For Chelsea Gordon, the dream of owning her own home once seemed like a distant reality. After separating from her ex-partner, the single mum of three was renting a house and working part-time to save for a down payment.
“Trying to pay rent and save for a deposit was very difficult,” she says over a cup of coffee at her dining room table. Even after she’d transitioned to full-time work, extra money was hard to come by. “To be honest, I didn’t think it was going to happen until maybe the kids were at high school – or beyond. I probably looked at about five years from where we are.” Even then, she was worried she’d need to buy a place that needed a lot of work, or in an area far from the rhythms of her family’s daily life.
Chelsea found out about the Victorian Homebuyer Fund – where the Victorian Government contributes to a home’s purchase price in exchange for an equivalent share in the property – after her parents saw an article in the newspaper. In October 2021, after looking into the program and finding out she was eligible, she quickly applied – a “basic and straightforward” process – and chose to go with Bank Australia for her loan.
She heard back a few weeks later. “It was all pretty seamless and not too stressful at all,” she says. “I got the okay from Monica at Bank Australia. She was amazing throughout the whole process. If I had any questions, doubts, confusion or even just needed reassurance, she was happy to take my call and handled everything perfectly. It didn’t seem like a bank transaction as such; it was like having a friend.”
Then, the search for a home began. After looking at a lot of properties online, Chelsea fell in love with the first place she inspected in person – a modern and comfortable four-bedroom house in Officer, east of Melbourne. It ticked all of her boxes: there were four bedrooms, meaning a room each for Chelsea’s sons – 11-year-old Chace, nine-year-old Mason and seven-year-old Asher. It had spacious shared living areas with plenty of room to work from home or hang out as a family. It even had a backyard for their dog, Adelaide. “It just had that feeling,” she says. “I thought, ‘this has got to be mine’.”
After a little bit of bartering with the real estate agent, she got the call – at a quarter to 10 on a Tuesday night. “I missed it because my phone was on the charger,” she laughs. She called back 10 minutes later to the news that she’d secured her dream home. “I was very, very excited. I thought, ‘oh, I can’t get too excited because I need to go to sleep’, but I was up at 4am and waited ‘til about 6am to call my parents and my brother to let them know.”
Chelsea loves the stability that comes from owning her own house. “I feel as though the boys are more settled,” she says. “No one can turn around and say the rent is going to go up. I can’t be kicked out. If the kids scratch the wall or the dog tears up the backyard – it’s not ideal, but it’s mine and I don’t have to explain it to a landlord.”
Most of all, she loves the sense of having accomplished her once-distant dream.
“I’m still pinching myself that this is my house,” she says. “Being a single mum with three kids and finally getting a home of my own – I’m just so proud of myself that I got here, and I couldn’t have done it without the help of Bank Australia and the government.”
Find out more about the Victorian Homebuyer Fund, the eligibility terms and how to apply.