I have an awesome Mortgage Broker!


If you are thinking of using a mortgage broker, I would recommend doing your homework.
If you are as lucky as I am, the experience will be smooth.

In our early planning stages, we engaged in the services of Mortgage Finesse.
Danielle Ridley our Principal Broker guided us through the process and equipped us with all the advice we needed.
There is no pressure of using a particular bank.

Over the last few months, there has been heaps of paperwork and Sandi has been awesome! She will keep you on track and will make sure you tick all the relevant boxes, fill out your application forms correctly and meet timelines.

So, here are my tips for choosing an awesome broker like mine:

  1. Make sure they are accredited. MFAA and Finance Brokers Association of Australia (FBAA) brokers have to adhere to higher education standards and ethical standards aligned to government requirements.
  2. Get some feedback. We were lucky that Danielle and her team came highly recommended. Word of mouth is the best form of feedback but there is always forums and reviews online.
  3. Prepare questions. On your first consultation ask many questions and compare with other brokers what they can offer.
  4. What is their commission and do they offer rebates? Commission can be on-going and is paid directly by the loan provider. If a broker does not disclose this information I would not go with them. Some brokers offer rebates from part of their commission.
  5. Explain your needs. The broker should be able to explain different mortgage options and ensure that it meets your financial needs.

If you like to get in touch with my broker here are their details, you will not be disappointed.

Danielle Ridley
Financial Consultant
99-101 Beleura Hill Rd
Mornington, VIC 3931
PO Box 140 Chelsea, VIC 3196
Ph: 9020 1420 Mob: 0425 726 419 Fax: 9772 4013
Email: danielle@mortgagefinesse.com.au


Our Land is being titled!

20 months later and our land is being titled! Yipeeee..
Our conveyancer told us on Monday, 21 March and the next day we received an email from our developers.


Email from Developers


So, what happens next! Since November 2015 Victoria has adopted the Verification of Identity (VOI) a concept introduced in Western Australia. Our conveyancer, provided us with an email outlining the requirements. We had to complete our details online to identify ourselves. Once this is completed if you chose an appointment preference after business hours a nominated agent will contact you via email and text. A date and time is set to verify you in person (we did this today).

The agent must present a secure ID (photo, name and agent number). He verifies your ID documents, takes a picture of you and you sign electronically. We paid a couple rate of $99.00. This is valid for two years. So what is the purpose of this? To eliminate fraud.

We notified our builder that our land is being titled and they have requested for a soil test of the block.

I have a feeling April maybe the month for stage 1 of our build.


Modern Country Retreat Colour Scheme

If you looking for a neutral theme you must visit the Chelsea 26 display home at Harpley Estate.

The modern country retreat colour scheme is what we are going for. Love some of the decor items too!

Bar stools: Kennedy’s round barstools from GlobeWest.
Pendant Lighting: Koa Pendant in cream/wood. The Albi item code is MBTL 1167.
Stockist for Albi

A Little Decorum PORTLAND 3305
A W Smith & Co LEONGATHA 3953
Alain Luminaires HIGHETT 3190
Ancient Moods MOE 3825
Dollar Curtains and Blinds KILSYTH 3137
Future Nrg KIALLA 3631
Gisborne Cottage Flowers GISBORNE 3437
Gisborne Village Homewares GISBORNE 3437
Horsham Lighting & Decor HORSHAM 3400
Inside Living – Wangaratta WANGARATTA 3677
Moving Pictures Factory One WARRAGUL 3820
Oliver Birch BENDIGO 3550
Oz Design – Northland PRESTON 3072
Oz Design – Nunawading NUNAWADING 3131
Rulcifys KERANG 3579
Sofas Direct SOUTH MELBOURNE 320




Being thankful for the little things in life

On Saturday, 20 February Tropical Cyclone  Winston was registered as a category 5 cyclone, with gust winds of up to 330 km/hr. It was recorded as the strongest cyclone in the southern hemisphere. My poor little island, Fiji was affected by this storm and over 90% of homes were affected. Lives have been lost, schools closed, bridges washed away, houses destroyed, agriculture all blown flat but yet people have smiles and hope to rebuild. The international community has come to Fiji’s aid, especially Australia.

Photo credit: Facebook

In Australia, we have building standards that make our homes secure and strong. Unlike most homes in Fiji, especially in the farming community, homes are built with corrugated sheets.

As a homeowner, our responsibility is to ensure that we have taken all measures to have a proper build. This is why we opt for better builders and engage in the services of a Building Inspector.

While waiting for the land to title, we have researched and have found a reputable building inspector – SPI Property Inspections.

As of February 2016
For new home construction, there are five important stages.  SPI Property Inspections can be your independent inspector on each of these stages, at the following fees:

Base Stage $450.00
Frame Stage $525.00
Lock-up/Pre-Plaster $525.00
Fixing Stage $525.00
Final Handover $575.00
Total -$2,600.00
All prices include GST and travel

You can book any of these inspections at the above prices, however if you would like to book for all 5 stages, a discount is offered. The total discounted price will be $2,340.00.  The discount will be applied to the final stage, ie, the Final Handover will be $315.00.

Inspectors are all qualified builders and very experienced with residential construction projects.  They are also equipped with a state-of-the-art, custom-designed iPad app that allows them to complete the report at the time of inspection and email it to you the same day.

Take 3 – Variations!

During the Christmas period we had some time to think of all our choices, since we were waiting for Boutique Sales Manager to finalise a few of our requirements which meant our file was still open.

So, we decided to put our thoughts at ease and go with timber flooring.
We both like light timber and the Rocky Oak was a winner. This meant we had to make changes to our bathroom choice and kitchen cupboard.

My mom suggested to place a single sink to the kitchen bench space opposite the stove.
Yesterday, we made all our final choices and we are now waiting for our land to title.

Here is a list of changes:
Floor Cat. 7 Rocky Oak
Main Bathroom
Caesarstone Cat. 2 Organic White (20mm)
Floor Tiles Cat. 2 Selene Alpine MINFK0405 300 x 600
Wall Tiles Cat. 2 Gloss Ash TAKWJ0303 200 x 600
Cupboard Ravine Tessuto Milan
Caesarstone Cat. 2 Organic White (20mm)
Floor Tiles Cat. 2 Selene Alpine MINFK0405 300 x 600
Wall Tiles Cat. 2 Gloss Ash TAKWJ0303 200 x 600
Cupboard Quarry Micro Matt
Caesarstone Cat. 2 Organic White (20mm)
Floor Tiles Cat. 2 Selene Alpine MINFK0405 300 x 600
Wall Tiles Cat. 2 Gloss Ash TAKWJ0303 200 x 600
Cupboard Classic White
Top Cupboard Porcelain Sheen (same as base)
Sink Extra single mounted sink on island bench

A blog to follow..

I have read so many blogs and from each blog you learn something plus giving you great insight and ideas.

Just recently I came across the House Amour blog! Ashlee does an amazing job putting all her ideas together. At first you would think she is an interior designer, her colour palettes are very tasteful.

Follow her blog here https://houseamour.wordpress.com/


Don’t forget to visit her section on house related websites, https://houseamour.wordpress.com/house-related-sites/


Water Tank

This is our bit for the environment and being green. We have opted to have a water tank to service and recycle water from the laundry, toilets and garden. We have opted to go with an independent supplier, Rainwise Pools, Tanks and Pumps.

To allow for this, you must get your builder to provide a provision for future installation of rainwater tank by others after handover.  This includes capped service runs plumbed to WCs and Laundry and single weatherproof power point for Owner’s future pump.

These are the tanks we are looking at with Rainwise Pools, Tanks and Pumps.

Please note prices are current as of 22 December 2015.


Yarra Valley Average Water Consumption for a typical household:



Pull-Out Bin

This is often forgotten during the build process and it is a very important feature. When my parents were building their home some 18 years ago in Fiji, having a modern kitchen was such a big change. Even till today, their kitchen has not seemed to date. One of the key features I liked in their kitchen apart from the Oregon timber finish is the pull-out bin!

Boutique Homes has three pull-out bin options, we have opted for the waste management bin.

LP0012CH ABN Group Bin Flyer.png


On Friday,we had our electrical appointment. Dad also came along with us.

Some of the tips we got were to think how you would use the switch.
For example, in the laundry we placed a switch at a height of 1000mm to cater for us when ironing.

We chose a low profile diffused downlight kit 12W white, 24 in total!

My tip is to pay extra for the surge protector, it cost us $224 and is so worth it. Think of your water tank, you will need an outdoor switch for this.

If you building a double storey try and get all your electrical right for the bottom, it is harder to do this at a later stage.


Slimline switches to the entire home



Cannot avoid variations..

After our colour selection we were given 48 hours to make any changes. This is an opportunity to make changes to your selection and not incur a change fee. The most important 48 hours of your pre-build cycle. Kimberley, yes I mention her a lot because she is awesome! Arranged us a time on Saturday to go pick the right floor tiles. And trust me never pick anything to do with colour online. The variation of colours in physical form is so different.

And yes, we made a few variations:

Floor Tiles
Cat 4 600 x 600 Monza Colle White Satin/Lappato
Laundry Floor Tiles
Cat 4 300 x 600 Monza Colle White Satin/Lappato 
Garage Door
Colour – Caoba Profile – Cosmopolitan
Boral Aggregate Alpine
Tiles from floor to ceiling
Door Base – Gesso Lini Sheen
Internal Paint
3 coats of paint Wattyl Imperial White (upgrade to Dulux wash and wear)