Mark Brombal proves first homebuyers can buy in Sydney

Mark Brombal proves first homebuyers can buy in Sydney

If you listen to the media hype, you would be forgiven for thinking that as a first homebuyer, you have little to no chance of buying something affordable in Sydney. Horticulturalist Mark Brombal was one of those people who bought into the hype, but with a bit of determination and some clever thinking, he was able to afford a nice home.

“I’d read so many articles in various property magazines, newspapers and listened to reports on the evening news of rising property prices in Sydney due to the market boom over the previous five years,” says Mark. “I thought my dream of entering the property market in Sydney as a single male would never happen.”

It was by chance that Mark stumbled across the area of Ramsgate Beach and decided to rent there. He noticed that property in general there was significantly undervalued.

“Living one street back from the beach, the lifestyle was a significant change from my upbringing at Penrith. With my career developing in Sydney and living next to the water, 17km from the Sydney CBD, I became even more determined to purchase a property in the area.”

Although the unit Mark purchased was liveable, he admits that there were some minor renovations that needed doing before he moved in. “I wanted a contemporary feel in an older-style unit that would still appeal to a wide market. My approach was to keep it minimal, but functional. You pay a lot per square metre of space, so why not utilise every aspect of what you pay for?”

What was done?

Re-doing the floors: With the carpet old and worn throughout the living area and the bedrooms, Mark went for an alternative look. “I’d always been interested in the appeal of polished concrete flooring but had limited knowledge of the work involved, let alone the cost, so I approached a concrete supplier for advice.”

Mark says that one of the advantages of having the polished concrete floor was that he had the option of adding carpet or floorboards at a later stage,
if needed.

Ceiling renovation: The vermiculite ceiling, although fairly high, needed a repaint so Mark decided to change it from its original grey to a much brighter white using 90 litres of paint. He hired a professional to do this.

“The tradesman took the time in adding a sealing and binding agent to the paint before application – it took five coats to achieve the desired result and there’s a lot of weight in 90 litres of paint. But it has stuck extremely well.”

Re-carpeting the bedrooms: Mark sourced the carpet and hired tradesmen to lay it out for both bedrooms at a total cost of $160.

Change of light switches: It’s surprising how much the little things can make a big difference. The total cost including installation was $80.

Mark admits that he’s at an advantage with friends as tradespeople, but still maintains that the secret is to achieve maximum quality with minimal outlay.

“My approach throughout my stage one renovations has been to think resourcefully and laterally.”

Can you afford to buy in this suburb? Find out how much you can borrow

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