Most home buyers know what they want in a house – whether it's three bedrooms, a two-car garage, enough backyard for a full-sized cricket pitch, or all of the above – and that helps guide their house hunt.

Establishing your priorities early on in your property search can really save you time and help you make tough but pertinent appraisals of each place you see advertised.

Yet this doesn't just go for the property itself, as no home is an island!

The relative merits of different neighbourhoods and communities are just as important to consider when shopping for a place to live.

Most obviously, each time you step outside your new home you will be confronted with your new neighbourhood.

Depending on your preferences, what you want in your neighbourhood could make certain properties more desirable than others – even properties that bear no other differences than where they are located.

If you have young ones – or young ones on the way – being in the vicinity of good schools can pay off in the future, as can being close to parks, bike paths and other recreational facilities.

It is also good to think about amenities you may need to access. If you need to travel or commute a lot, having easy access to public transport will be a must.

And don't forget essential services. Some may like to be close to hospitals or a doctor's office, just in case – or to a pizza parlour in case of snacking emergencies!

Of course there is another area where establishing your specific needs early on is an excellent idea – your home finance.

A first home buyer loan deserves just as much consideration as a first property – don't settle for anything less than the right fit for you!

You can contact a Smartline Mortgage Adviser on 13 14 97 for home loan advice. Or complete our call request form and we’ll call you!

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DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article is correct at the time of publishing and is subject to change. It is intended to be of a general nature only. It has been prepared without taking into account any person’s objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this information, Smartline recommends that you consider whether it is appropriate for your circumstances. Smartline recommends that you seek independent legal, financial, and taxation advice before acting on any information in this article.