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First home buyer case study

First home buyer case study

By Sarah Lefebvre on Jun 27 2017

A first home buyer's journey

In our new home buying series, we would like you to meet Michelle, and join us on a journey with her as she embarks on one of the greatest journeys in life - buying a first home. 

What are your enduring childhood memories? We all have formative experiences that lodge themselves in our memory bank, rising to the fore months, years, and even decades later. These fragments of our younger years can be a cherished reminder of what life was like when we were carefree children, and for some people it can inform the rest of their life.

For Michelle Moore, that enduring piece of her childhood was the ocean. Despite a fear of actually being in seawater, being near the ocean is something she has known ever since her family moved to Port Macquarie at age six - and it's stuck with her since.

Her parents built a home on the north coast there, and even now, as she prepares to enter her thirties, it is somewhere she can always come back to. Maybe that's why, as Michelle embarks on the path to home ownership, she has to have it near the ocean.

Moving and shaking

Michelle moved out of home when she was 18, to go to business school in Newcastle, where she studied tourism and hospitality. After living in a cottage house with two other girls during the course of her studies, she was drawn back to Port Macquarie - this time, living in a shared home.

She recalled this home as a party house, with a revolving cast of guests and "a front yard that looked like a used car lot". But upon meeting her then-boyfriend, Michelle started to look elsewhere, and got her first taste of living in a more stable environment when they moved into an apartment together.

"That was the point of no return - living on our own," she says. "Once you don't have to share spaces with other people, and you just do your own cleaning and living, you really don't want to go back".

So when the relationship came to an end, rather than opt for a flatting situation again, Michelle returned to the coastal comforts of her family home.

Save to make a living

Making the move back home proved to work well for Michelle. "They would never charge me rent, as long as I was saving," she says of her parents. So by saving roughly what she would have paid in rent, Michelle was able to build up a healthy balance for the future.

It was during this time that she met her current partner, Luke. Touring in a successful band across the east coast with Michelle's brother, they stayed at the Moore family home. Having recently been given a guitar herself, they struck a chord with each other and a relationship was born.

After approximately a year of going long-distance between Port Macquarie and Luke's home of Sydney, she decided to make a move to the Harbour City. As it made more sense for Luke to live at home while his band toured and especially given increasing rental prices there, she lived with Luke's family for six months until they decided to move to a new home together.

As always, they were drawn to the ocean. Luke's passion for surfing and Michelle's passion for both the seaside and photography brought them to a Cronulla apartment, which was but a short walk from Michelle's job and, most importantly, was their own.

"It felt good to have a sanctuary again," Michelle says. "It was right on the park, right on the beach, just what we wanted".

A dream begins

However, after beginning work at the LJ Hooker corporate office in Alexandria, their needs began to change. While they both had significant savings from their respective times at home, Michelle and
Luke also needed to be near transport infrastructure. After moving to central Cronulla, they began to look at the idea of buying a property.

"While we aren't comfortable with the traditional get married and have kids bit right away, we do both have a goal of home ownership - that traditional Australian dream," Michelle said.

So, with their eyes firmly planted on the future and their hearts set on the seaside, Michelle and Luke decided to buy a home. But this is just the first step on a long path - check back to see how the story unfolds.

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