We are probably the only couple who never plan and go by doing things in the spur of the moment. Rewinding to 2018, It had only been 3 years since we moved to Australia after 2 years of almost travelling part time so naturally we did not have any plans of buying a house in Melbourne. With the growing trend of owning a house in Australia, we decided to cut the chase and dive into the investment market. To understand the process of buying a house in Melbourne, we had a chat with an amazing broker and were told to settle our 1 billion credit cards before we move forward. Fast forward to 2019, we were back in the investment market looking out for houses within our budget.
Some cheap houses for sale were too far from our workplaces thats close to the city, while some didn’t have the nice vibe, some had a dull vicinity. The one thing I was fairly certain was that we wouldn’t buy a house to renovate mainly due to the lack of confidence that we were capable of doing the hard labour as DIY home renovation amateurs or even the additional costs to get professionals to get the work done.
We love spending time in nature and the sweet relief it gives us. So naturally we were looking for a home to wake up to this every morning. So I had my preferences on the suburbs to look out for and off we started our search. After endless house search on Real Estate and Domain, we shortlisted a few house and checked out a bunch and the main element that caught us looking in all of the houses were the number of trees in the backyard. It just came naturally! So without a doubt we were going to buy a house in Melbourne suburbs.
Finally we further shortlisted a new-ish property (House #1) that looked cute from the outside and no renovation was required. But the interiors were too small for a growing family. We applied for the house anyway, got approval and went ahead with the bank paperwork! This was Subject to Finance. Then came a 2nd house (House #2) where we casually went for an inspection even though the listing mentioned it was going to be sold at an auction. Then the contemplation began. The question is how are we going to buy a house in Australia if we seriously can’t settle in with the choices + costs.
Buying A House in Melbourne
House #1 (New House with No Trees and Smaller Backyard – Boring) or House #2 (Old House with Trees and a Creek at the Foothills of a Mountain Range – Dream)
While we were waiting to complete the paperwork on house #1, we decided on casually checking out a house that was going out on Auction in a leafy suburb in Melbourne. Knowing we definitely wouldn’t nail an auction, we took a chance. Driving closer to the property (house #2), we could see the mountains up close. We walked past the property gate and there was this block of land with a house sitting majestically raised at the foothills of a mountain range well-known in Victoria. From the front patio we could see the mountains further away. It clearly wasn’t the house that drew us closer but the location.
Even before we walked in to see the interiors, our conversation with the agent went on discussing about interests from other buyers and and so on. As we entered the house, the 70s wallpaper and the dirty carpets didn’t really throw us off when normally it easily would. The real estate photos clearly showed the house was old but it did have a potential for temporary living if not a dream home. Buying a house in Melbourne was not just for an investment sake but also for living.
Walking towards the backyard, there is a deep Blind Creek (it’s actually the official name) that runs past the backyard separating the property from the neighbours, providing full privacy.
There was also a little potting shed built of green mesh that the previous owner had left behind. He seemed to have been a big time gardener. I already imagined that one day I would make this little shed into something pretty for all my plants and gardening (even though I had very little knowledge about gardening). I thought of all the basic updates we would do in and out, since all it needed was some TLC and we could live there for years until we’d build a new house from scratch in the same land.
I also thought of how much my family would enjoy just chilling in our massive backyard and the front porch, every time they came from overseas.
Initially, the thought of renovating with full time jobs and living in the house while updating seemed like a far cry. But now it seems like an option I could deal with. We didn’t own tools but we could invest in some and learn the renovation tricks along the way. Plus it would keep us busy during the weekends when we have no place to wander.
The Grand Call On Our 120 Year Old House in Melbourne Suburbs
All these dreams and the only thing stopping them from being real was getting through an auction and it was a clear shot no. Sadly proceeding with house #1 paperwork, the agent of house #2 seemed to have spoken to the owners about our keen interest on the property and in putting an offer without going through an auction. After a few phone calls and agreed terms and conditions, we were offered House #2.
Before proceeding with the paper work, we did a Building Inspection to check for termites and also to ensure the building wouldn’t fall apart anytime soon. The risky business was this wasn’t subject to finance as it was going through Auction so we had to be sure that the bank would definitely approve the loan and also the house was in a good condition. He said the house was in a great condition considering the age of the house. The previous owners had been living here for 40 years and there was a certain section of the house that they had extended and looks new while the rest of the house had been around for about 100 years.
It’s exciting that we nailed a location and a block that has huge potential for a beautiful new 2-storey build with mountain and sunset views if positioned well. And it’s only 35 minutes from the city. It is also overwhelming that the block has a house that is now our Fixer Upper project and we are embarking on a budget friendly DIY renovation keeping its original character. It is not a run down house but is a 100 year old house that needs updates to make it livable.
Stay tuned for my next post on all the ‘before’ shots of the house and also more DIY home renovation projects that doesn’t require professionals.
What is your opinion on buying a house in Melbourne? Have you renovated an old house before? Share some tips and tricks on the comments below.
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