Aesthetic v economical features of a home

Written by view.com.au in Buying on January 16, 2015

Aesthetic v economical features of a home


When you’re wandering the hallway of the open home and determining whether it suits your tastes, it’s less likely you’ll be thinking about how economical it is upfront. Yet it’s becoming an increasing consideration for homeowners as bills continue to rise and energy efficiency is now in more demand than ever before.

There are a number of ways that economical thinking can save you funds in the long run:

  1. Potential to renovate yourself and build your own equity
  2. Durability of materials can sometimes save you funds over the look of the home
  3. Energy saving and similar initiatives can save you funds in your regular bills

Aesthetics are largely in the eye of the beholder and it’s worth considering prior to purchasing how the next buyer will consider the home when it comes time for you to sell – the archways that you thought were pleasing could well be out of fashion. While some styles do come and go and it’s likely you will do updates to the home yourself after buying, some property features can better stand the test of time and minimise your outlay.

 

If you are looking for a home with the minimal amount of work that balances aesthetics with economical features, consider these four things initially:

  1. Neutral colour tones
  2. Easily altered displeasing visual aspects (walls can be rendered, wallpaper can be stripped off)
  3. A strong floorplan
  4. Airy rooms with natural light

 

Not all trade offs should be made and there are some areas of the home where your taste and the aesthetics of the property will, for some, be worthwhile. When building a home from scratch you may find that it is actually financially more viable upfront to use cheaper products however in the long run the more durable products may work out cheaper. However given the different requirements of each prospective buyer let’s assume that you are considering purchasing an established property.
Here are a number of features to consider for bill savings and to avoid future costs as you take a quick tour around an open home. Remember, many of these can be implemented yourself, however some initiatives can be expensive to install. Receive quotes prior to purchasing.

 

Kitchen

When looking at the kitchen, it’s worth remembering that some renovations can be done with minimal effort to make a visual impact. For instance, if the bones are strong and the layout is correct then you may be able to replace or paint the cupboard doors and update the tap ware. Do also remember that the more expensive and upmarket the appliances, the higher the cost of servicing. However, if they are more renowned then there may be extra warranties that come with the item and they may be well known for their durability. Each aspect should be taken on its merits.

 

To reduce your future bills, consider looking for:

  • AAA-rate or equivalent appliances
  • Water efficient tapware
  • Strong Minimum Energy Performance Standards (the labels should be viewable and you can use these to compare with other models)
  • Energy efficient gas cooking appliances

 

Bathroom and laundry

When viewing the bathroom and laundry it’s also worth knowing that small fixes can make a lot of difference. While re-plumbing does have the potential to cost you a substantial amount, changing the toilet cistern, adding a mirror and tile painting can make a bathroom look almost brand new. Understand how extra features, such as a heated towel rack or underfloor tile heating, will affect your overall bills.

To reduce your future bills, consider looking for:

  • Water saving shower head
  • Energy efficient laundry appliances
  • Dual flush cistern on toilet

 

Gardens

 

Gardens are easily improved upon, however shrubs and plants can be costly to both purchase and maintain. Depending on your climate, it’s worth considering drought resistant plants and lawn to keep the yard low-maintenance.
A note about swimming pools: If you are looking to keep costs low then a swimming pool isn’t always your best bet. With regularly cleaning required, the purchase of products and chemicals, water top ups and often electricity to run the pump, it is often estimated to cost around $1,000 per annum to maintain. Unless this is a luxury you really cannot do without, it pays to weigh up your use of it versus the outgoings.

 

General household considerations

Look for robust flooring in highly trafficked areas. For instance, tiles may be a good option for hallways and areas that lead to outside doors. This will lead to fewer replacement costs in the long run.

 

To reduce your future bills, consider looking for:

  • Insulation (in the walls, around pipes and in the roof)
  • Solar electricity power or solar water heating
  • Rainwater tank
  • Blinds and double glazing: These can also act as an insulation device and they can provide some protection from noise. Ensure the windows can be opened so that you can use the natural air flow to cool your house when necessary.
  • Energy efficient lighting (including sensors on outdoor lights and solar powered lights)
  • Heating and air conditioning with a timer or energy efficiency measure attached

 

Garaging
An often forgotten part of the home buying process that can save you money is to consider looking for a property with a secure garage. This will not only often lower your insurance premium and provide you added security, but it will also likely make your home more desirable in the future as parking becomes increasingly scarce.

 

In some situations it may be worth forgoing other more visually beautiful aspects to ensure that you have practical storage and parking space.

 

When considering each feature remember to compare the cost of acquisition versus how much you manage to save over the time of ownership. Often it’s now the case that bill friendly and durable options can be increasingly aesthetically beautiful. It’s up to you to determine what is most important in the home.