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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.

Always spy before you buy

05:00am 25 Jan 2015

GEORGINA STYLIANOU

I feel so sorry for the poor buggers who live next to - or anywhere near - the Tilford St house that has been crowned Christchurch's rowdiest.

A property on an otherwise quiet suburban Woolston street received 71 noise complaints in the 12 months to the end of October 2014.

Neighbours are fed up but the occupants just do not care; although they did drop a note in some letterboxes warning of an impending 21st birthday celebration and asking neighbours not to be party poopers. How considerate. 

I don't know how people tolerate being constantly aurally attacked -  by loud music, shoddy drumming skills and late-night parties - in their own home.

As an aside, Robbie and I looked at a few properties in Tilford St during our house-hunting phase. Knowing our luck we would have ended up next door so I did a quick 'thank you house fairies' prayer when I saw the story last Saturday.

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Renovations take a back seat to holiday

05:00am 19 Jan 2015

GEORGINA STYLIANOU

I've probably said this before, but I'll say it again.

Renovating a doer-upper offers both overwhelming levels of satisfaction and fear.

While you lovingly admire one finished wall, skirting board or assembled kitchen unit, your brain will suddenly turn on you. Within seconds you're cowering under the kitchen bench as you remember all the other walls, skirting boards and kitchen units that need your attention.

You have to focus on the small stuff and prioritise the big stuff.

I'm happy to report the toilet walls are no longer the buttery shade of brown which I hated as soon as we put it up.

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Stick with your gut on reno choices

05:00am 12 Jan 2015

GEORGINA STYLIANOU

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

Robbie and I had only the stat days off over the Christmas-New Year break, but we were determined to make the most of it.

After overindulging in bubbles and food on Christmas Day, we spent a piping hot Boxing Day attacking our overgrown garden. We weeded, trimmed, mowed, chopped and watered and discovered parts of the property previously hidden by foliage and an incredibly bushy lemon tree.

It took us the best part of the next day to take everything to the tip and tidy up, but it was worth it.

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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

GEORGINA STYLIANOU

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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