As a self-confessed financial novice, Sydney’s Gabrielle Bietola is the first to admit that the thought of purchasing her first home filled her with dread. So much so, in fact, that despite a decade spend saving for a healthy deposit, the process was avoided for quite a number of years.
“I felt really overwhelmed by the idea, I watched my sister purchase a home in Sydney, during the peak of the market, and it just seemed so aggressive and scary.”
However, having engaged Invest Blue Financial Adviser, David French, this now proud homeowner attests she needn’t have been so nervous.
“Invest Blue really did provide a full, start to end service, breaking down each step into manageable chunks that got me through the process,” Gabrielle explained.
“They were with us for the whole journey, ensuring we were informed, focused and prepared for the next step – Invest Blue definitely took the ‘scariness’ out of the purchase of our first home.”
Gabrielle first approached Sydney based advisor, David prior to her and her husband, Sal’s, wedding. “The first step was to sit down with David and articulate our priorities.” While financing their wedding and honeymoon were the couple’s initial priorities, a home loan was next on the list.
“After the wedding, we were ready to take the plunge, and David guided us through the accounts we needed to set up in preparation of applying for a home loan.”
“He explained our options, how much we could borrow, what the bank would lend – he demystified the process for us.”
For the actual home loan process, Gabrielle and Sal were handed over to Invest Blue loan specialist, Carol O’Shea.
The couple was intent on keeping their home loan as simple as possible, their priority to secure the loan and open the path to home ownership.
“Once we had the loan we knew we could jig it as needed through re-financing, but even gaining the most simplistic of loans was not without its hiccups.”Gabrielle’s relief at having Carol’s helping hand through the process is obvious.
“Once the time was right, Carol didn’t just send out our mortgage documents, she sat down with us, ran through them page by page, explained our options and the implications of fixed rates versus variable rates and all the other details I had no idea about.” “I asked Carol some pretty dumb questions,” Gabrielle laughs.
David and Carol organize and directed their paperwork, with the Gabrielle literally told by David, ‘get your paperwork in and you go shopping!’ And shop she and Sal did. Yet with a specific budget, two cars and a motorbike between them, and jobs at opposite ends of Sydney’s sprawling spectrum, Gabrielle admits it was a tricky house hunting formula.
“We knew a unit was the realistic option for our budget, and after five weeks of looking we found a property in Haberfield that ticked all the boxes, and that we both loved.”
With David and Carol having organized a pre-approved loan, Gabrielle and Sal found the property, paid the deposit and signed the contract in just three days. “We literally had no idea what to do when it came to purchasing property – all we knew we learnt of the television program ‘Selling Houses Australia’!” Gabrielle laughs. What she did know, however, was that a unit in Haberfield was a rare find, and her instinct to act immediately paid dividends.
“It was an intense few days but I knew that if I didn’t move fast and assertively, it would go.”
With Carol having kept the couple abreast of their loan pre-approval every step of the way via email, Gabrielle said she felt empowered, albeit impatient.
“We made an offer in the evening and had to wait until the following morning to hear back – let’s just say it was a very long and stressful night!”
With their offer accepted, Gabrielle later discovered that higher prices were later offered, yet her divisive action avoided a bidding war, a scenario that she admits ‘terrified her.’
“It was so streamlined being organized well before we found the property, once we discovered our unit we activated David and Carol who were immediately ready to proceed.
The couple was transferred to Kathy in the Invest Blue settlement team to handle the next step of the process.
“Kathy was fantastic, not only did she sort out all the paperwork we needed in order to settle, but without her, we may still be locked out of our lovely new home!”
A banking settlement system glitch, unfortunately, denied Gabrielle and Sal access to their keys come settlement day, and with their solicitor uncontactable, it was Kathy who came to the rescue.
“We called Kathy out of desperation – but it was a breeze, she said ‘give me ten minutes, leave it with me’ – and that was it, we had our keys!”
Likewise, when an ATM card for an offset account didn’t arrive in the mail, again it was Kathy who chased it up. “I’m quite financially unorganized, so it was extremely heartening knowing that our admin was being followed up thoroughly, it put me at ease and gave me a renewed sense of confidence.
“I can’t thank Invest Blue enough, the staff went above and beyond every time, throughout the whole process.”
With their loan recently settled the couple is busy making their new house a home, and in the wake of their first major purchase, it seems Gabrielle may even be slightly financially inspired.
“I’ve never been a great planner, but now I understand that we need to ensure we make considered decisions when it comes to our finances.”
“How to best protect our asset, renovating without overcapitalizing and getting our loan paid off quickly are our new priorities – so I dare say big, expensive holidays will be on hold for a while!”
“Even now we’re in our home and our loan has settled, it’s nice to know I can still pick up the phone anytime if I need practical advice or to lean on David’s experience and avoid any potential hiccups going forward.”
“It still amazes me that the timeline David set with us all those years ago has now become a reality.”
“Now, as a married couple, settled in our own home we’re starting a new chapter and I have full confidence that thanks to Invest Blue I’m sure all our future financial developments will be equally as exciting.“
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