– By Aimee Lucas
For as long as I can remember, all I wanted to do was to buy own home. I’m not sure if it stemmed from my parents, my older sister or perhaps it was just always a dream I had. I suppose, for me, it might have been the thought about the difference between having my own home I could treat as my own – not having to answer to a landlord, being able to make the changes I wanted to it – and not paying off someone else’s mortgage for them.
For a while, in my late teens and early 20’s, I did find it a little difficult to get the “balance” between spending and saving. However, having a specific goal in mind helped spur me on – as well as spending hundreds of dollars on rent each week! Once I got in a good routine of putting away my savings as soon as I got paid, I barely noticed the difference. I never found myself really having to go without anything else while saving for a house deposit, but then I had always worked full time since I was 18, and before that I’d worked part time since I was 14. I did make sure I was always conscious of my “ins and outs” on my bank accounts.
I think it’s as they say – slow and steady wins the race and four years ago I found I was finally in a position to start seriously looking at the housing market in Geelong. I sorted my pre-approval and was then like a dog with a bone – every day checking online, reading the leaflets dropped in my mailbox and going to open houses religiously!
After one vicious private bidding war for a house which I lost (possibly a blessing in disguise for my brother in law – it was right next door to their house!), I put in an offer on a house and it was accepted the same day! I was ecstatic – I’d offered what they’d asked for, I’d told them how much I’d saved for a deposit and it seemed perfect! Reality then set in and once speaking to my broker I realised that I hadn’t consider all the fee’s involved, conveyancing, building checks, etc.
The advice I’d give potential first home owners now would be to take your time and not rush into anything. Don’t make spur of moment decisions or any offers you may regret. I would never settle paying more than a home is worth just because you think you haven’t found something fast enough. I’d go in with a top price in mind that you’re willing to pay and stick to it! Make use of the settlement period and deposit you can offer – sometimes that can make the difference in you getting or losing the house. Make sure you’ve done your research, have your pre-approval in place and are thoroughly aware of everything involved before, during and after the process.
I suppose I was very lucky that for me in the end it worked out. The sellers accepted less of a deposit than I’d initially offered and my broker helped me get across the line with the borrowing I needed.
From the beginning it was all about setting that goal then taking the first set – although in hindsight I see how fortunate it was that it turned into a happy ending for me!
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