Home Sweet Home

Press journalist and first-home hunter Georgina Stylianou shares the highs and lows involved with getting a wobbly foot on the great property ladder.

The ups and downs of renovating a doer-upper

05:00am 20 Dec 2014

First-time homeowner GEORGINA STYLIANOU reflects on the year that has been.

On January 1 this year my partner Robbie and I woke up in Takaka and spent a rainy day playing cards and drinking tea.

"So shall we buy a house?" I remember him asking.

Seemed like a good goal for 2014.

"Ok, let's do it," I replied.

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Maximise resale value ... or space?

05:00am 14 Dec 2014


First-time homeowner GEORGINA STYLIANOU contemplates whether or not to add another bedroom to her two-bedroom home.

Dear readers, I need some advice. Time and time again my partner Robbie and I have discussed whether we could reconfigure a few walls here and there and turn our two-bedroom home into a three-bedroom home.

Whenever we have this chat I hear the voices of different family members and friends in my head.

''Just do the minimum amount so you don't waste money,'' one voice says.

''Always think about your resale market and how to maximise it,'' another chimes.

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Being a grown-up not always easy

05:00am 06 Dec 2014


When you own a house, you're sort of a grown-up.

You're tied to a place, to the bank, to renovations and bills. You're making sacrifices to secure your future, building equity and paying off the biggest loan you'll ever have.

You can't up and leave to take up a cool job in another city or hop on a plane and go travelling - unless you're loaded and mortgage repayments are the equivalent of a child's pocket money.

For my partner Robbie and I, that's not the case. Big plans take big time for us. On a warm evening this week we found ourselves having The Chat. About finances and the future, the house and what's next.

Owning a house is harder than we thought it would be.

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Good things take time

05:00am 16 Nov 2014


I left my parents house in Cass Bay with a mixed sense of jealousy and admiration. 

In the car on the way back to our house, I thought about my first childhood home - a semi-detached, dated brick home in a less-than-desirable part of Birmingham, UK.

My parents have worked incredibly hard in their lives and as a child, you often don't notice the progress.

Over the last 25 years I've seen them rise up the rungs of the property ladder through sheer determination and a stroke of good fortune - from that first brick flat to a stunning ocean-side haven. 

Heading through the Lyttelton Tunnel and being greeted by the sea and the hills is something I love. Cass Bay is a beautiful spot and spending an evening there having dinner with family, walking the dogs on the beach and appreciating the view is a mini-break for the soul. 

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Summer is outside renovation time

05:00am 08 Nov 2014


Summer is on the way so it's time to get outside and give our home's shabby exterior a makeover, GEORGINA STYLIANOU writes.

We need a plan Stan.

As the warmer months approach it's high time that our renovation mayhem moves outside.

That said, we also need to finish our laundry, which is still a jungle of primer and No More Gaps (damn tongue and groove).

The exterior of our house is pretty shabby.

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