09 August 2016 Alternative ways to get on the property ladder House and land packages For first home buyers, one alternative option to buying an established home is to purchase a new house and land package. These packages provide a new home on your own block of land (often within a housing estate) plus warranty protection on all construction (always ask the builder about warranties). The downside is that housing estates are usually quite far away from the city, which can put some distance between your family/friends and place of employment, resulting in more reliance on your car as a mode of transport. For others searching for an established home, the sheer competition amongst buyers in the lower price ranged suburbs means prices still remain high. Don’t give up, and remember, like any journey it’s where you finish that’s most important and the property journey is no different! Units or apartments Units or apartments can represent an easier and more affordable way into the property market for many first time buyers – and if you buy the right type of property, such as an older style apartment or a unit with some external garden area, there can be the real opportunity to increase the capital value by renovating, modernising or updating the property (subject to Council Approval and any Body Corporate or Strata considerations). Additionally, for singles, younger couples or small families, units and apartments can also mean lower maintenance costs and time, allowing the ‘breathing space’ to get established career-wise and financially, or before you need additional a larger home space. I would avoid buying off the plan, as there is uncertainty about completion dates, market value at time of completion and you are still spending money on alternative accommodation in the interim, as well as minimal opportunity to add value and build equity in the short term. I would also consider smaller developments comprised of 4-6 unit or apartment dwellings.