Buy, build, renovate

There are several options if you want to own your own home. You can buy an existing house or apartment, buy a home ‘off the plan’ that is not built yet, or design and build a home.

For any of these options, knowing what designs will suit your climate, as well as your lifestyle and budget, will help to ensure that it will be comfortable, healthy, energy efficient, and cost effective to run.

It is invaluable to know what features will add the most to your comfort, and what features can be added through renovation. Getting expert advice and services from designers and builders who are experienced in sustainable housing throughout the process will also help.

In this section

Preliminary research

It is a good idea to do your homework before you buy, build or renovate a home, to make sure the result will suit your climate, budget, and lifestyle, both now and in the future.


Affordability is not just about what you can pay now, but how to make sure your home is designed to save you money throughout its lifespan.

Building rating tools

Australia has several building rating tools that can help to assess and improve the performance of your home or design. You can use some yourself, or get expert advice.

Buying an existing home

Knowing what to look for will help to make sure the home you buy is energy efficient and comfortable, or that it can be cost-effectively renovated to deliver these outcomes.

Buying a home off the plan

Buying a home off the plan can be cheaper than other options, but can limit your choices. Find out how to adjust the design to improve your new home.

Buying an apartment

When buying an apartment, it pays to look at both the building and the apartment itself to ensure they are well designed.

Choosing and using a site

Whether buying or building, think about the features of both the location and the specific site, to make sure they will match the home you want.


Streetscape is the look and feel of the street, and how the buildings and open space work together to encourage community building.

Designing a home

With careful planning and expert advice, your home can be designed to suit your lifestyle exactly, and to deliver comfort and energy efficiency over the long term.

Building a home

Building a home involves several steps – choosing a builder, signing a contract, getting planning approval, construction, and handover.

Renovations and additions

There are many renovations you can make to your home to improve its performance and liveability – from simple changes you can make yourself, to more extensive upgrades.

Repairs and maintenance

A regular maintenance schedule will help to keep your home performing well and may avoid the need for larger repairs. Specific problems such as structural cracks and termite damage will need professional help.