Do You Need A Home Theatre?

theatre roomI keep reading articles about issues with the affordability of Australian houses. . . . . but then find lot’s of you want a ‘Media Room’ in your new houses!

So how much is a basic Home Theatre going to add to the cost of your new house?

Room Size

Room size if you are going to get a big screen tv say 75″ or a projector the experts say you really need to be around 3m away from the screen.

That means you are talking about a 4m x 4m room.

At ‘say’ $1,500/m2 the room alone is going to cost you around $24,000.

Fit Out

Again looking at a fairly basic system I have allowed the following:

  • $6,000 – TV and sound system, cabling, etc
  • $3,000 – Furniture, carpets, and lighting.

Of course if you really want to go to town you could spend Millions!

Overall Costs

So your basic home theatre is going to cost around $31,000!

Assuming you borrow the money the payments, at a  long term average of 7% over 25 years, amounts to:

  • $54 per week.
  • $240 pr month.
  • $2,880 per year.
  • or $72,000 over the full term.

Don’t forget all this is going to be in addition to a large TV in the family room, and probably another couple of TVs around the house!

In Conclusion

Well it’s up to you but, I’ve got to 60 and don’t feel that I have missed out by not having a home theatre.

In fact instead of over committing on houses  I was able to put more into my Super means I am now semi retired!


Don’t Agree? . . . Leave a Comment!


See Size for more posts


Will a Big House Make You Happy?

Inspired by a post on

Why do you, or your spouse, want a big house?

What are you trying to buy? . . . . . . Well most people think they are buying happiness.

  • Does you family really need that much room?
  • How may huge parties and family gathering are you going to have?
  • How long are you going to be able to bask in the ‘admiration’ of your friends?

When buying a bigger house than you really need you are just trying to buy feelings.

So how will you feel if you are:

  • Paying so much in mortgage you can’t afford a holiday?
  • Not having enough money to buy furniture for all those rooms?
  • Have to delay retirement because you are still paying for your house?
  • Hardly seeing the children because they have shut themselves away in those huge bedrooms?
  • Looking at rooms that are hardly used from one year to the next?
  • Worrying about how you will manage if the interest rate goes up?

Perhaps the house may become a constant drain on your happiness . . . . That’s always the risk when you buy what you would like, rather than what you need.


For more posts about planning a new home see Design


Access to Rear

With the narrow blocks that are becoming more common you see a lot of new houses built right to the side boundary on both sides.

In some cases that can’t be avoided, but I think there is a real advantage in buying a block with enough room for a path on at least one side of the house, preferably both sides.

Here’s some reasons why:

  • There will be extra costs for special wall and roof details, constructing foundations, and building walls on the boundary.
  • You might have ongoing property maintenance issues if you fall out with your neighbour.
  • If you need to do some gardening you can avoid taking top soil, plants and other dirty things through the garage, or even the house, if the garage doesn’t have a back door.
  • Many properties have drainage or sewerage easements with a Manhole (or in these politically correct time an access pit). If the council/water authority needs access you may need to take time off work rather than just leave a gate open for the day.
  • If you have a dog in the back yard then looking through a gate helps to stop them getting bored while you are out at work.
  • If you want a detached property why have it looking like a terrace?

Perhaps there are some advantages of building to the boundary. If you have found any let me know.

For more things to think about when buying a block see:

Guide to Buying a Block

Floor Space Ratio, or Plot Ratio

When you are buying a new house block it’s important you understand how much of the block you can build on!

One way in which NSW councils prevent Over development is by prescribing a ‘Floor Space Ration’ (FSR). The same principle applies in WA but is called ‘Plot Ratio’.

The FSR of buildings on a site is the ratio of  ‘Gross Floor Area’ to Total Site Area.

Gross Floor Area is defined as – The sum of the internal floor area of each floor of a building  measured at a height of 1.4 m above the floor.

It includes  habitable rooms in a basement or an attic.

It excludes:

  • Stairs
  • Voids above a floor in 2 storey properties.
  • Non habitable storage including basement areas
  • Vehicular access and car parking
  • Terraces / Balconies with outer walls less than 1.4 metres high, and

To calculate, you multiply the site area by the FSR ratio.

For example

For a 800sqm site and a FSR of 0.5:1

Maximum Floor Space = 800 x 0.5 =  400sqm.

See Restrictions for  more posts  about what you can do on your land



World’s Biggest Houses

New Australian homes are now the worlds biggest.

Here is a diagrammatic representation of the size compared with three other countries.

and here are the average home sizes  in square metres:















China (Urban Only)


Hong Kong



In the last 25 years while the size has increased by 10% while the average number of people per household has dropped from 2.7 to 2.6.

Instead of complaining about ‘Housing Affordability’ why aren’t we just building smaller houses?


See this post to see the size you need: How Much House?



Children’s Bedrooms

Some people want children’s bedrooms to be big!

I’m not so sure!

Reasons for Big Bedrooms

  • Room to play, study, have sleepovers and for all their stuff.
  • Room for adult children.
  • Better for resale value.

(Big for me is 9 square m or more.)

Reasons for Small Bedrooms

  • Discourage  children from staying in their rooms.
  • Encourage children to move out when they become adult.
  • Keep initial cost down.

(Less than 7 square m I would consider to be small)


Well both my children have left home and we have now living in an apartment which is too small for them to move back!

If I was building a house for children I would probably go more for the smaller bedrooms.

I think being able to supervise children and encourage them to be more social is worthwhile. Most houses now have rumpus rooms so that’s where the toys can be stored and sleepovers take place.

What do you think?


Whatever size of bedroom make sure that you have thought about the power points, one thing which is often neglected by builders. See this link: Electrical Planning – Secondary Bedrooms



When you are buying a block one of the issues that controls what you can put on a block is the Setbacks of the main structure.

Setbacks vary from council to council and can also vary between neighbourhoods in a council area.

To give you an idea here are typical Setbacks:

Street Setbacks

  • From the front title boundary the minimum setback is typically 5.0m, which is enough to park a car on the driveway.
  • In low density suburbs larger front setbacks may be required.
  • For older inner city suburbs the allowable front setback may be much less.(to match existing properties).
  • Side setbacks for corner blocks are generally less than the front setback, with 2.0m being typical.
  • Some councils will also have maximum setbacks,such as 1/3rd the total block length.

The following structures are usually permitted to project into setbacks:

  • Porches, verandahs and pergolas, with a maximum height of 3.6m.
  • Eaves, fascia, gutters, sunblinds, shade sails, and screens.
  • Decks, steps, or landings less than 800mm in height.

Side and Rear Setbacks to Adjoining Properties

Typical setbacks are:

  • Side 2.0m, plus 0.6m for every metre of height over 3.6m.
  • Rear 3.0m, plus 0.6m for every metre of height over 3.6m.

In addition to the encroachments mentioned above encroachments are also usually allowed for;  masonry chimney backs,  flues, pipes, fuel tanks, water tanks, and heating & cooling equipment.


Don’t want any setback?….see Building on Boundaries


Don’t Over Develop


I’ve heard people say that they have got the best house on the street……………………..but when you see it, its got the smallest garden, or sometimes no garden at all. They have overdeveloped and spent money they will never get back.

This photo shows one example. The house must be around 800-1,000sqm (say 100 squares). It would be twice the size of any of its neighbours.

Most people looking for a house expect a reasonable amount of garden for their children to run around in and room to have barbies in summer. Others want to grow veggies.

I certainly wouldn’t want to see a fence right in front of every downstairs window.

Remember at some stage every house is going to be sold.

If you overdevelop your block you are aren’t going to get as much interest in your home and less likely to get what you expect from the sale.

Signs of Over Development

Here are a few examples

  • Building a huge double storey house when all the surrounding houses are small singe storey.
  • The house is no more than 1 m from the side boundaries and no more than 2m from the back boundary.
  • A swimming pool fills the whole backyard.

Want to build a big house – make sure that you buy a big enough block to avoid falling into the over development trap. Don’t be like the owner of this house that’s been for sale for at least 6 months.

Have you ever been put off a house due to over development?


See Size for more posts on what you need.