Mortgage broker reveals the secrets all first home buyers should know - from why you should build instead of buy to how to create a 'functional floorplan' By Carina Stathis

• A mortgage broker has revealed a basic guide to building your first home • Robert Roper recommends building in an 'existing suburb' not a new estate • Create a 'functional' layout through open-plan living and maximising space • First home buyers should avoid being sentimental over small features • Buyers should also make use of government grants available if eligible
Mortgage broker reveals the secrets all first home buyers should know - from why you should build instead of buy to how to create a 'functional floorplan'     By Carina Stathis
Home buyers should opt to build their first home rather than buy an old existing property on the market, a mortgage broker has revealed. 

Robert Roper, director of Trusted Finance in Perth, told Daily Mail Australia that first home buyers should build a home and make use of government grants available, even though the construction application process is often 'confusing'. 

Mr Roper recommended building a home in an existing suburb compared to new estates, creating a 'functional floorplan' and spending money now on what you can't change later - such as the number of bedrooms. 

'Building a house means everything will be new - you have the advantage of structuring the home to your style and will have less maintenance costs,' he told Daily Mail Australia. 

Create a 'functional floorplan'

While building a home is an exciting process, Mr Roper said it's important to create a 'functional' floorplan or layout rather than focusing on the overall style. 

'Make decisions around the structure of the home in order to maximise the space and the potential options for you to rent it out later,' he said. 

'Maximise the bedrooms and space rather than putting your money into personal taste cosmetic products.' 

Generally most modern homes have open-plan living spaces that connect the kitchen, living and dining rooms together, which would be one popular style to consider. 

'Think about how the build connects to your outdoor area too and how to create privacy in your backyard,' he said. 

'It's also worth considering which direction the home will be facing in order to maximise light.' 

The advantages of building a home compared to buying:

1. You are the first owner - any problems, maintenance issues and short-term problems can be fixed by speaking to the builder 

2. Limited surprise bills - as a young person you won't want to be putting money towards occurring maintenance costs - such as leaking taps, holes in the roof, etc. 

3. Higher rental price and easier to rent to tenants 

Don't become too sentimental over small things 

Mr Roper said many first home buyers fall into the trap of becoming too sentimental over little aspects of the design and don't consider the overall functionality of the layout, which can reduce the value years later. 

While it's important to enjoy the process and make the house your own, don't invest too much money in small aspects - such as marble kitchen benchtops or black-out blinds. 

'My first home was a build and I remember being so sentimental about what it was that I was building - and you can't help it because it's often the biggest financial commitment you've ever made in your life,' he said. 

'You go through lots of different aspects with the builders from pre-start meetings to trying to figure out what colour tile or paint you want. 

'But rather than focusing on what's sentimental to you, turn your attention to the aspects of the build that are very hard to change later on.' 

Build in an 'existing suburb' 

Since it is practically impossible to determine whether building is cheaper than buying, it's always a good idea to buy in an 'existing suburb' rather than a brand new development estate. 

'Generally if you can obtain a block of land and build a home in an existing suburb, then you tend to find that you make greater returns compared to in a brand new development,' he said. 

Mr Roper said it's difficult to know how quickly areas in development will grow in value due to less data and information available. 



A $10,000 First Home Owner Grant (FHOG) is available when you buy or build your first new home. 

The FHOG is $20,000 for new homes built in regional Victoria, for contracts signed from 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2021. (Read information about FHOG amounts available before 1 July 2013) 

Your first new home can be a house, townhouse, apartment, unit or similar. The amount paid for the home, that is the contract price for construction when building the home, must be $750,000 or less 


If you are a first home buyer you may be eligible for the first home owner grant of up to $15,000, if you are: 

Buying or building a new home (including a house, flat, unit, townhouse or apartment) in South Australia; and that home will be your principal place of residence 

 The market value of the property must be $575,000 or less 


The Australian Government has announced a grant of $25,000 for eligible owner-occupiers to build a new home or substantially renovate an existing home 

The HomeBuilder grant is funded by the Commonwealth Government and administered in the Northern Territory by the Territory Revenue Office (TRO)   

The Australian first home buyers grant or scheme are subject to the laws in each state and territory 


A $10,000 First Home Owner Grant (FHOG) is available when you buy or build your first new home 

To qualify as a first home buyer, you must be purchasing the first home you or your spouse have owned or co-owned in Australia, although there are some exceptions. 

You must also move into the property within 12 months, and live there for at least six continuous months 


If your contract is dated 1 July 2018 or later, you can get the Queensland grant of $15,000 towards buying or building your new house, unit or townhouse (valued at less than $750,000) 

The grant is paid per new home; not to each of the applicants for the same home 


The grant is $10,000 or the consideration paid to buy or build the house if less than that amount 

If you are a first home owner, you may if you are purchasing or building a new home 


From 1 July 2019, more home buyers in the ACT will pay no duty, and they will have more freedom to buy the first home that's right for them 


A $20 000 first home owner grant is available to eligible applicants who purchase or build a new home in Tasmania between 1 July 2016 and 30 June 2022 (inclusive). 

​​A new home is a home that has not previously been occupied or sold as a place of residence and includes kit homes. 

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