The Preest Journal: buying our first home

Housing Market Written by Alisha Preest, Jan 18 2018

First home hunters: you’re probably used to seeing news articles about how ‘this successful young couple managed to buy a house in Auckland because their daddy owns a boat, not to mention a truckload of cash which made up 80% of the deposit. What? Sure, if that option is available, then we're stoked for them - it certainly helps in a tough market. But we know that many people aren’t quite so fortunate.

It's also nice to hear about the couple that worked hard, saved, got disheartened by the state of the property market but kept at it and eventually found the one - flaws and all - and what's more, managed to buy it. That’s reality. And that’s what this mini-series is about. Dominic and Alisha Preest are a couple in their twenties, who, with a helping hand from Squirrel, managed to achieve their goal. We were delighted to help them through the process of buying, and then arranging and structuring their mortgage. But their journey is so much bigger than that. How did it feel? What happens next? Through the eyes of a recent first home buyer, here is Alisha’s first blog:

We bought a house!

It still doesn’t feel real, even though we have been living in it for two weeks now. I can’t quite wrap my head around the fact that we own it and we can do whatever we like to it. Dom seems to have fully grasped that idea though. He has already taken to the garage with a crow bar and I can hear the drill going as I am typing this (that sounds much more intense than it is, we will still have a garage at the end of the day).

It is on the Hibiscus Coast, which admittedly is pretty far out on the fringe of Auckland, but was one of the biggest draw cards of the property. We are loving the location, even if my commute is a little longer. We can actually walk down to the beach, which for Auckland, is bloody amazing when you are a first home buyer (it is part of the reason why the Hibiscus coast is so great and is growing so quickly).

It was not a particularly fun process looking for a house. The whole thing got a bit disheartening when everything we loved was well above our price range, and everything in our price range was well below the standards of what we wanted. I’m talking mouldy, cold, tiny little places that we wouldn’t even rent.

Then there were all the news stories about how others had done it involving tales of giving up avocados (and other simple life pleasures), being gifted large sums of cash monies by relatives and living rent free for ten million years with said parents. We didn’t do any of that. However, in the interest of full disclosure we did rent from my in-laws so, we got a little ‘discount’ I guess you could call it. Although, I’m not sure that we are in the good books any more since the garden has gone from being something out of “pride and prejudice” to a bit more in the style of “the jungle book”. That garden was basically my mother-in-law’s fourth child.

But we did it eventually. It’s a 60’s house, which was redone in the 2000’s, so safe to say it needs a bit of an update. I mean, it’s not too terrible (aside from the bathrooms, you just wait), but everything is a bit brown and beige and green. Also, the tenants really didn’t care for it that well. With the amount of scratches on the walls and floors you would think they just dragged knives around for the fun of it. AND they left us dirty dishes in the dishwasher! Who even does that. I have no words.

I thought I would start this blog as a way for me to document the process of renovating our first home, along with other general life happenings. It is going to be very DIY and very much on a budget. To give you an idea of just how DIY my hubby can be, some recent things he has said to me are: “we can just re-gib the place ourselves” and “if we need more garage space we could always dig out further under the house”. He is an engineer, and a perfectionist, so anything he did do would be done well. But still, I vetoed that last idea pretty bloody quickly!

I would love you to follow along with the reno, and all of Dom’s big plans! I will also be posting some photos soon of the ugliest bathroom vanities known to man.

Alisha x

This blog was written by Alisha Preest and has been used with her permission. You can view the original post here.

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