It’s always a huge delight to help first home buyers buy their dream home and get a foot on the property ladder.
In July, India-Marie and Brock Smith and their one-year-old daughter, Peyton got the keys to their first home: a four-bedroom house in Singleton. I spoke with Brock about just how they achieved this terrific goal in their mid-twenties, and why they think Singleton is an ideal place to bring up a family.
Are you and India-Marie both Singleton locals?
My family have been in Singleton for generations. My Pop owned houses at The Heights. While our family business, Smith Smash Repairs, has been around for 43 years. India-Marie is a Kiwi and she moved here in 2012 when her father was working at the underground mines at Ravensworth. India-Marie was friends with my sister. We met five years ago and were married in April in 2018.
Congratulations! What made you want to buy your own home at such a young age? Many couples in their mid-twenties aren’t so goal-oriented.
When we first met, we realised that we both wanted to be successful but needed some direction. So, we wrote up some plans and then slowly ticked them off the list: get a new car each, get married, have a baby, and buy our own house. We knew we wouldn’t be able to do it on my wages as a panel beater and India’s as a barista. I was working in my family business and I was on a pretty good wicket. However, the money at the mines was better, so I retrained. I’m an operator out at the pits and drive trucks and water carts. I work long 12-hour day and night shifts but I’m earning twice as much as I was. You sacrifice a lot but you also gain a lot.
How did you manage to get your deposit together? Did you get any government grants?
We worked out what we could live off comfortably for a week and then put the rest away in savings. If there was anything left we would save it. We stashed away as much as we possibly could. The mines pay a pretty good wage so I can’t say we scrimped and saved. We were living week to week but we were also saving a fair bit of money. It still took about two and a half years to get our deposit together. We got a waiver on our stamp duty from the government as first home buyers. Then we started looking to buy a house. It took about a year and then you introduced us to our new home.
It’s my favourite part of my job!
You and your team were awesome, Lindy. If we had questions, you’d answer them. You were all over it. If we wanted a second, or third look – actually, I think we looked at five times before we put an offer in on the house! Every time, you were fantastic, walking and talking us through everything that was going on. I’d recommend you every time.
Thanks, I’m flattered. You settled in July. How did it feel when you first got the keys?
It was unreal. Our goal had been to find a very solid house on a slab that we could renovate. We ended up with what we wanted: a four-bedroom brick house on a slab! The house was auctioned. It was an estate that hadn’t been lived in for a while, so we picked up a bargain. We paid $323,000. Where else in New South Wales could you find a price like that? The house has got good bones, a massive back entertaining area and we can grow into it. It was very dated but we are looking to make it our own. India-Marie and I are renovating it ourselves. Now we’ve got everything stripped back, the walls sanded back and the kitchen pulled apart. It’s a construction site but it’s a very fun project.
What were the biggest challenges in coming to settlement?
The pandemic made things difficult as we couldn’t have face to face meetings with our lenders. It wasn’t a drama getting the loan approved but it was difficult having to go through all the paperwork on our own instead of someone being there to help us through it.
What does Singleton have to offer young families?
Apart from having all my family and all my friends around for support, for me, it’s work. You’re not going to get the job opportunities like you can find here in many other places. There’s a lot of opportunities to grow yourself as a human being because the community is so tight-knit. People are friendly and it’s a great place for kids. The playgrounds and schools are great. Peyton’s going to have an awesome time growing up in Singleton, especially, now we’ve got our own house.
Enjoy! You deserve it.