Megan Durrant became the owner of a three-bedroom house in Daleys Point, on the Central Coast, in 2009.
She was just 24 at the time. She bought it because she fell in love with it and she wanted to have something to call her own and work towards.
“I bought it because I had money saved from working two jobs in hospitality and I didn’t know what to do with it,” Durrant says.
“The first thing that came to mind was go overseas, and my mum, Kim Durrant, pretty much said, no, you need to buy a house.
“So we looked for about three months. We drove past, and the green door it had me.”
She doesn’t know the exact age of the house, but she knows it was first sold in 1998, and the previous owners took very good care of it. The cedar pole house is on a 671 square metre block and is split level.
“My favourite thing about it is the back deck, where you can see the water between the trees,” Durrant says.
“Regardless of whether it was stormy, or sunny and hot, I would sit on the back deck and just watch the world.
“The fireplace is my second-favourite thing. I grew up with a fireplace, so to have a house with a fireplace was really cool.”
She moved in by herself after she bought it with the intention to only stay for six months, which was a requirement to receive the first homeowners grant. But she loved it so much she stayed a year and a half.
“In the beginning I was a little bit scared, but I was also very excited because I was 24 living in this huge house. I didn’t have a lot of furniture,” she says.
“I had a mattress on the floor as my bed, I had two big leather recliner chairs in the living area. I had sarongs up as blinds.”
White plastic chairs adorned the lounge room for when friends came over, and she had a coffee table and corner stools.
She also had a big glass-top 80s-style dining room table and a hammock out the back.
When she wasn’t working in hospitality, she was working on the house. Durrant and her family spent four or five months on home improvements on both the interior and exterior.
“I was not at all daunted. It wasn’t like work. I was so excited,” she says.
“My dad and my brother are both carpenters, so we called it a working bee. It would be a day or a weekend.
“We pressure-washed the entire house. I got the whole front and back yard cleared; some of my brother’s friends had tree-loppers. Usually this would cost thousands of dollars, but I gave them a case of Coronas.”
A tree they had cut down was used for mulch. They got on the roof and worked on the gutters. Her dad and brother ripped up the front stairs and then re-laid new timber stairs with wire railing. They re-did the front stairs in the doorway.
“We took out the green door, which was very sad, and I actually kept it,” Durrant says.
“The new front door is a fogged glass and it’s just timber to match the staircase.”
They redid the entire bathroom and retiled the bathroom toilet. She installed a new bench top and covered it with granite.
She ripped up the old carpet, and they painted the entire interior.
Her house has a slate mineral floor, something she says many people would have ripped up because of the floorboards, but she really likes it. They stripped the slate and re-lacquered it.
The entire process was a family affair.
“It wasn’t work, it was just fun. Probably the funnest family day ever,” she says.
She enjoyed her time there, but eventually decided to move to Sydney for more stable employment. She learned the ins and outs of being a landlord and had a few adventures, although she now loves renting to her current tenants.
Her life is easier because of the investment she made as a 24-year-old. She feels secure and set up. She says she’ll never sell the house and recommends that young people do what she did, if they can.
“For the three years I was saving for this house, I lived at my mum’s, I worked seven days a week and I did not go out,” Durrant says
“I sacrificed everything for that, and it’s worth it now.
“I didn’t go eat avocado on toast, I ate Vegemite on toast at home.”