This family of three recently moved into their forever home in northern Sydney after becoming OwnHome customers. Their years of moving from place to place have come to an end.
Shwe and Vrunda had lived and worked in many different countries before they emigrated to Australia in 2020 in search of a better quality of life.
“In my home city of Delhi, there's no work-life balance,” says Vrunda. “It is extremely competitive and the moment you take a backseat to start focusing on your family, it is impossible to get ahead professionally.”
When Shwe and Vrunda welcomed their baby girl into the world shortly after settling in Sydney, they were increasingly eager to buy a house. They wanted to provide their daughter with a home where she would grow up and play in the backyard, with a local school nearby.
“We wanted to be able to plan Sanvee’s education, but that all revolves around where we would be living. Without a permanent base, it was very difficult to plan ahead,” says Shwe.
Unfortunately, the path to owning a home was filled with obstacles. The couple simply couldn’t see how it would be possible to save up enough money to cover stamp duty and a deposit for a property in an area of Sydney that they found desirable. For that, they would need approximately $200,000.
“As we were new migrants in Australia, we didn't have the Bank of Mum and Dad to help us out, and there weren’t any other options for having a guarantor,” says Shwe.
‘Too good to be true?’
When Shwe first heard about the rent-to-buy scheme offered by OwnHome, he admits he was skeptical.
“I wondered whether it was too good to be true. I always felt that there was going to be a catch, and to be honest I kept waiting for it. But it never came. The best part about my experience with OwnHome has been that everything was made clear to us upfront, and everything turned out to be exactly as we were told it would be.”
After paying the initial 1% deposit and then signing the contract, OwnHome helped Shwe and Vrunda look for a house that ticked as many boxes as possible. Ultimately a trade-off was made about living in very close proximity to a beach. The couple realized they could get more bang for their buck if the property was located slightly further away.
They settled on a house in Epping, which has a vibrant local community and retail precinct. It is in a suburb that Shwe and Vrunda would not have been able to afford if they had to put up a ten or 20% deposit. Throughout the process of weighing up the pros and cons of each potential property in a variety of suburbs that they liked, Shwe said the OwnHome were “super supportive and responsive.”
“They consistently outperformed my expectations,” he says.
Shwe and Vrunda see the financial arrangement with OwnHome as a “renting-plus-saving option.” Both earn a good salary, which in the past was actually part of the problem when it came to accumulating savings. It was all too easy for their income to go up in smoke on a trip somewhere, or a bit of retail therapy. As there was no financial constraint on their spending, they tended to overspend every month.
“OwnHome has made us more mindful of where our money is going every month, and the saving part is taken care of because it happens automatically,” says Shwe. “We know what is leftover and can be spent on other things. That constant worry of ‘How are we going to save for a deposit?’ has gone.”
Moving into their forever home
Moving into their new home was especially emotional for Vrunda and Shwe, because they had both led fairly nomadic lives up until then.
“We each had a family home when we were kids, but when we grew up we moved cities and countries for work and we didn’t have any attachment to those places. Now we have a place where we see ourselves growing old, and our daughter going up,” says Shwe. “This place is ours and always will be.”
He describes their house as beautiful and spacious, with a large backyard and a big tree for shade. It has three bedrooms plus a study.
“We recently had one of our relatives visit from India and it was so strange, because there wasn’t the slightest discomfort to accommodate an extra person. It feels so good to be able to invite people to come and stay without having to think twice about where they will sleep or whether they’re going to be comfortable or not.”
Shwe wholeheartedly recommends the path to home ownership that OwnHome can provide. It isn’t suitable for every property buyer on the market though, he says.
“Buying a house is a commitment. If you're still at a stage in your life when you are open to other opportunities, such as living and working in other countries, it isn’t the right option. It’s not for investment properties either.”
He also says that it is necessary to plan your finances from the get-go, which requires a bit of time and effort. Work out what you can pay each month, and set your property budget accordingly (and OwnHome can help with that). The payoff is affording mortgage stress and enjoying a long-term, comfortable lifestyle in your own home.