We’re Building Our First Home: Part One

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Stevie and her partner decided that building was the right first step for them to get on the property ladder. This series is an insight into the reasons why and their struggles and joys along the way.

I come from a family of house-buyers-and-flippers. I'm the first one to build their first home (or any home to be exact) and that comes with its fair share of eyebrow raises at family get togethers. However, what shocks me is that more people in Wellington aren't doing it.

 

Believe it or not, our house buying journey actually started at Buyers Club at Velocity Financial.

 

My partner and I had been talking about buying our first home but put it on the back burner until we had more deposit saved up. After attending Buyers Club, we flirted with the idea of using our parents as guarantors for our deposit and started house hunting.

 

We considered everything—building, buying new and buying secondhand—but we were under the impression that buying secondhand would be the easiest and cheapest option.

 

The reality that Wellingtonians and Aucklanders are finding is that buying new and buying secondhand can be the same price, depending on the area you are looking.

 

Six months of house hunting, countless open homes and four failed attempts at trying to buy a property, we reached our limit for attending open homes. We were tired of spending our spare time going to open homes and scouring TradeMe for our dream home. We decided that October would be our last month of house hunting until the new year.

 

We had also come to two key conclusions by this stage of the house hunting process:

  1. To get the house we wanted, we would have to spend more money on a house than we had originally planned; and,

  2. We may not be living in the suburbs we originally had wanted to.

 

Discussing these revelations with everyone at work, the topic of a new build came up again, so we started hunting around. We found a few developments who were selling "turn-key" builds. What this means is that you sign up, pay a deposit and agree to buy the property when it has been built. This means that you aren't paying rent and a mortgage at the same time (which was perfect for us).

 

We found a development that was 20 minutes further out of town than originally desired but it would give us a warm, dry home with a ten-year warranty and it was so much bigger than we originally thought we could get.

 

More than that, we could use a ten per cent deposit and not have to use any parents as guarantors! We would also have the ability to save up as much money as we could before the build was complete. We travelled to the show home, looked around at the model home and signed up then and there.

 

In the last 10 months since we signed up, a lot has happened and not a lot has happened. We've finalised the plans of the property, picked out our colours and appliances and saved, saved, saved! There has been an array of emotions from excited about moving out of our damp rental to nervousness that our place won't be built before next winter. But our foundations have been laid and we can now see the finish line.

 

My one piece of advice through this process is this: Don't dismiss a new build just because it seems expensive or not in your perfect suburb or because you don't know anyone else doing it. Talk to someone who has done it and decide whether it could be right for you. You might just be surprised.