Nicole Haddow is a Melbourne-based journalist who was the executive property writer for the Australian Financial Review.

Helping millennials to smash their way into the market

January 30, 2020 BY

NICOLE Haddow’s 30th birthday was less of a celebration and more of a wake-up call than birthdays past.

The journalist turned author spent her 20s travelling, wearing designer clothes and saying “yes” to every social opportunity that came her way.

Owning a home wasn’t a priority until it dawned on her that her lifestyle would never allow it, especially since she was swimming in credit card debt.

“I’d spent my 20s living in different share houses and spending money in an attempt to get ahead, but really I’d been treading water,” she said.

“I’d just moved home with my parents to start saving because as I entered a new decade, I felt that I had fallen behind other people my age and I needed to hustle to make up for lost time.

“I felt a real sense of urgency and it was heightened by living through this milestone birthday and not feeling like I was where I was supposed to be in life.”

In a desperate attempt to catch-up, Ms Haddow sat down with her father (who has an accounting background) to weigh up her options.

The pair crunched some numbers and began looking at what was possible.

“It meant seriously resetting my expectations. I certainly wasn’t going to be buying where I wanted to live,” Ms Haddow said.

“It would have to be a small, entry-level investment. I also learned that it was possible to buy with a deposit of less than 20 per cent.

“Once I understood the deposit figure for a small apartment and knew what the mortgage repayments would be, it suddenly felt feasible.”

And within two years of that conversation, Ms Haddow cracked the property market on a single income.

The journey was by no means easy, but it was documented in her blog turned self-help book, Smashed Avocado.

Her key piece of advice was to “do your research”.

“Read property news, go to inspections, talk to real estate agents, (and) find out what properties are selling for,” she said.

“The more information you have, the better equipped you are to make the right decision.”

In Smashed Avocado, Ms Haddow explains the steps she took to purchase her own home and interviews other people who have found diverse ways to enter the property market, from rentvesting and flipping to Airbnb, tiny homes and buying regionally.

Ms Haddow will speak about her book at Geelong Library (51 Little Malop Street, Geelong) on February 6 from 6.30-7.30pm. The event is free. Register your attendance at eventbrite.com.au.