‘Start saving for your home deposit yesterday!’
Dominic Alafaci is the managing director of Collins House financial-advice firm and a regular guest on radio show 3AW Afternoons with Denis Walter.
Where do you live?
In a single-fronted cottage with my wife, Eve, in a quiet area of Hawthorn.
What’s your property profile?
Homeowner and investor. I have been involved with several modest property developments in the past and I have built a large family home in Moonee Ponds from the ground up and created some wealth for my family.
What do you love most about your home?
It’s cute and well located.
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Have you changed anything?
Yes. Over the past 10 years, we have invested heavily into the cottage, which was quite plain and somewhat drab when we purchased it. We have made it quite comfortable with a new kitchen, bathroom with walk-in robe, and double garage. We also recently added an extra storey.
How many homes have you ever lived in?
Probably about 10.
The most memorable?
The place above my parents’ pharmacy in Smith St, Collingwood, where I lived as a young boy in the early ‘60s. There was a multitude of different food types being sold at the various small businesses, which ranged from the French/Italian pastry shop and the Polish Jewish delicatessen to the Greek fish-and-chip shop and the Aussie grocers.
Your first foot on the property ladder?
A unit, which I bought at the age of 24 in 1983.
Are you a keen or reluctant property buyer?
Always happy to jump in and buy, rather than procrastinate, as property always gets more expensive — in between downturns, of course.
How many homes have you ever bought and ever sold?
Bought five and sold eight.
The highlights of your property journey?
Probably my first purchase. Interest rates were high in the 1980s and you had to save for years before you could qualify for a loan, and to jump those hurdles made the first purchase the most satisfying.
Best property advice you’ve heard?
Buying property, especially your family home, is not only a great investment but an important lifestyle decision as well. Living with something that gives you pleasure is priceless.
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Worst property advice you’ve heard?
Property never falls in value — it’s a line spouted by property spruikers more interested in their hip pockets. Good real estate agents say you need to have at least 10 years to ride out the cyclical downturns that typically follow the good years and to cover the high transaction costs like stamp duty. Be warned you can lose your shirt if you try and speculate in any asset class too aggressively.
Tips for homebuyers?
Start saving for your home deposit yesterday!
Future property plans?
Perhaps an alpine or rural bolthole.