Sheree and hubby Michael moved to the NSW north coast to buy a home for their family, which includes three children.
I grew up with my parents always saying “buy, buy, buy”. Home ownership was always viewed as something important and something to aspire to. I took it for granted that I’d grow up and buy a house. Renting just didn’t make sense to me and Michael was the same.
We bought our first home together in Orange, NSW, after we got engaged. We sold it in 2004 because Michael’s work in the NSW Police Force took us to Sydney. We rented in Sydney for four years because we couldn’t afford to buy where we wanted.
Renting was such a roller-coaster and we hated it because the thought of paying off someone else’s house was just awful. Rent money is dead money for us and having once been homeowners, the feeling of paying rent wasn’t good!
We couldn’t hang a picture or paint a wall… with renting, there’s always the feeling that the place is never really yours.
When our first child, Cooper, was born in 2008, we bought little a two-bedroom unit in Sydney’s south. We sold that flat a year later because I was expecting the twins, and we reluctantly returned to renting.
Eight months ago, though, we moved into a home we built in Nelson Bay on the NSW north coast. It’s amazing – it has four bedrooms, a study, a media room and a yard for the kids. It’s brand new and it’s all ours!
We see owning a home as a great example for our children, just as my parents did for me. Having a mortgage is ‘good debt’ and it gives you flexibility. If we pay our home off, when the time comes we can look at things like helping our kids with university, because we’ll have equity. Where would a mum and dad find $50,000 to send their child to uni if they wanted to help him when they’re in their 50s? Our mortgage gives us the option to be a guarantor for our kids and kick-start their property dreams.
Vicky and husband William are renters. The couple – who have two girls.
I first came to Australia from the UK in 1999 and rented until 2007, when William and I found out I was pregnant with Caitlin. The mentality, both here and in the UK, is that you must own a home if you have a family. So we thought we had to buy! We’d been renting in Sydney’s inner west and looked around there to buy, but we couldn’t afford what we liked. So we looked on the northern beaches and ended up buying a home there.
We sold our place on the northern beaches a short time later because we weren’t happy there and went back to renting. It was the best way to ‘try’ areas with little commitment. We found a great place a few suburbs away and are still there today. It’s right near the beach and we have a great lifestyle there.
We continued to rent because we found it was just easier than having a mortgage. If the dishwasher breaks down, you pick up the phone, report it and it’s fixed. You don’t have to spend valuable time calling around for quotes. I have two young kids and run an online store, so my time is extremely valuable.
The other thing we love about renting is that is gives us financial flexibility. We pay less than half our old mortgage. With all that extra money we were able to go to Fiji recently and have put Caitlin in a private preschool. She’ll also go to a private school. I don’t think we’d have been able to do that
if we were paying off a mortgage.
We don’t see rent as ‘dead money’ because you have to pay to live somewhere anyway. We pay to have lifestyle advantages we enjoy.