking about it, now that you mentioned it it seems more of a necessary thing to do before going under mortgage.

  • +2

    Here's my perspective on the pros of owning a house especially with a little distance from CBD.
    - If you live some distance away from the CBD, you're better prepared for pandemics as you're more spread out.
    - After a few years, you'll find that your mortgage payment is less than people's rent around your area.
    - rates are currently low.

    • Until recently I would have never considered a pandemic in the context of housing choices but completely agree. Also having just gone through the stay at home phase in a house with some space around it and near outdoor parks, beach etc to exercise, I’ve felt very lucky.

      • +1

        Hopefully the way society views work (and more imporantly, employers) shifts a little bit. I've always lived close to the city/transport because my work is currently and will always be CBD focused. Working from home now and for the forseeable future has really shifted my thinking.

  • +1

    We went for a house over a unit, as there’s often an over supply of units in QLD and felt house and land would hold its value better. We were quite picky to choose something that was walking distance to shops, cafes, beach that fits our lifestyle preference. We could have a bigger and newer house in suburb where you have to drive everywhere, but didn’t think we’d enjoy that.

    Building a house is a huge project and from what I’ve heard, almost always is over budget and behind schedule. If you can afford it and find the right house for you I’d consider buying an already built house in a suburb you like the feel of. I agree with MrHyde that renting in the area first is a good idea. Also consider all the maintenance involved in a house. Mowing lawns, gardening, clearing gutters and having a budget for anything that goes wrong e.g. roof leaks, plumbing issues etc. Perhaps trying building up your deposit over the next 6-12months whilst looking around, I expect the property market isn’t going to go up within this time frame.

    • thank you so much for sharing your personal perspective with me! i want to get it built from anew only because i can get this home builder package. thats why. do you think it is not worth it?

      • +2

        The home builder package just means that builders have increased their prices by $25k. The package does not help people like you and me. It helps the builders.

  • +4

    Moggill is nice. I would recommend buying established, building sucks, you then still have a heap of work to do once built, and the $40k grant will just have been added to the cost. Your deposit is too low though.

  • How much are houses for sale in those areas at the moment?
    And how much will the house and land cost?

    This could help answer if you will lose money if you decide to sell the house.

    • the are that i am looking at offers already built houses for ~<600K. i also cant go over 750K because i want to get home builder grant from federal government.
      what are your thoughts?

      • without looking into details, for $600k new built is way too expensive for somewhere 20-30km from brisbane CBD

        • oh really, i thought it is normal. would it even be too expensive for like 500sqm?

  • +2

    A point to consider - don't let the basic price of a House and Land fool you, there can be a lot of extras added later.
    In 2014 my House and Land came in at 450k, however, by the time I finished Landscaping (including 30k for engineered retaining walls), plus the cost of dropping the front of the slab because Council said my driveway would be too steep, plus fencing, etc!

    Anyway my point is not to let the initial basic cost fool you, my 450k House and Land ended up costing me 540k!

    • yeah, the basic package builder give you only give you very basic that'd be extravagant for house built 20-30 years ago but very obsolete by today standards, for example that'd be only 1 single power point per room, no ethernet cable, standard led bulb, bathroom tap and kitchen tap use 2 separate hot/cold twisting type, single kitchen sink, etc, if you want anything more than that be prepared to fork out 5-10k for each package and it could be tens of such add-ons easily. And don't forget you'd be asked to move in with a finished house with barren land, no fencing, no landscaping (your mortgage repayment start from the day they give you the key).

  • +3

    Rent out there for a year and see if you actually lile it.

  • +2

    Rent in a suburb that you love to live in.

    Buy in a suburb that is great to invest in, getting good rent flow and likely capital growth.

  • +5

    Commuting an hour each day when you get back to work will get tiring fast. I'd at least recommend renting there for a period to see if you actually like it.

    • Yep. Partner is currently doing the 45-60 minute commute currently, so we're looking around at places that cut our commuting time. Preferrably to 20 minutes or less, or much closer to a railway line much closer to our capital city.

      • thanks both for your advice. my commute will never be less than 15 mins considering traffic, and i dont want to live in the city and surroinding as it is too crowded and too noisy. i think 30 mins would be ideal distance (As i want my house to be in less crowded area), and distance from moggill to brisbane cbd is around this time bracket.

  • +1

    Your friends are wrong you have the right idea and many are now after the block of land and house . I still think prices will drop but not anywhere near as far as apartment are going to fall . I would recommend get a nice old brick house already on the land rather than the huge expense of building . With that your cost of the building will be very small with the land being the biggest cost and these structures are much better than the LEGO buildings being made today :) With the trend going this way your land is set for the best investment potential as well .

  • +1

    Read this article

    If you are going to live it in for 25 - 30 years or until you die then who really cares long as the present value is reflective of the value you place on it. Example: it is everything you ever wanted and you can afford it, secure cash flow and never have to sell it. Given enough time values will recover but you need to be sure you can pay off the month to month repayments.

    If you think of it as an investment there is so many people that have been burnt. You only hear these stories of people who've made a lot of money because the ones who have lost keep it quiet.

    • great perspective! thanks. the first paragprah is relevant to me, as i want to live in that house and want to get a building company to build a house i envisage.

  • +1

    The first comment is spot-on. Chat to a mortgage broker first and work out if you are in a position to do something.

    Secondly, its good to get advice from others and you listen to it and consider it but do what you want to do. A lot of people seem put off by maintenance such as mowing and gardening but 3 years into owning my house and its still one of those things I enjoy doing because it is my house.

    • thanks you. do you mind me asking if you own a house, or if you do, which state/postcode?

  • +3

    I think you will need more than $30K for the deposit.

    • i will. but consideting the gov grant plus my chosen builders also offer around 25K grand and i can lend some money from family which can help me to gain some momentum.

  • +1

    I made an account just to chime in on this conversation as i purchased a house only a couple months ago.
    I have lived both in the suburbs and near the CBD and both have their pros and cons, its purely up to personal preference.

    In terms of building versus buying, this also comes down to preference, but i can share my experience.
    We we're determined to build at first, but ultimately decided to buy for a few reasons, but the main reason being we couldnt find a reasonable sized block of land in the areas we wanted.

    You can still get the First Home Owners Grant for buying established, it just cannot have been lived in before. We did exactly this.
    There are some commenters here saying to be careful building, but if you are purely selecting an 'off-the-shelf' design from Metricon or another builder, you wont have many dramas.
    Just keep in mind, often when building, the price doesnt include things like landscaping or a driveway. So you will need to ensure you ask the builder of all the exclusions first.
    In saying that, you will save more money from building in fees as you're only paying stamp duty on the land itself, not the land + home if you were buying established.

    If you do decide to build, Metricon are good. We we're going to use them if we built, and have friends who have used them. Their building timeline for designs on their website are approx 5 months.

    I dont think you can go wrong either way. Talk to a broker first though (they are free if you aren't aware), they will be able to give you a guideline for what you can afford.

    Once you know what you can afford, keep an eye out for home and land packages in the areas you like, but also look for established homes.
    Whilst you will pay an extra 10-20k in fees for stamp duty on the house, it may be worth it to you if you find the house you love, already built.

    • what a legend!
      thank you so much fro creating account jsut to comment on this :) i really appreciate it!
      Your response actually cleared a lot of fog in my head - you pinpointed at all the questions i had.
      I wasnt aware of some of the points you mentioned here.
      do you mind me asking where you bought your last property and what did you prioritise when you made a decision on house type and lcoation?

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