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Buying a home: Quickstepping into a new home

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If you think buying a house is a long arduous process, think again. Ryan Punch did it in just four days

It is hard to believe that salsa dancing could be the quickest way to buy your own home. But this is exactly what Ryan Punch found when he took up dancing lessons. It all started when he received a promotional diary from friends in his dance class, Ken Ford and his wife Sue, who own an AIMS franchise in Campbelltown. "I looked at it and told them that I was on the market for home loans. We got talking and one thing led to another," says Ryan. "I told Ken about my financial situation and asked him what my chances were of getting mortgage approval and whether my income would be sufficient. He gave me some really good advice on how to go about taking out a loan."

After that initial fruitful conversation, Ryan started looking for a house and found one in an excellent location but in need of renovation. The house was a three-bedroom, double-brick, federation style house that was about 100 years old and standing on a 780 square metre block.

"I went to check it out on a Monday and put in a deposit, but the real estate agent was still booking inspections and still showing people around the house. So I had to dash off and do the paperwork. I had Ken working through the whole mortgage application, rushing around throughout the day to get pre-approval and an inspection organised with just a few hours' notice.

With Ken and Sue's help, Ryan was able to obtain a $308,700 Money Saver mortgage for 30 years from AIMS. "I was only able to afford 5% deposit, as I was not expecting to be able to afford a house so soon. Several months earlier, I booked my 1962 Valiant in for a very expensive restoration. If I had known that the perfect house would present itself so soon and that it was within my budget, I would have held off restoring the car and made a bigger deposit instead," he says.

Despite the speed of the purchase, it was not an easy task. "The stress probably reduced my life by around four years, but I managed to get everything done in four days by making many "please, please, please can you do it today?" phone calls. I am lucky to have had my parents as well as Ken and Sue help me through the process. They patiently answered my 'so now what do I do?' and 'what's this going to cost?' questions. Even my lawyer, the building inspector, and others were able to speed up their role after hearing my plight."

Ryan believes having all the vital information is critical when you buy a home. "I made a very comprehensive budget spreadsheet which I updated every day to establish how much I could afford to spend and what effect the various miscellaneous fees and charges would have on my finances at any given point. The only information I didn't have was the condition of the roof and under-floor area in the building report as the carpet was nailed down over the under-floor trapdoor and nobody knew where it was, and the manhole in the roof was unable to be opened as there was a piece of conduit running over it."

Ryan has already started the long process of carefully restoring the house to its original condition and enjoying his newfound freedom. "The best part of owning my own home is the freedom. My house will look exactly like I want it to. Nobody tells me to turn the music down. Everything is exactly where I left it. And all of the things that I have been collecting from garage sales and eBay over the years finally have a place to go. Although I am looking for boarders now as they can help with some extra income, I think I'm enjoying living alone too much, which I'm not sure is entirely healthy."

What would he do differently? "If I was doing it all over again, I'll still get everything done as quickly as possible because someone else could walk in and take your house away from you," he says.

The only downside to this saga is that Ryan has to stop going to salsa dancing. "I can't go to salsa anymore because I'm doing a lot around the house. It needs a lot of work so I don't have time for extra curricular activities at this point."

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