I bought my first house at the ripe young age of 35 and even then it was under protest. I was single, had a good job and was pretty much financially secure. At least I thought I was – my view was that investing my money in travel and shoes was all the wealth I needed.

This is not to say I hadn’t invested in other things. I ventured into commercial property in my late teens in partnership with my father and brothers, I started a share portfolio in my early twenties and I established a well structure self-managed super fund in my early thirties. Looking back now I realise I had always invested money by leveraging off the experience of others. But buying a house was a different kettle of fish. I was actually doing this on my own.

My first step was to go to my bank and ask what they would lend me. They were helpful and said told me what I could afford to repay. It was only when I read the fine print that I realised that pretty much because I was a single female and therefore a ‘risk’ I had to take out mortgage insurance even though I was putting down a 20percent deposit. Mistake number one, was not to seek out a broker who could give me an overview of options, explain the fine print and spend the time to work out what would be best for me at this point.

Armed with a ‘virtual cheque’ I started the house hunt. Mistake number two – I actually hate house hunting and I should never have gone out on my own. I got talked into viewing properties that were nothing like I wanted. Or at least thought I wanted. This was the next mistake – I thought I understood what made a property valuable. It turned out I didn’t.

I walked into a house in a good suburb and asked why the wall was moving. When I got a bit closer, it turned out to be a family of possums who had broken through the wall and no one had bothered to fix it.

The next house was absolutely gorgeous on the outside and then I walked into the living area – looked up and there was no roof. No, it wasn’t a new approach to open planning; the house wasn’t finished and no one bothered to tell me!

Then there was the house that got away. It was a beautiful house in a great central suburb and it was going to auction. I got to within $5k of the winning bid. If I had followed the bidding I still would have been under budget. But buying at auction was stressful. With the agent pushing me and the crowd egging me on I froze. I really regret missing out on that house and firmly believe that if I had worked with a broker who had taken a bit more time to get to know me and my risk profile and had talked me through the different options for purchasing, I probably would be living in my gorgeous house in Campbell even if it did have a black and pink bathroom and vomit coloured wallpaper in the kitchen.

 

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