To buy or to rent?

We’ve been luckier than most with our relocations because generally, we’ve had reasonable notice periods. It’s amazing how much you can organise in a few months – accommodation, schools – and in our first posting – a hospital to have our first child in. This time we have approximately four months to sort ourselves out before we have to leave the country.

When we left Australia, we lived in a two-bedroom townhouse. We’ve (slightly!) outgrown that now so the first thing we need to do is sort out accommodation. But the big question is, do we buy or rent?

Renting has quite a few benefits – we’re not locked into a certain area, so if we decide it’s not for us we can move on; the initial financial burden is a lot less etc. But now, with three kids in tow, the fear I have is that moving again, even within suburbs, will be unsettling for the kids. And now that two kids are school age, I feel that even if we rent for a while in a particular area, we need to be committed to that area so we’re not mucking around with their education.

On the other hand, the thought of all that rent money going into our own place is awfully attractive, particularly after being in the rental game for so many years. But buying a house over the internet sight-unseen is quite intimidating. And what if it doesn’t settle in time? Or we don’t like the area?

Another benefit of buying a house means we can settle in an area zoned with decent public schools, thus eliminating the need for private school fees if the kids are performing well.  Plus, the money we’d save on school fees could be channelled towards tutors or any extra-curricular activities that they want to pursue. Worth considering, given our brood!

In the end, we decided to try and buy, if we could. The process of house-hunting over the internet opened up the opportunity to get the kids involved. We made sure they viewed the houses we were interested in, asked them what they thought and if they could see themselves living there. Thanks to Google Maps, we were able to highlight what was around the neighbourhood, with particular focus on the interests and activities they currently have. We really listened to what they had to say. provides a list of the top performing schools in Victoria so using this as a guide helped us to narrow down our search areas.

Fortunately we found a house we all liked and it’s in a zone that has good public schools as well as a good private school. I like having options! My husband flew home for the auction and now we have a home.

At that point, the questions started coming…  Why do we need a house? Can we get a trampoline? And the one we’d been waiting for – when are we going to live there?

So that’s when we started to “plant the seeds…!”



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