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Renting in an area before you buy

This article is part of a fictional case study series following "Sarah", a typical first home buyer in Victoria. Read each article to follow "Sarah" through a variety of articles exploring issues related to buying a home.

Although Sarah had saved a good-sized deposit, she still wasn't sure about buying a house further out from the city without really knowing the area. 

If you’ve lived in the inner suburbs, or even mid-way out, then a different area of sprawling Melbourne can seem like a totally different world. How on earth are you meant to decide whether an area is right for you?

That’s the problem Sarah faced. She didn’t want to make such a dramatic move without knowing for sure that it would be a good thing – so she took up a year’s lease in Heidelberg.

Now, what can that allow her to do?

  • She can see whether the commute is worth it. A 10-minute walk to work is being replaced by an hour drive, or just over an hour on public transport. That’s a big change.
  • She can see whether she actually likes the services in her area. Is it a place for a young single to live, or more for families? What’s the vibe? She can figure that out, still save money and potentially confirm – or refute – any assumptions before she buys.
  • She can watch how the property market changes in her area (and potentially pick up a bargain if she wants to).

Ultimately, Sarah decided the move was worth it. Which meant that when she bought a house, the shock wasn’t as big – she was already used to the commute, the area and the people. And she just had to move around the corner.


Sarah was hesitant to sign a full year lease in a new area, but it was worth it. If she didn't know what she was getting into, she could have made a huge financial mistake.

Home First
Home First