House prices: Gold Coast woman reveals how she bought a house at 23

A Gold Coast woman has revealed the clever decision she made five years ago that enabled her to buy her first house at just 23.

A Gold Coast woman has revealed the clever decision she made five years ago that enabled her to buy her first house at just 23.

Maddie Walton, a medical researcher, purchased her first property in July for $690,000 – putting down a 10 per cent deposit of $70,000, plus an additional $50,000 in fees.

Working two jobs to save money more quickly, Maddie told the Daily Mail she’d dreamt of buying her first home since she was 15, but “couldn’t believe” the brutal reality of the Australian property market.

“Real estate agents wouldn’t take me seriously at the open homes I went to and because of Covid-19, only small groups could enter the property at the time – it was a nightmare,” she said, adding the struggle led her to enlist the help of a buyer’s agent.

As well as having two sources of income, Maddie had also been investing in the stock market since she was 18.

“I was quite sheltered from money conversations and didn’t know much at all – I didn’t know what investing was until I was 18 and I asked my dad after hearing about the Dow Jones Industry Average market every night on the news,” she said.

“He told me I could invest in companies to grow my savings … Since then, I’ve automated $50 a week into my savings account to automatically invest $2000 at a time into Apple (five years and counting now).”

Last year, she started branching out, investing in other tech companies and exchange traded funds (EFTs), and using finance books, podcasts and community groups to learn more about investing.

The 23-year-old now has $60,000 in the share market, and her net worth since she started investing, minus liabilities, is $147,000.

“My current investing strategy is to have broadbased ETFs as the bulk of my portfolio, and a few specific sector ETFs,” she said.

“I leave five per cent of my portfolio for single companies and crypto investments.

“I have this strategy so my portfolio is diversified, low-cost and risk adverse exposure to the share market. I still get to invest in specific sectors that are riskier, but those I believe in.”

She added that a huge ‘learning curve” was being too heavily invested in the Australian stock market, explaining that “by investing mainly in Australia, I was missing out on heaps of value in the US, Asia, and Europe”.

“International investing is so important for Aussies. We’re most likely using an Apple iPhone searching the internet via Google, buying things on Amazon with your MasterCard and watching Netflix at night,” she said.

And it’s paid off – with the help of her buyer’s agent, Maddie was able to purchase her first property, a three-bedroom home on 800 sqm of land, with her offer beating those of 15 others.

“I was so nervous when I finally put an offer in,” she said.

“My buyers agent sent me heaps of videos and photos, and I instantly fell in love with it even though I didn’t see it in person. I had a good gut feeling and intuition about it.”

When she found out she’d secured the home, Maddie said she was so relieved she started crying.

She added that her main goal now – aside from renovating her house – is to work towards financial freedom and have the money to support a good lifestyle before retiring.

As for her tips to other first-home buyers, she suggested making use of the government grants available, having a budget in place, and being realistic about your spending and saving habits.

Christin Hakim

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