Reefton home

PHOTO: SUPPLIED Elizabeth Sheehan said she liked the history of her home.

When you think of a typical first-home buyer, you probably don’t imagine someone who’s 72 and buying a mining cottage in Reefton.

But West Coast retiree Elizabeth Sheehan first took the plunge into the New Zealand property market this time last year.

She had lived on a boat in Britain before moving to New Zealand six years ago to be with family, initially in Motueka.

“I came over and started renting and I was really horrified at the state of the houses,” she said.