As with most couples after getting married, Hubby and I started saving up for a deposit to buy our first home together. We didn’t have grand plan for a house – just somewhere in the Inner West, big enough to eventually have a few kids later on in and with a back yard so I could finally have my veggie patch and get a dog.
As we got closer to saving 10% of what we thought we could get a house for and was comfortable borrowing, we enlisted the help of Aussie Home Loan Mortgage brokers in Newtown to find us a suitable mortgage and then started trawling through the Saturday papers, Tuesday’s Inner West Domain lift out and attending some open houses just to get an idea of what it costs to buy a house that ticked our checklist. And boy, we realised quite quickly that we were WAY off the mark. It seemed most of Sydney had cottoned-on to what a magnificent area the Inner West is. We always knew areas like Stanmore, Petersham, Leichhardt, Summer Hill were out of our league, but now, so too was Dulwich Hill, Marrickville, St Peters and Sydenham. Houses that we inspected and we thought would sell for around high $500,000s, were selling for around $50,000+ more.
We went to one auction in Hurlstone Park where we thought the house (3 bedroom, Federation house, large block) would sell at the high $700,000s, the vendors were asking for around $850,000. The auctioned stalled at $900,000, and then shot to $1,050,000. Un-friggen-believable! Everyone at the auction was shocked. Yes, it was recently renovated, but geez, $1.05 million?!?
So we thought we’d either have to re-examine our checklist and see what compromises we were willing to make or broaden our location search. We weren’t really prepared to make compromises to our list, it wasn’t too much to ask was it – 2 or 3 bedrooms, car spot, back yard, sound roof and plumbing?? So we started looking further afield – Campsie, Arncliffe, Botany, Rockdale, Belmore. Then before we knew it we were looking at Kingsgrove, Beverly Hills, Punchbowl and Lakemba. The house prices were less astronomical, but we’d still need to put a lot of work into the houses.
Then in November we were talking to a cousin of mine, J and his wife, L who used to live on our street in Dulwich Hill. We were telling them of our housing woes and they said they’d done exactly the same thing. L had grown up in Dulwich Hill and always wanted to stay in the area. But when it came time to purchase a house and sell their apartment, they looked around Dulwich Hill, Marrickville, then broadening the search to Bexley and Belmore. Then they came across Prestons (South West Sydney) with a affordable houses and a big backyard and lots of room to grow and not too far from the City on the M5.
And with that, they planted the seed in our head. First we started looking at houses in Prestons and we couldn’t believe how much we could get for our money – huge 4 bedroom, 2 storey houses, for less than $500,000. From there we started looking at home and land packages and in the process stumbled onto the display village of Metricon Homes. They are new to the Sydney region, but have been building houses in Melbourne for the past 30 years. We really loved their contemporary and modern house designs and layout. We found the finishes on the display houses were impeccable. In particular, we fell in love with their Milano 30 house – a single storey, 4 bedroom, double garage house.
We were so keen to jump right it and sign on the dotted line. But before we did, we thought we should research further and check out some of the other display houses such as Parkbridge in nearby Middleton Grange and Homeworld in Kellyville. But none of the other builders we looked at compared in terms of style and finish to the display houses of Metricon. So that pretty much made our decision. Now we just had to find a piece of land to put the house on.
This is when we were starting to panic. We knew what size of land we needed to fit the house on, it was just a matter of finding it in suburb and at a price we wanted. We had already been pre-approved for a mortgage and we really didn’t want to borrow more than that because at the end of the day, you need some work/life/mortgage balance. A girl’s gotta have a holiday every few years (even if it’s just a few days away at the Central Coast!)
Luckily, just as we were looking at the prospect of buying land further down south of Sydney (think Camden ) we found out about a land release by Landcom in Edmondson Park, right next to Prestons. The new estate, Talana was in the process of the 1st stage of sales so we had to sign up for the next stage. We kept in close contact with the salesperson and a week and a half later (late November) we found out one of the lots of land sold in the 1st stage had forfeited and was back on for sale – Yay for us!!
So we put down the $300 deposit to secure the land and quickly took the draft plan of the land to show Metricon to make sure it was a suitable size and shape. They said it was A-Ok. So straight away, we paid Metricon $1000 to secure the promotion packages they were having at the time and enlisted in the help of a conveyancer to look after the purchase of the land.
So fast-forward to the present, and we’re currently (STILL) waiting for settlement on the land. This is due to happen at the end of February. In the meantime, we’ve had our first meeting with Metricon head office to go through the preliminary contract and finalising the structure of the house. Next meeting in the beginning of March, is when we receive our actual contract and decide on the external colours and façade of the house.
I’m a little excited, but I don’t think I’ll get really excited until it’s time to move in. Until then, I will keep blogging about the process hopefully with lots of progress photos