Single women a growing trend in first home buyers market
Gemma Thompson (28) found her block and decided to build her first house at Peet Limited’s Hilbert Park estate in the space of just two days. Being involved in equestrian for most of her life, Gemma was really taken by the location of Hilbert Park – which is close to her horse Mitch at Darling Downs Equestrian Centre.
“It was actually all quite spontaneous – I sent a few emails, a few people called back and I just found Jack from Affordable Living really easy to deal with,” Gemma explained.
“We literally sat down on a Saturday and the next day we went to look at block at Hilbert Park that I had kind of already picked off the plan before going out there.”
“When you’re a horse person, you don’t end up with much other spare time – I work 10 to 12 hour days and when I’m not at work I’m visiting and riding my horse Mitch. It really is a cycle of work, horse, work, horse.
“Being near the Darling Downs Equestrian Centre was a big draw card. It means Mitch can be close-by which is very important to me.”
Gemma is not afraid of hard work. She works in retail management – for a company that owns IGA supermarkets across WA and the NT - and often spends months in regional Western Australia and the Northern Territory – taking her horse Mitch and two cats, Monty and Lola with her in her two horse float! After spending a number of years working with thoroughbred race horses – a dream job for Gemma, she realised she couldn’t buy a house on that wage so with a change of career came the opportunity to put down some roots.
“Buying a house had always been something in the back of my mind but I hadn’t quite made a decision about it. I ended up realising I needed to make the most of my current position and think about the future and where I would like my ‘home’ to be.”
Gemma’s three bedroom, one bathroom home should take 12 months to complete. And while she might not always be there after she’s moved in, she’s looking to get a friend to move in so her home is not empty when she’s away for work. As a first home buyer, Gemma is making the most of the First Home Owners Grant and has a sensible and disciplined approach to saving – pretending she was already paying a mortgage and transferring money each pay day into a saver account. She also cut back on buying lunches and limiting unnecessary spending on new clothes and general items.
“As for savings, my approach was to pretend I was already paying a mortgage, so the first thing I did each pay day was transfer a 'mortgage' payment straight into my saver account.
“This was good practice and discipline for when I have real repayments to make, I'm already in the habit of paying that amount of money each week and it being untouchable. Even now, while my repayments are small as construction hasn't started, I'm still saving the extra on top to go towards all the finishing touches when construction is complete.
“It's surprising how quickly it adds up. I am lucky enough that I don't have to pay any rent back home and have accommodation provided away at work so saving for a deposit was much quicker.
“Also cutting back on buying lunches at work and packing lunches from home saves so much money over time as does limiting unnecessary spending on new clothes and general items. If I see something I want, I'm not allowed to buy it until the next day. I have to sleep on it and make the effort to go back for it and decide if it's really necessary. Nine times out of ten I don't buy it and I have decided I didn't really need it enough.
“After each pay day, anything left over from the previous pay goes straight into the savings and I start all over again!”