27 May, 2016 / Category: Blog
Infolio Property Advisors is proud to present the first in our ‘Meet Infolio’s Clients’ series, the purpose of which is to allow our clients to tell you about their experiences with Infolio first-hand. Over the coming months, we’ll be presenting you with beautiful photo-documentary style editorial pieces featuring candid, humorous and often moving snapshots from our clients’ lives.
The first in our series is Jean, who is in the process of moving from her long-term residence on the Mornington Peninsula to a beautiful inner-suburban bayside home. We met with Jean at the famous Café Lafayette overlooking the bay in Port Melbourne, and she shared her recent property journey with us.
Jean: My husband and I, Steve, have lived in Flinders for the past 18 years. When we retired we didn’t want to stay in the city. We bought 40 acres on the ridge up at Flinders and had to do something with it. We became cattle farmers. Previously, Steve was in finance and I was retired. We bought 24 head of black angus heifers. We designed the house for ourselves, and had it built. It was brilliant.
Infolio: Did you enjoy the process of building?
J: I did, Steve didn’t. But yes, we enjoyed building something together. It worked beautifully in fact, because we both had our own things to do. We did the gardens over about 2.5 acres. Steve died in November, he had cancer. He had two transplants: the first worked successfully with five years’ remission, but the second didn’t work. I can’t maintain the property on my own at Flinders– it’s not the cattle that’s the problem, it’s the garden. We’ve got good friends down there, but it seems like now is the time to move on. We sold it in January and my daughters said, ‘there’s no way you can empty this place on your own and house hunt at the same time’. I had heard of buyers’ advocates because my nephew used one. But it was ultimately my daughter’s suggestion to use an advocate: she went online and found Infolio.
Tilly: (Jean’s daughter) I didn’t know of anyone directly to use, so it was a case of looking for a local advocate. It was just a case of having a chat with them and seeing how they felt.
Infolio: How long did it take before you engaged an advocate after selling your home in Flinders?
Jean: A month at the most, because I was getting panicky. I knew where I wanted to live. For a long time I’ve know that when I was on my own – as I knew I would eventually be – I’d want to be in Albert Park. We’d lived in Brighton for 25 years when the children were at school. I wasn’t going to go back there: it’s much too family oriented. We used to go to Church St every Friday for a bowl of pasta and a glass of wine; you can’t do that on your own. I would have felt totally lost. But I did know Albert Park. Just ’round Albert Park Village you see so many single people in the evenings, just sitting having supper on their own quite comfortably. I thought: this is the place for me. That’s why I chose that area. I then made an appointment to see Lauren from Infolio.
Infolio: What kind of questions did Lauren ask initially?
Jean: The first thing she did, was to get onto the internet to see our Flinders property. So that gave her a good start! But, never the less, she was so relaxed. Lauren’s so easy to talk to, you feel as though you’ve known her and Vicky for ages. She bounces in and chats and chats – you don’t realise she’s actually gathering information. She wanted to know why I’d chosen the area, which I explained. My daughter came with me, because I wasn’t at all sure what to do.
Tilly: She showed Mum and I the properties they had sourced for other clients, which I think started a bit of a conversation around the look and feel of the house that Mum needed.
Jean: I got what I wanted! Although I would have a loved a two-storey around Albert Park Village – in fact, I now realise that I’m better off with a single-storey terrace. And this is a really pretty one. I think that is the better pick for me.
Infolio: How long did it take for Lauren to find property for you?
Jean: A couple of weeks, maybe three.
Infolio: How many homes did you see?
Jean: This was the first one I saw.
Infolio: Oh, excellent! So it was immediate.
Jean: Lauren really honed in on what I needed. When we arrived at Infolio’s business premises, we were shown in so courteously by the Infolio team. They are so friendly. Their business is really beautifully set out, and we were welcomed by name immediately upon coming through the front door. The meeting room is very cosy – down the centre of the table is a tray with jugs of water and glasses each with cucumber in it. Their attention to detail was wonderful. Right from the very start. And Lauren doesn’t push it. She gets everything she wants from you, but you don’t feel put upon. After that first appointment Lauren rang me and said ‘I’ve got three houses to show you’. There were also a couple of drive pasts. So, we went to Richardson Street first (the home Jean eventually purchased).
I should explain that in the past, Steve and I had always enjoyed moving houses. Flinders was the longest place we’d ever stayed at. We saw it as quite an adventure, we waited for that moment when we both were excited about a property and said ‘This is it!’ Now, I didn’t get that feeling here. I thought ‘it feels good, it’s very pleasant’. It was just a house and I was inspecting it. Because this wasn’t a move I wanted to make. This had been forced on me. It wasn’t my choice. I was happy with everything about it – my furniture would go well there. Lauren had picked up so much about me and what I would like and need from looking at my Flinders property on the internet. We went on to see the second one, which I’d seen on the internet and thought ‘Oh, I love this!’ before viewing it physically. Unfortunately it had been dollied up for sale – it was impressive but it was so cramped! It was cold.
J: You got the feeling that it was for a professional couple who didn’t do much entertaining – and it was just a place to sleep. There was no full length hanging space anywhere. It was stunning, but it was useless to me. I was wandering around in this property, and Lauren said to me. ‘It’s not right, is it? With you in here, it doesn’t feel right to me’. We then went to see the third one – Lauren walked in the door and said promptly ‘This is appalling! It’s badly built. I’m sorry I brought you here!’ I said ‘that’s alright’ and we had a laugh. We then drove past another couple of properties. Till and I went (Jean’s daughter) then went and had lunch in South Melbourne, and we noted that Richardson St was open for inspection in the afternoon. So I went back and walked around by myself, and had a much closer look. Again, I still didn’t get the ‘ooh’ feeling, but I started to imagine my possessions there. I was thinking ‘Yes, this is good. The storage is good.’ I said to Till ‘The auction is coming up fairly soon. I don’t lose anything by getting Lauren to bid, because this house will be fine. I could make this mine. I’d be comfortable here.’ Till said ‘But you didn’t get that feeling!’ I told her that I didn’t expect to, because this new home was a place for me to move to that was convenient. So I rang Lauren and asked her to do the due diligence and to arrange the building survey. I worked on the assumption that if it were for me, it would be knocked down to me.
Infolio: So did Lauren bid at auction for you?
Jean: Yes, she did.
Infolio : Were you present?
Jean: Yes. But Lauren said ‘Don’t acknowledge me at the auction. If there’s a lot going on and the auctioneer knows my client is here, he might start pushing you directly, saying ‘You really want this don’t you.’’ Lauren said she didn’t want that to happen to me. I didn’t have my hearing aids in. There were masses of people there, but not that many people bidding. I really didn’t hear anything that was going, but that was OK. I didn’t care whether I got it or I didn’t. It was the strangest thing, at auctions Steve always said ‘Keep your hands in your pockets, your mouth closed and stay as far away from me as possible when I’m bidding.’ And then Lauren waited and waited and waited, the auctioneer had been in twice before Lauren bid. The, it was knocked down to me.
Infolio: How did you feel afterwards?
Jean: I didn’t feel any different. I felt a bit of relief, but then both my children said ‘We love it! It’s perfect for you. Steve would love it. He would have picked it for you.’ Then I felt a bit better. Then we went to Hunkydory for supper, we sort of celebrated.
Infolio: Selling property is deeply emotional: on one hand there’s the house, but on the other it’s about a changing life stage.
Jean: Oh yes, Lauren was very much aware that this change was not of my choosing. And she went out of her way to say ‘I don’t expect you to get all excited. I’m not looking for that, it’s not what I need to get from you when I’m showing you property. I know what the situation is. You just respond in the way that’s right for you.’ When Richardson Street was finally knocked down to me, she flew across to me with joy saying ‘You’ve bought a house!’
Infolio: When do you settle on your home?
Jean: We’ve a 90 day settlement. Well now, I’m excited. Every time I come to Melbourne, I detour and drive by my new house. Sometimes I park my car and go for a walk around my new neighbourhood. Yes, there’s a lot of excitement about the move now. I’ve started properly packing up and selling some antique furniture. Now I’m in the planning stage for something specific, I have direction again.
Infolio: When your life changes, your home changes. What do you think this move will now bring to you?
Jean: I will have more opportunities to do things I want to do, like courses at the CAE. I already am a benefactor at the ballet, so I can go there and to the MSO more often. I am sick of driving; I much prefer the light rail that’s here. Also, although I live way out in the country it isn’t easy walking there with all the dirt roads. I’m lazy out there. Here, things are flat and comfortable and there’s things to see as well. Flinders has beautiful views, but you need something a bit more when you’re doing the same thing every day. There’s so much variation in property here, it’s marvellous! It will be a totally different life for me: it’s more than a change of house, it’s a complete change of life.
How would you reflect upon Infolio?
Jean: Lauren was more than supportive. You get the distinct impression thatLauren is a friend who is helping you to go and look at property. She explained everything. She didn’t make any wild promises or anything – if anything she talked you down rather than up. And Lauren’s buoyant! By Jove, she gives you a lift. Constant little emails, she was always back and forward. Lauren said to me: ‘As soon as you’re in, you and Tilly and Stuart, I’m taking you out for supper and we can have a good old chat.’ And I’m sure she will. But all the time, we got messages from the Infolio team. From Effie, or Lauren or Vicky. And Lauren would ring and say ‘Are you clear on all of that? Do you want to do this?’ I would say, they were be in touch with me at least three times a week – and not to push things, but just to check in. And then I got emails from them saying ‘We’re thrilled to bits! We were all cheering this morning in the office, we’re delighted for you.’ It’s one special place. I don’t know if I need to tell anybody about an advocate, but by Jove, if I had to I would recommend Infolio.’