real life

"I arrived home to a letter taped to our front door."

“I’ll never forget the first time I saw my first home.”

There are times where I wish I had the power of foresight. If only I had known about BOQ (Bank of Queensland) and their Clear Path Home Loan, my life would be completely different.

Let me start at the beginning.

I’ll never forget the first time I saw my first home. It was like love at first sight. My boyfriend was working in real estate and came across a beautiful unit complex within walking distance of the beach. We’d been renting for a few years and we were finally ready to buy. We walked through it dreaming of the kind of life we’d build if we bought it. While standing in the courtyard trying to ignore the traffic sounds that threatened to burst our happy bubble I asked my boyfriend if he thought we should buy it.

Just as an FYI, you should know that this post is an advertorial by BOQ. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100% authentic and written in their own words.

“I think we’re standing in our new home,” he said. I felt giddy. We were happy, we were in love and we were about to buy our first home. We became home owners with the wide-eyed innocence of any happy and in love couple who had no idea bad things could every happen to us within our bubble. Life was perfect, so everything from now on was going to be perfect.

Nine years later I arrived home to a letter taped to our front door. It was a notice informing us that our non-bank lender was foreclosing on our home. After eight-and-a-half years of being perfect clients who had paid our mortgage ahead of time we quickly fell behind when my husband was fired during the Global Financial Crisis in 2008/2009. We immediately called our lender and explained the situation. They couldn’t have been nicer. They put us on temporary reduced payments and we did our best to find more work. Then they hit us with thousands of dollars in late fees, endless nasty letters and treated us like criminals.

“I learned the hard way that a non-bank lender was not the way to go.”

Home ownership is the Australian dream but beware who you borrow from. I learned the hard way that a non-bank lender was not the way to go. If you are going to borrow a huge amount of money from any institution, make it a bank where you can establish a relationship. Particularly one with a unique customer focused approach, like BOQ, who build genuine relationships based on knowledge and understanding of the customer. And one that has a home loan with flexibility to suit your needs like the Clear Path Home Loan from BOQ.

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I’ve also learned that it’s really hard to save a 10 or 20 percent deposit these days but some banks, like BOQ, can offer you a five percent deposit if you need it. As long as you commit to pay a little more than the minimum amount each month you will still make great progress on your mortgage.

I’ve learned that there are ways to become a property owner without spending every cent you’ve ever earned. So you can’t afford the home of your dreams? Don’t let that stop you investing. When it comes to investment properties, a good bank can give you great advice on the best way to go about it before you’ve even started looking. And there are even home loans like Clear Path Home Loan that don’t punish you for having an investment property.

Keep the lines of communication open with your lender. Sit down once or twice a year and discuss your financial goals. They are experts and know a lot more than Google. They will tell you exactly how to get to where you want to go.

Finally enjoy your life. Don’t get such a huge mortgage that you have no quality of life. I wish I’d bought a smaller home near where my family lived instead of a fabulous unit at a dream location. When things got tough it would have been much easier for my family to help if we’d been nearby.

While our dreams of owning a home again are slowly becoming a reality now (because we have learned from our mistakes), if I had known about BOQ, we wouldn’t have had to make mistakes to learn from. We could’ve just been guided by the experts.

These are the top 5 things you to look out for in a home loan.

Do you have a home loan? What is one tip you would tell your friend looking to buy a home?

Visit the BOQ website for all of your financial queries.

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