Couple goals: how we bought our dream home
Amber Wilson had always dreamed of owning a heritage home with a bullnose verandah. In Melbourne, that was would have been impossible. But when she was offered a job in Ballarat and started renting in the regional town with her husband, they got to know the surrounding suburbs and soon found that there were heaps of homes that resembled her dream. Amber says they were 'going for a song' – to the tune of a few hundred thousand.
That's what Amber and her husband, Alex, paid for their home in 2016 after looking at a few options. They knew this bargain came with some extra renovation price tags. 'It was beautiful from the outside but the inside depressed me, previous owners had made a lot of mistakes,' she explains. But, 'it was fixable', so the couple got their hands dirty and did most of the work themselves.
What's it really like to move out of the big smoke?
Well, it's pretty damn peaceful for starters. 'There’s a great art scene here and more cafes and restaurants popping up all the time,' Amber says. Many young couples have invested in Ballarat in recent years and that's having a positive impact on the culture.
It'd be idyllic if they hadn't recently accepted jobs in the city and started commuting every day. 'Spending three hours on the train every day is arduous and it’s safe to say we hate it. But when I’m home on the weekends working in my huge backyard, growing strawberries, sage, coriander and stunning flowers, it’s so worth it. At least for the time being.'
So what happens next?
Eventually, they'll return to Melbourne, holding onto their Ballarat home as an investment. Amber would recommend it over buying in the outer suburbs of Melbourne, but suggests working in the area if you're going to live in the property. 'Even though it's challenging now, we've got a beautiful home and a great investment property,' she says.