The best and worst things that can happen when buying a new home
Buying a home - particularly in Sydney's eastern suburbs - is becoming more and more challenging as competition among buyers continues to increase. And as local resident, Nicole found out, the challenges don't always end when you sign the contract.
After nearly two years of searching, Nicole finally found - and successfully purchased - her Vaucluse home through Elliott Placks of Ray White Double Bay. What she didn't realise when she signed the contract was how close she would come to losing the home and her deposit.
"There was not a lot of properties on the market in our price range at the time we were looking. We had to be patient - we looked at everything and waited nearly two years before we found the right home," Nicole said.
At the time she purchased, Elliott recommended that Nicole speak to his business partner, Daniel Pym, a mortgage broker with Loan Market.
"We had a longstanding relationship with a particular bank. I was told I'd get best home loan deal and that the bank would take care of everything. My accounting firm even told me to stick with this bank because of the relationship we've had over the years.
"The bank knew our financial situation intimately and was privy to all our financial records. I wanted to keep them honest so I spoke to a couple of mortgage brokers - including Daniel - to see what other deals were out there," Nicole explained.
Deciding to stay loyal to her bank, Nicole was told that she was approved for the loan and all that was needed was a valuation. It was here that the difficulty really began.
"Our bank manager said the valuation was the last step in the approval process, but he said he couldn't get it done. He kept coming up with excuses and we were running out of time," she said.
From there, things worsened and Nicole was told that the bank couldn't release her term deposit. It was at this point Nicole went back to Daniel Pym for advice.
"As soon as Dan heard our situation, he had solutions. He told me to make a formal complaint to the bank which led them to release my term deposit. He said it was completely possible to get the valuation done in time. We had this conversation on a Thursday and by Monday the valuation was done," Nicole recalled.
"He was calm, methodical and he rang morning and night - he was always a step ahead."
Within two weeks and just before Christmas, the deal was done.
"Dan did what our bank manager said was impossible. He did in less than two weeks what our bank manager had months to do."
Relieved to settle on her new home, Nicole said without Elliott and Daniel's partnership, she would have lost her house and her deposit.
"I honestly thought we wouldn't get there. It was the most stressful period of my life - I have a young family, I work full time and I felt very out of control. Without Elliott and Dan, I'd have lost my new home and my deposit," she said.
Offering her experience as a lesson for everyone who is the market to buy, Nicole said there's some things everyone should do before they start looking for property.
"Get good advice from people you can trust and get a good broker.
"If you've had a long relationship with a bank or institution, do not assume that they are going to do the right thing by you or get you the right deal. And be prepared financially before you go to auction - that's what mortgage brokers are there for, to make sure you're prepared," she said.