Felicity and Geoff are significant customers to Keystart. They were our very first FirstStart (now Shared Ownership) Home Loan customers. The Premier at the time, Alan Carpenter, visited the couple and they were in the media spotlight for a couple of weeks. Ten years have passed since then, so we thought we would go back to visit them to find out what they have been up to.
The moment you walk in the door of Felicity and Geoff’s home it’s clear this family has a creative and interesting life. The home is light and bright and the walls are adorned with artwork, photos and mementos from the couple’s world travels. But it started out as a very different looking property.
Home renos on a budget
The home came on the market at the perfect time for the couple, they had a young daughter, their lease was coming up on the small rental they were in and this house was straight across the road from where they were renting. It was not a pretty sight, but with Geoff’s background working on a home renovation show in the UK, they could see the potential.
Proud homeowner Felicity explained what they have been up to in the years since they were handed the keys.
"We’ve painted it all, the whole house. In the kitchen we added cabinets. Geoff’s brother-in-law is a carpenter so we paid for materials, he wouldn’t let us pay him. That was a really nice gesture from him. There really wasn’t much in the way of storage so we put that in. We hated the tiles so we took those off. We’ve only changed taps and fittings, we haven’t changed flooring or benchtops. We’ve just added extra things."
The couple have prioritised the rooms they wanted to update. The one bathroom for the home was in good condition and wasn’t a priority – so it got some cosmetic changes without a huge budget spend. The courtyard was completely redone, the roof tiles replaced and they have even added a bird aviary. All within a tight budget and a lot of the work was done by themselves.
International perspective - no need for a four by two
The house is a three by one and is compact but plenty big enough for the family's needs.
"I think having lived in England, it changed our perception. Before we were married, we were looking at the standard four by two with a backyard. That was just what we thought would happen. We couldn’t afford it and then in the end, after two years of marriage, we went overseas. And then we were living in these tiny little attic rooms. So we know what it’s like to be in a tiny, tiny, space!
"We don’t have the stress. Number one is we want to be happy and live as a cohesive family. That's what's important. And it was stressful not having that security of our own place when we were renting. So coming in here has been wonderful," Felicity explained.
"By having a smaller home, it has actually enabled us to do those extra little things around the house to make it more liveable," Geoff added.
Felicity and Geoff are not planning on moving from Keystart in the immediate future. They now have other costs, including high-school fees, and are content to consider that option in a few more years. Regardless of their home loan lender, they are not looking at moving house anytime soon.
“We figure that as we were older first home owners, we were almost 40 what’s the point in upscaling and it’s already perfect for a downsizer!" said Felicity.