A Gal's Guide to Buying a House

When we founded Girls Just Wanna Have Fund$, I had a few personal goals that I wanted to achieve. One of which was, drumroll please… buying a house.

So, given Girls Just Wanna Have Fund$ is all about creating a community in which we share insights, experiences and skills with a wider audience, here’s me sharing with you what I went through.

Think of it as a first home owner’s guide to buying a house. One I have broken down into the action pillars that undermine our Girls Just Wanna Have Fund$ community. 

1 | Adopting the Right Mindset

The thought of spending thousands of dollars on a house that I might never (or see!) was pretty ominous.

I’ve worked for a long time and have a good habit of saving a percentage of my monthly salary, meaning I had a sizable amount of cash ready to go. But where was I going to put it? What market? I had no idea how to start. Meaning that money was sitting still, with little growth. 

For years I had been putting off even learning about how to buy a house – tainted by others’ views of this asset class. I was fearful of decision making. I was anxious about where to buy, confused by the debate on yield on property vs. yield on other asset classes. Not to mention paying tax on a property. Tax sparks joy for no one!

"But it came down to a simple truth for me one day – I am a single 30 year old woman, who is financially independent and has the means to invest. By doing nothing, the only person I am hurting is myself."

Harsh – but honest. It was the ‘real-talk’ I needed to stop making excuses, shift my mindset and start. 

2 | Join the Conversation

One of my first steps to buying a house and becoming a homeowner, was to surround myself with people who knew more than I did on the topic. 

In my 30+ years on this earth, I’ve  observed that people are passionate about topics they are experts in. Plus, if they can see you're interested and motivated to learn, they’re happy to dive deeper and share. Be mindful though that you're the one, who needs to make the final decision. 

"Hot tip. If you are wanting to learn about investing in a particular topic, list out those who can help you and take them all for a coffee or lunch. Be specific about what you need help with and don’t waste their time." 

Through The Women’s Foundation, and Girls Just Wanna  Have Fund$, I was fortunate to have access to a collective of inspirational women. One in particular who took me under her  wing - you know who you are. So I took her on a money date, and took along my list…  

So, what to consider when buying a house for the first time? 

I wanted to talk about tax implications for buying a property in a country I didn’t live in

How depreciation works? Advantages of the property being cash positive vs. accumulating losses to offset future tax payments? Advantages of a trust structure vs. buying outright. 

I needed to know more about buyer’s agent and mortgage brokers...

What was their role? Was it beneficial to go through them? Put simply, if they are good, they can really help you find the best house deals and home loan rates - negotiating even further on your behalf in my experiences. Scrolling local forums is a good way to find and validate good agents...checking credentials is a hot tip too. 

I was curious what made house #1 a better investment than house #2?   

First up, area. In my instance, I was looking at tier two suburbs for a more favourable entry price. Think suburbs that are family friendly, close to schools, shops, and with future development plans. Second up? Have an idea of what you're after now, and with time. It might be the space to subdivide, build a granny flat or convert a second living area into another bedroom in the future, with the intention of adding value. 

3 | Take Action

There comes a point where you have research coming out of your eyeballs (to put it mildly), you’ve leaned in and learnt all you can. They say knowledge is power, but in my experience of buying a house for the first time, it’s also terrifying. There is a reason they say ignorance is bliss. But to let my cash sit in the bank was also ignorant, especially thanks to our friend inflation. 

My mindset has shifted. I didn’t want to be ignorant. I was now educated and empowered - a total 360 switch from when I embarked upon my research. Yes, putting that much money into something was terrifying, but I chose to also see it as an educational opportunity (of sorts). Also, property is one of the few asset classes I feel comfortable leveraging up in. One I would learn from as time progressed, and one that might end up leading me down the path of making another purchase.  Who knows? Watch this space.

Story by Gemma Tregenza, Co-Founder, Girls Just Wanna Have Fund$

The Girls Just Wanna Have Fund$ blog is a place where we share experiences and learnings for our wider community. If you have something or a story to contribute, let us know and send an email to hello@gjwhf.org.

Nothing in this chatroom, newsletter, website, presentation material or linked article should be interpreted as an offer or recommendation to buy, sell or hold any security or other financial product. GJWHF is awaiting its not-for-profit status (section 88) in Hong Kong. The views expressed in the chatroom, newsletter, website, presentation materials or article reflect the authors' personal views and not those of GJWHF.

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