Unspoken Conversations are the topics that are often swept under the carpet, whispered amongst the closest of friends and bitched about by many. I want to create awareness about difficult things that people face in life; grief, mental health, money, illnesses, family troubles, relationship difficulties and putting yourself first. I want to tell the truth about things that really matter.

Monday, 23 July 2012

The pros and cons of owning a house!

The first house that my partner and I have bought together!

Owning a house is the 'Great Australian Dream'.

"The Australian Dream or Great Australian Dream is a belief that in Australia, home ownership can lead to a better life and is an expression of success and security." Via

The Great Australian Dream has been drummed into us by the Australian Government ever since World War II. The Government used advertising campaigns to make people believe that in order to own a "stake in your country", you had to own a home. This belief has been passed down from generation to generation.

How do I know these random facts? Because I studied a course at University called Urban Futures.

The subject made me question why many people believe that being successful means owning property, why many opt to buy over rent, why we think rent money is dead money and why many people aspire to be home owners.

My lecturer, who clearly earned more money then most of us could ever dream of, openly admitted that she'd never own a house. She was quite content renting her two bedroom unit in Dulwich (a lovely little suburb in Adelaide that is walking distance from the city).

Why? Because to her, interest money is dead money. And despite her rent paying off someone else's mortgage, she had more money in her pocket each fortnight then someone who would be paying a mortgage. In other words, she'd rather spend her hard earned money travelling the world, wining and dining and living the high life, then busting her guts to pay the mortgage, repairs, and bills like council rates that come with owning your own home.

I had never thought about NOT owning a house. I just thought that it was the thing to do. To work full time, save for a deposit, buy a house with a white picket fence and gorgeous blue shutters with a balcony, giant bath tub and all of the works and perks (okay so I've probably watched The Notebook one too many times!).

The fact is, I did buy a house. I started working full time, saved madly for a deposit and lashed out and bought a house with my partner that ticked all of the boxes for us.

Do I regret it? Sometimes. Well, no. I don't regret buying a house but sometimes I'm left scratching my head and contemplating is it really worth it?

The backyard when we first bought our house!

The pros versus the cons of owning a house

Pro- You can see where your hard earned money goes. I have been that person who processes my tax return and is left puzzled over how on earth I managed to earn so much yet burn so much. Now, I don't have that problem. I can see where my money goes...to my house loan. I know that I'm working towards paying it off so that I can truly say that I own a house (at the moment the bank does!)

Con - The bills. Without a doubt the constant bills make you frightened to open your mail box! If you think paying electricity and rent is difficult when you rent a property, try adding in Council Rates that cost $1000 + a year, house insurance, income protection, water, gas, electricity bills, emergency services levies the list goes on. Without a doubt we pay at least $100 a week of bills...and that's not including the cost of repayments which are roughly around $1000 a fortnight for a $300,000 loan!

Pro - You can renovate, paint and decorate. This is definitely one of the most exciting things about owning a house. You can change the colours of the walls with your moods if you like. You can hang posters and photos wherever you want. You can plant a herb garden and flowers and fruit trees. You can add an outside area, or decking or mirrors. You can make it all girly or blokey, whatever floats your boat!

Now after 10 months of renovating!

Con - If something breaks...you have to fix it. This in itself can be expensive. I must admit the first time that something broke in my house I went to ring the real estate agent to realise...we are the ones held responsible! GAR! Repairs can be costly. You learn to invest in things like DRAINO to try and block the drains before calling in a plumber. HINT...invest in a handy man partner (haha)

Pro - It's rewarding owning a home. Nothing beats kicking back on YOUR couch in YOUR lounge looking out YOUR window at YOUR garden. You own it. It's YOURS.

Con - Paying interest. My partner and I worked out that we pay over $20,000 a year interest. Yup, that's right. INTEREST. NOT CAPITAL. $20,000 dollars of our hard earned money. That's an around the world trip EVERY YEAR. You could go on an amazing shopping spree for that! Rent money may be dead money but interest is also dead money. The only difference? One pays off someone else's loan and one goes into the greedy hands of the banks!

My favourite place in the whole entire world...my couch, with my laptop, and my magazines and candles and glass of wine!

Pro - It's a long term, stable - ish investment. Any type of investment is a gamble. I guess owning a house is less of a risk or gamble then shares and owning your own business. Owning a house can pay off in the long run if you invest wisely. You definitely don't want to over capitalise to purchase something out of your price range. If you are smart, then one day, you will make your money back and hopefully a little more :)

Con - Owning a house DOES change your lifestyle. Even if you're determined for it not to. Trust me. We tried to buy a house that was affordable. We can make the payments easily, it's adding on renovations, the bills and the cost of fixing things that tightens our budget. It does mean having to say no every now and again to going out for tea. You learn to replace expensive restaurants for a BBQ or webber at your house and you learn to swap going to the movies for watching a movie on the couch.

Making our house homely!
Pro- NO MORE HOUSE INSPECTIONS! You are the one who does daily inspections to make sure that it's neat and tidy.

Pro- You have something to pass on to your children. Hopefully by then the loan has been paid off!
I guess the important thing to ask yourself is why do you want to buy a house? Is it for long term or short term investment? Are you going to live in it forever or are you going to rent it out? Are you aware of all of the added costs? Are you prepared to give up some things to enjoy the comfort and knowledge that you OWN your own little patch of dirt?

I LOVE our house. It makes me SO happy. Nothing is more fulfilling then renovating. Nothing is more satisfying then knowing where your hard earned money is going and NOTHING beats having a bubble bath with a glass of wine in your BATH and then hanging out on YOUR couch watching TV in your LOUNGE ROOM!

But, like everything, there's pros and cons.

Often taking a step forward for your future means sacrificing things from your past.

Do you own a house? What are the pros and cons? Do you regret buying a house? Do you enjoy renting? Do you think rent money is dead money? Do you think people get into too much debt? Do you think the "Great Australian Dream" is outdated?

Look after yourself and those around you,

Kirsty xxxx

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