Outrageous real estate prices, living in a two-bedroom apartment with two kids and feeling the weight of the Sydney rat-race spurred us on to move to the Gold Coast.
Why the move to the Gold Coast?
We were outgrowing our two-bedroom rental in Bondi, and we were desperate to plant some roots and own our own home. It was soon clear that we weren't able to afford anything bigger in Bondi, so we would need to move further out. This would still mean a million-dollar-plus mortgage and a longer commute. Both working full-time, we would see our kids even less, which as a mum gnawed at me.
A visit to friends who moved from the eastern suburbs of Sydney to Lennox Head in northern NSW planted the seed to leave Sydney altogether. We looked into areas of northern NSW, but we ultimately settled for the Gold Coast because we felt there would be more employment opportunities for both of us.
How did we decide where to live on the Gold Coast?
We knew we didn't want to be anywhere near the skyscrapers and hustle-and-bustle of Broadbeach and Surfers Paradise. The southern end of the Gold Coast appealed to us as it is quieter yet still offers some cool cafes and bars, it has lots of greenery, great beaches and good surf.
With two kids in primary school, when it came down to deciding where to live our decision was primarily driven by the choice of school. We knew we wanted our kids to go to a Public / State Primary School which more often than not means that you have to live in the catchment-area to get into the school, so for us that helped narrow down the search to 4 or 5 suburbs. Other things that were important to us were being close to the beach, within easy reach of M1 and Airport, quiet and child friendly neighbourhood, and have some shops /cafes nearby.
We then took a family holiday to go and discover the areas and schools for ourselves. While we based ourselves in a unit in Currumbin we drove around all the different suburbs on our short list. We also went to a number of open houses, not necessarily because we were interested in buying a house at that stage, but to get a feel for the neighbourhood and chat to the real-estate agents.
We chatted to every man and their dog to get the insider’s view of the schools and areas. This trip helped us narrow our search down further and now we had a target area, which for us included Currumbin, Elanora, parts of Palm Beach and parts of Burleigh.
How was it finding a place to live? Did we buy or rent?
We found that the number of houses available for rent in the suburbs we were looking was low, and the calibre of the homes rather poor. We also didn't much feel for having to move twice, and knowing that the GC real estate market is strong and growing, we figured that if the right property came along that rather than renting first, we might as well buy straight away.
What we noticed in the 5 moths we spent looking to buy our house was that the Gold Coast real-estate market is slow. We started our search in August, and only a couple of new properties a week would come on, and even less matching our search criteria.
When spring came around the pace picked up a little, but it’s nothing like we were used to in Sydney. Many houses would sit on the market for weeks even months. And every now and then you’d get a surprise and a house (usually the one we’d like) would get snapped up in a day.
The fact that we were interstate didn’t make the search any easier. A few times it happened that one of us would fly up for the Saturday to view a specific property, and we would get there and the house had just sold the day prior. We learned you have to get in quick!
After flying back and forth many, many times, we eventually found our house in Elanora. I saw the home advertised on Tuesday afternoon, we’d made an appointment for the next day (my husband dropped everything, called in sick to fly up for the day) and by the weekend we had bought our home.
We’d bought the house without me even seeing it - eek! 😬. It’s certainly not an ideal scenario, and not one I would recommend to anyone, but there was just no other way and we were running out of time.
What we had learned was that if the right house (the one that ticks 80%-90% of the boxes) comes along you need to jump on it, because although some houses sit on the market forever, the good ones rarely do. In one year time the value of our home had increased hugely, so it has been well-worth buying straight away. We haven't looked back.
What schools do our children go to?
Living in Elanora, both kids are at Elanora State School, our son started Prep (what we call Kindy in NSW) and our daughter transitioned into Year 3. We love the school, it has a very vibrant and supportive community. We found it easy to connect with other families and were quick to make new friends (read more about