Lake Macquarie couple achieve home ownership dream

Lake Macquarie locals Shelly Wiltshire and John Harvey have celebrated the New Year by securing a first home at Marks Point, a small peninsula extending into the eastern side of Australia’s largest coastal saltwater lake, with the help of Community First. 

For Shelly, born and bred in Lake Macquarie, ownership of the three-bedroom house that has a granny flat, is a dream come true after several false starts in 2020. 

“I grew up in nearby Nords Wharf and John in Swansea, both our parents will be down the road, and we will now be a bit closer to work,” said 30-year-old Shelly, a dental hygienist.

The couple paid $605,000 for the comfortable three-bedroom house that is in original condition. The granny flat offers a kitchenette and generous living area, while the property also has the added benefit of a large storage shed.

“It’s been our goal for five years, and we have been actively trying to buy for the last 12 months, and this property is the perfect fit.”

“The house has a sunroom perfect for our parrot Frankie and a bigger living area out the back. We are over the moon,” said a thrilled Shelly. John, who is a carpenter by trade, will be completing some renovations before they move in.

Negotiating COVID

In March last year, the determined young couple exchanged contracts on a house. However, like many Australians were forced to change tact when COVID-19 caused countless businesses to go into lockdown. “Because of the pandemic, I was stood down from my job. So, we pulled out of that house. We lost our $1,200 holding deposit, and we moved into my mum’s house.”

The young couple doubled down on the savings efforts as they waited their turn to take advantage of the Federal Government’s First Home Loan Deposit Scheme (FHLDS). This scheme allows first home buyers with a deposit as little as 5% to buy a first home and avoid Lenders’ Mortgage Insurance (LMI). Usually, LMI is levied if a borrower needs a loan that is more than 80% of a home's value. Moreover, this insurance covers a lender rather than a borrower in the instance of a mortgage default and there is a financial shortfall after the repossessed property is sold. As such, LMI can add many thousands of dollars to the cost of a home loan.

After missing out in the first round of the FHLDS, Shelly and John had to bide their time and wait for an opportunity in the 2020-21 financial year when another 10,000 Scheme places were released.

Planets align for first timers

In November 2020, the planets aligned for Shelly and John to unearth the perfect first property in Marks Point. “A week before the property hit the market at the end of November, Community First let us know that a spot in the Scheme was available,” says Shelly.

“John looked at the house at the first open home on a Saturday, and I inspected it the following Tuesday. We made an offer on Friday, and it was ours by Monday.”

Community First points of difference 

Shelly, who has been a member of Community First since she opened her first savings account, said working with Community First and Nicole Macatangay, the Store Coordinator at Belmont proved flawless. 

“We would like to thank Nicole for her outstanding service in helping us purchase our first home. I had lots of questions, and she was always there when I called and responded promptly to my emails,” said Shelly. 

“After what felt like forever searching for a house, we finally found the perfect home and apart from her punctuality, Nicole ensured our paperwork was ready for our tight timeframe. 

“Nicole provided us with reassurance and positivity at a stressful time for first homeowners. We are so happy that we went through Community First, which I have been banking with my whole life.”

Shelly, continued, “They also made sure we settled on our designated day of 15 January. The process was seamless and much easier than dealing with a broker.”

In late 2019, when Shelly and John first decided to ramp up their homeownership goals, they contacted a broker for lending assistance. 

“We started the approval process in December 2019, and by March 2020 when COVID struck we still didn’t have an approval. 

“As a consequence, we missed out on multiple properties, but we’re happier with the house we’ve ended up buying. Working with Community First has been much easier.”

For more information about how we can help you into a first home, just call us on 1300 13 22 77. 

 

Last updated: 05 February 2021

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