First home buyer's advice to others: do your research and look around

OPTIONS: ​Shannon Kennedy and Kristy Miners at their Bulli rental home. They couldn't afford to buy in the Illawarra so bought a block in Thirlmere. Picture: Adam McLean
OPTIONS: ​Shannon Kennedy and Kristy Miners at their Bulli rental home. They couldn't afford to buy in the Illawarra so bought a block in Thirlmere. Picture: Adam McLean

An Illawarra woman has advised other first home buyers to consider all of their options – including building a new house outside the region and commuting. 

Kristy Miners, 26, and fiancé Shannon Kennedy, 37, are building a new home in Thirlmere. 

Bulli resident Ms Miners grew up in the Illawarra.  

She said their several months’ searching in the Illawarra for their first home was a frustrating process. 

“We looked at quite a few existing homes in the Illawarra, and actually put some offers in on some.

“However, I found that the real estate was pushing our offer up and up… It was quite frustrating. 

“What we can get up there in Thirlmere, a house and land, we can get for the same price as a 50-year-old fibro home down here… And that fibro home might require $50,000 of renovations on top of that.

“Nothing in the Illawarra is very affordable for the first home buyer at the moment.”

The couple purchased their block at Thirlmere last February. 

Ms Miners, who works in administration at a Unanderra transport business and drives trucks on the side, said their land was about to register, and they aimed to move in by Christmas. 

“The price was a lot cheaper than it was down here.

“It’s been a year’s wait because they had to develop the land, but it’s quite exciting, and we can see the light at the end of the tunnel now.”

She hadn’t previously considered looking outside the Illawarra, but suggested others in a similar situation consider all their options.

“Do your research and look around,” she said.

“A 40-minute drive (to work) is not really much in the scheme of things if you’re going to save yourself $100,000 to $200,000.”

According to national data, in this case research commissioned by the Houseandland.com.au business, first home builders on average saved 13.9 per cent compared to first home buyers. 

“First home buyers are finding it more and more difficult to get into the market – let alone knowing where to start, or knowing about going through a process of building and finding land,” Chelsey Quartermain, Houseandland.com.au’s general manager said. 

“But what we found is that building comes in cheaper, and they also experienced less issues than they thought they would during the process.”