After spending her entire life living at home with family, Jo was eager to find her independence. By searching a little further afield, she found herself the perfect place and secured the keys - all on her own.
For digital marketing consultant and fashion aficionado Jo, buying her own home was a decision driven by the desire for freedom.
Though Jo admits she is incredibly lucky and privileged to have been able to live with her parents and save money to put towards a house deposit, ultimately, she was ready to begin this new chapter of her life.
"While [my parents] have provided so much for me, and helped shape the person I am, I didn't realise that living with them, you don't really get the chance to form your full identity,” shares Jo.
And so, her property search began. Like many first-home buyers, figuring out what she could actually afford was a process of trial and error. In fact, Jo is radically honest about the challenges she faced with navigating her expectations, Sydney’s hot property market and her budget.
“I really dug myself a hole because I was constantly looking at suburbs closer to the water. That’s why it took me three years to buy because I wasn’t being realistic about my budget or thinking through what paying the mortgage on a monthly basis would be like.” - Jo
Every Saturday, she attended open houses and inspections, knocking elbows with countless others desperate to crack into the ultra-competitive property market.
Each listing came and went, well outside her budget. Soon, Jo found her options narrowing significantly until there was little to choose from. As she explains, the home-buying process proved to be a challenging experience, “I’m a perfectionist and idealistic!” she laughs.
With COVID continuing to drive property prices to record highs, Jo decided she needed to take a break and broaden her search when she returned. First, she began looking in some of the suburbs that were close to where she grew up. In doing so, she realised that her dream of finding independence with the purchase of her own home felt more achievable and within reach.
“This is actually better,” she thought at the time, “because then I don’t need to live on baked beans and instant noodles every day. I can actually have and maintain my lifestyle, and own my own place.”
After attending inspections and viewing countless properties for three years, Jo knew what she did and didn’t like. "I felt like I learnt so much about property, housing and this industry because I spent every Saturday for the past three years doing it."
When she came across her two-bedroom, one-bathroom garage unit in Eastwood, she knew immediately she’d found the one. But she also knew she had to act fast, as she had ‘never seen a place this popular before.’
Close to the train station and with an incredible floor plan, the property in question was sure to be a popular spot. Light-filled and with a well-maintained courtyard, the Eastwood unit ticked all of Jo’s boxes.
“I wasn’t asking for much: an office, close to the train station, and a garage. That’s it,” says Jo. “The floorplan just made sense, and the whole place felt so good. It’s really spacious and it’s very close to my parents.” she tells.
With a central location in the heart of Eastwood, she knew she had the freedom of coming and going as she pleased for her very sociable life, while remaining relatively close to her family.
For Jo, feeling supported throughout the entire home-buying process was crucial, especially as a solo first-home buyer (a massive accomplishment in and of itself). It all started when she “came along to a Wine & Wisdom night, and the rest happened so naturally… I felt like these are a really decent bunch of people,” Jo shares.
"I really appreciate that any time I had a silly question, any time I had any questions, or needed support with crunching numbers, Pure Finance was always there and always so informative and patient. The whole process was so seamless. When I got the home, that excitement that everyone had for me, with me, made it feel like I was doing this whole process with a bunch of friends." - Jo
It may have taken three years for Jo to buy, but her new home has granted her the independence she was hoping for. With a side hustle selling pre-loved designer clothing through her eBay store allowing her to tap into her love of fashion, it’s clear the decision is also one that’s seen her realise her full identity away from home.
While the space feels close to perfect the way it is, Jo has plans to eventually redo and update the kitchen in the years ahead. “It’s not a complete eyesore, but if I can refresh it with new tiles and cabinets, that will elevate the whole space, but I’m not in any hurry for it
Having her own place is exactly what Jo’s worked so hard to secure. The only thing that’s missing? “If I ever won the lotto, you would know because I would immediately get five dogs. A Schnauzer, a little grey Staffy, a Yorkshire Terrier, a Golden Retriever and a Jack Russell,” laughs Jo.
Jo’s top spots to eat and drink in Eastwood
Taste of Shunde, Eastwood: “They do a roasted goose that’s so juicy, it’s just better than any roasted duck.”
Looking to secure your first home and wondering what support is available? We’ve compiled a range of financial assistance grants and schemes available across Australia to help make your first home purchase that little bit easier.