We know that there’s more to moving into your own home than just setting yourself up for the future. It’s about finding that place in the world where you feel truly at home, relaxed and secure.
The Keystart team recently caught up with Dennis, a man who realised his dream of home ownership at the age of 68, proving it’s never too late to find a place you can call home.
“It’s a huge turn-around in my life. Everything between renting and having a mortgage, there is a huge difference… There is a feeling that is more secure here.”
From growing up in a family where things like mortgages, insurance and banking were rarely talked about around the dinner table, to landing a job up north in the mining industry, Dennis had no one close by to help him simplify the complexities of purchasing a home.
“…the closest I ever got to it was back in 1995-. After that I didn’t bother – I was renting, in the mining industry and living in a mining house with free rent.”
It wasn’t an easy road; Dennis was rejected on four or five attempts, being knocked back each time but each time, learning a little more of what it was going to take. Then he was introduced to Janet, a driven member of the Keystart team, who helped Dennis work through exactly why he was being knocked back and what he could do to fix it.
“Believe it or not, Janet was the only one that got me over the line. And no-one was as good as Janet. If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be living here.”
Dennis had a bit of an idea of what he wanted; a house with a large living room and bedroom, a backyard big enough to keep his dogs happy, and located closer to his work so he could spend less time in transit. Armed with this knowledge, Janet began her search, keeping Dennis informed along the way.
“She explained the price range to me and which home I had a good chance of getting.”
Working six days a week and getting up at 4.30 every morning left Dennis with little time to search for properties. Instead, Janet helped out and did a search of her own. She presented Dennis with a range of options, making sure he was happy with the lounge room and bedroom.
“There was one that caught my eye… I liked it at the time I saw it in an email, and when I went around to look at it I thought, ‘Wow, it’s not too big, it’s not too small and it has a big backyard.”
Today, Dennis is living in a home he can proudly call his own. He’s no longer tending to someone else’s lawn or garden, and paying someone else’s mortgage.
“Now I’m doing it in my own backyard and when I think I planted that tree there, that’s mine you know? That’s the thing I keep pinching myself about.”
And that state of disbelief still creeps up on Dennis. Whether it’s deciding to paint a room or hang a picture on a wall, what would have been a “no” before, has now turned into a “yes”.
“I’m getting security for the windows… and solar panels that will save me money in the future.”
Looking back, Dennis is thankful he found someone like Janet who took the time to explain things to him rather than just tell him “this is too high, that’s too high, come back when they’re lower”. Now Dennis gladly shares his new-found knowledge in the hope it helps people better understand their financial situation, just the same as Janet did for him.
“I tell people now to go and refinance, and they look at me like ‘what are you talking about?’ and then I can explain it to them.”
Thanks to Dennis for sharing his story with us, we hope he (and his two cats and two dogs) create many happy memories in their home.