How This Baby Boomer Bought Her First Home in 2017

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How This Baby Boomer Bought Her First Home in 2017

If you thought first home buyers were a couple of millennials in their 20s or early 30s who spent their days on Snapchat, ordering UberEATS and watching Netflix – think again.

We caught up with Gold Coast high school teacher Paula who just bought her first home in her 50’s. She has a great story to tell and some excellent tips for all first home buyers, no matter what your age is. 

Hi Paula, tell us a bit about yourself.

"Hi, I’m Paula. I’ve been a high school teacher on the Gold Coast for 17 years now, and I just bought my first home with my son in Elanora. "

You were renting before you bought a home?

"Yes. I was really lucky. I always had good landlords and good property managers to deal with.
Really the biggest dilemma for me about renting was paying someone else’s mortgage. But it was so hard to think about getting a deposit to buy a home. When I was younger I was busy raising 5 kids by myself, working as a teacher aide while going to university to get my education degree. I never thought I could buy a house. I never thought I would own my own home, I thought I would be an old lady still renting. "

What changed? What made you decide to buy a home?

"My eldest son came up with the idea 2 years ago. One day he just said “Hey mum, do you want to buy a house together?” He’s very responsible and when he sets his mind to something he can do anything. It was really the first time I ever thought I would be able to buy a home.

When my grandson came along it motivated me to save even more. My kids are very independent and I didn’t want to be a burden on them when I was older. I would of course have no problem with them living with me, but I didn’t want to move in with them and their kids, and be in their way. So I started saving like crazy! "

How did you feel shopping around for your new home?

"I was scared! Buying a home is a big thing and I didn’t know anything about it. I didn’t even really know anyone that had bought a home recently. It was a big learning curve. Even just searching for a home - I was very old-school going around to the local real estate agents to look at the properties for sale in the window before my kids told me about "

Why did you choose Elanora?

"We knew we wanted to buy a 3 bedroom house. I was originally ok with a duplex but my son was adamant we buy a house and as I learnt more about what was involved with all the body corporate rules for duplexes I’m glad my son talked me out of it.

I originally started looking locally in Miami but then my grandson was born and I discovered Elanora where my daughter lives. I really grew to like the area just walking with the baby around the streets. So I started researching the suburb online in terms of the market growth, demographics, facilities, public transport – and it really started to appeal. That’s when I started going to open homes in the area to see what was out there.

When I first walked into Kaffia Court in Elanora I said to my daughter, “This is the one!” I was so excited. And my daughter kept shushing me so I wouldn’t give away how much I wanted to the home. It was perfect and I’m so happy that we bought it. "

How hard was it going through the process of buying a house?

How this Baby Boomer Bought Her First Home in 2017"The process of finding the house was harder than actually buying the house. It was really hard. Even though we knew what we were looking for, we kept getting knocked back. I put in two offers on two different properties, and in hindsight I’m glad I didn’t get either of them; but some days I thought I would never get there and never find the right place.

The process of buying the house was very easy. There were a lot of things I didn’t know when I first started out. I didn’t know what legal documents I needed or what a building and pest inspection was or if I needed a conveyancer or solicitor. But after two years of looking for a place to buy, I had learnt a lot from the internet, talking to banks and just talking to real estate agents; so when it actually came time to sign the contract it was all much easier than I ever thought it would be. "

What advice would you give someone looking for their first home?

"Don’t ever give up. Even when it’s the 4th open house you’ve been to that day and you’ve got cleaning to do at home, just don’t give up. Also, find a real estate agent with big smile and don’t be scared to ask lots and lots of questions like, what’s the cooling off period and what does conditional and unconditional mean? Some real estate agents very obviously don’t care about you and don’t have time to answer your questions or get back to you, so if they’re like that just walk away and find someone who will listen and talk to you.

Also, just tell as many people as possible that you’re looking for a house. In the beginning I didn’t tell anyone, but then I started telling people at work and obviously my friends and family and you can learn a lot from talking to people and hearing their experiences.

I also loved the and apps which sent me property alerts when new 3 bedroom houses in Elanora came to the market. Those were really helpful. I also followed some real estate agents on Facebook to keep up to date. There is so much information out there, and it’s not hard to find.

You will spend a lot of time looking and looking and looking, but it’s so worth it. I never thought I was going to get there and I’m just so happy I did. Thanks to my son of course, and Maarty who was such a big help. The only problem now is my kids don’t know what to get me for birthday and Christmas presents now. Buying your mother a house is not easy to top! I’m really lucky."

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