Real Accounts: Maddy Talks Falling in Love with Her Rental & Making it Her Own

Name: Maddy
Location: Sydney
Occupation: HR Manager
Age: 27

When it comes to saving, spending and lending, everyone’s got a story to tell. In our new series Real Accounts, we talk to different millennials about their (very) personal finance experiences and some of the key lessons they’ve learned along the way.

This week we chat to Maddy, who successfully started buying her first home back in Australia, while on holiday in Europe. It was the unit she’d been renting and had already fallen in love with.

I had just turned twenty-seven when my first money borrowing experience began. I was in Paris on the final leg of my (very expensive) five-week European holiday, when I received an email from my real estate agent, informing me that my apartment was about to be put on the market. I had moved in about six months prior and was absolutely in love with the property.

The property was scheduled to go to auction in a few weeks' time. I had to move quickly! I needed to organise group certificates, lodge tax returns, make appointments with the bank, lawyers, and do market research - all while questioning if I was doing the right thing and stressing about the biggest financial decision of my life.

I took out a personal home loan, so that I could try to purchase the property. A pretty scary thought for a single, 27 year old who had just dropped a large amount of savings on an extravagant European holiday (when in Rome, right?).

I felt excited and relieved when I got the money, but also terrified and quite anxious. My finance was approved just days before I was due to settle on the property - and I knew if for some reason, the approval failed, I would be liable to pay a hefty fee for each day that I couldn’t come up with the money.

I hardly had any knowledge of the property market or financial services at the time, and I relied heavily on my Mum to give me advice. Finance is such a personal thing, so it’s not something I often speak to my friends about.

I put an offer in for the apartment a week before it was due to go to auction. It was the most stressful email I have ever written. I remember sitting there Googling “if you make an offer on a house in writing do you have to go through with it?” Obviously not, but I didn’t know that! Because the offer was placed before auction, it meant that I also had to waive my ‘cooling off period’, meaning there was no wiggle room to change my mind. SCARY!

Once we had exchanged, I felt a huge sense of relief and pride. I have changed my spending habits now that I am making repayments and paying rates and fees, but it feels really good to know that I’m no longer throwing money away on rent.

Here are three things I learned:
  • That I didn’t know nearly as much as I should have about finance, and I wish I had educated myself earlier
  • It pays off to be honest with yourself about your finances - educate yourself and hold yourself accountable, it will help you reach your goals in the long run
  • It’s important to ask questions and write things down, get a second opinion.