Ben Harwood was just 18 when he signed up to buy a house in Burnside, Christchurch, and he’s a little miffed settlement was a few days after he turned 19.
It may not be a record, but it’s a huge achievement for a first-home buyer to get onto the property ladder within a year of leaving school.
And he did it all off his own bat, by working long hours at two jobs and saving
No parents paying for a deposit.
Harwood, who is still just 19, works on a deep-sea fishing boat out of Nelson. He goes to sea for five weeks at a time, doing two five-week shifts back to back. Then he heads back home to Christchurch for five weeks, and works at his local New World supermarket. Then it’s back to Nelson and out to sea for the next 10 weeks.
That is hard physical work.
With all his mates into cars, rather than houses, Harwood admits he has had to make sacrifices: “The hard part is seeing my mates spend money on cars, and having to say no to a car I would have liked to buy myself.”
Given time I’d say he’ll be able to afford a nice car.
When Harwood had around $60,000 in the bank (all his own savings), he went house hunting and found a do-up in Burnside. He paid $242,000 for the house, was able to secure a mortgage and spent $35,000 renovating.
“It needed a fair bit of work, but I could see the potential. A lot of people were turned away by the state of the house – there were holes in the walls, but I thought that wasn’t a big job to fix. The repairs were mostly cosmetic. Structurally, it was all good.
“I had the Gib replaced, put in a new carpet and painted. I also added a new bathroom and half of a new kitchen.”
Pretty impressive again for his age.
Harwood lives in the house when he is back in Christchurch, and has two flatmates to help cover costs.
The teen says he is often asked if he is still living with his parents. “I say no, I have my own place and people don’t believe me. Then they ask me how they, too, could do this. I say if you’re determined to succeed and put your goals before anything else, then you can achieve them.”
Great role model.