finance

"8 women told me their best no-BS advice on buying a house.”

Homely
Thanks to our brand partner, Homely

The biggest purchase I’ve ever made is a pair of Gucci Loafers.           

I was going to buy them from the physical store, as I felt it would be a real Pretty Woman moment, but I ended up getting them online from a place that explained size conversions easily to me. 

Who knew a size 41 was a size ten? So, now that I’m an official grown-up that is actually on the hunt for a home, I turned to the internet to make it feel less overwhelming and more fabulous, which is how I discovered Homely

I’ve never bought a house before: remember, Gucci Loafers... biggest purchase ever? 

Honestly, I was feeling very overwhelmed. 

The decision is a lot more complex than choosing between a white pair of designer loafers or a black pair. Do I want a Liberace or an Anna Wintour vibe? 

Instead, I’m asking myself the really big questions. 

Do I want to live near the city in a Carrie Bradshaw-style apartment, or do I want to live further out in a Home Alone style home? (Can you tell I like pop culture?) 

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Which is why I like the Homely website so much. 

It shows me homes for sale in the goal suburbs I'd love to live in, but it also has no distracting ads on the website (so I don’t suddenly find myself buying Crocs, instead of looking up inspection times.) Don’t judge me, ugly shoes are in. 

It also lets me see the street view of the houses and apartments I'm interested in, so I don’t turn up only to realise that the price is so reasonable because the property is on the corner of two major intersecting highways. 

Each property has plenty of photos so I can spend some time deep-diving into every potential buy to get a better sense of the space and make sure it's just right.

Because property can be very overwhelming (the options are literally endless), my favourite thing about Homely is I’m able to curate collections of the homes I’m really interested in and share with my mates (and by mates, I mean my mum), to get their opinions or feedback. Or sometimes, just a reality check. (Mum said I can’t afford a waterfront property, which was hurtful.)

The other bonus is I now get alerts on my phone about the latest properties – or updates on the properties – I have saved... kind of like a dating app for homes. It just makes the entire process very easy and efficient. 

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This is huge for me because I’m not a very efficient person, so I welcome all the help. (I’m the kind of person that never charges my phone at night and can never find my keys.)

Homely has definitely made the process of property hunting feel a lot more doable, especially as someone who is completely fresh to the house-buying game. Their Suburb Reviews section, I've really gone down the rabbit hole on, as I've found it SO helpful already. 

They even have a Questions section on their website, which I'm obsessed with because you're able to basically ask the locals any of your burning questions. 

Questions you might think you’ll just be able find via a quick Google search, but in fact, you get like, 45 different answers and then you realise you're on an American website and you've just wasted an hour on a dead end. 

However, the other thing I’ve drawn on while searching for a home: other women’s advice. If there’s one thing women are good at (besides all the things), it’s sharing their knowledge. 

Here are 6 pieces of advice I've been given so far.

India, 31

“Don’t get emotionally invested in a house until you’ve signed on the dotted line, and also if you like a place? Sleep on it. Then make moves and decisions. If it is meant to be, it will happen.”

Doreen, 91

“You’re better to buy a smaller place in a suburb you love, than a big place in a suburb you don’t like. Buying a house is about buying into a suburb.”

Bridget, 29

“When buying a home, remember it doesn’t have to be forever, but it does need to be something that will work for the next few years. Your dream might be a big country homestead, but if you work in the city, that commute could be a killer. So for your first home, maybe a little city apartment that serves you well for now.”

Donna, 63

“Make sure to factor in the cost of everything you’ll need to make it a home. So that includes furniture! Don’t buy a house and end up having to use milk crates as seats. It might look chic at a trendy cafe in Newtown, but it’ll lead to back problems.”

Bec, 28 

“Research the area VERY well, and stick to your budget. Look at what similar properties in the area have sold for and don’t let yourself be pressured. Do the maths upfront: $40 extra a week may not sound like a lot, but it adds up quickly!"

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Ali, 27

“Look to see if the property is most definitely fire compliant, and ask your real estate agent about the neighbours and their average demographic. If you want to have parties, maybe moving in next to an elderly couple isn’t the best idea!”

Katie, 34

“If you fall in love with a property, make sure you consider technicalities. If it's an apartment or townhouse (so one of many), how much money does strata have in the kitty? Will it need a new bathroom or kitchen in five years? And read through old strata meeting report notes to flag any potential issues.”

Sarah, 34

“Don't think that the salary you have now is the same one you're going to have forever. So, if you can afford to spring for a house in a better location that needs a little work, definitely consider it. 

"That way, Future You can always save over time to make some tweaks to the house, just like Current You managed to put money aside for the house purchase while still paying for other expenses. There's sensible and then there's over cautious.”

I think the biggest takeaway about buying a place is that you need to consider what is practical for you, for now. 

For me, the biggest thing I’ve learned through my search is the more you look, the more you know. I’m definitely working out what I want, by realising exactly what I don’t want. 

I don’t want to live on the top floor of an apartment block with only stairs, because I’m lazy. 

I’m also not too keen on spending my weekends traipsing around properties that were always going to be unsuitable. 

Homely has been great for that, because it has allowed me to investigate so many properties without leaving my own home, which is helpful because I’m a tad lazy, remember? 

Not to mention the pandemic. 

Basically, buying a house is hard, but I know the first property I get to call my own will land in my lap sooner by knowing exactly where online to search for it.

I'm not looking for a mansion here, either. Just something big enough to comfortably house the Gucci Loafers.  

Find your dream home easier, faster and better than ever before with Homely. Spend less time searching, and more time doing the things you love.

Feature Image: Supplied.

Homely
Had enough of the house hunt overwhelm? Say goodbye to Saturdays driving to open homes that aren't right for you with Homely. Homely helps you find the perfect place to call home without leaving the house. Easy-to-use beautiful real estate search with no annoying ads, plus suburb reviews and local Q&A from real locals. Finding your perfect home just got easier. Visit homely.com.au to experience more than real estate.