Belinda and Ashley Benson

Borrowing money can get awfully complicated and that’s where having the right mortgage broker made all the difference for Belinda and Ashley Benson.

Belinda & Ashley Benson

The couple initially met Smartline mortgage adviser Sharon Lee through a work colleague when they were buying their first home.

“It was our first time borrowing this kind of money,” says Belinda, “so it was all very nerve-racking. Having Sharon not only explain everything, but also do everything, really took the pressure off. She presented us with three suitable loan options, all with different features. We just compared the options and selected the one that worked best for us – which was a loan with ING.”

In 2014, the couple decided to buy a café business that Ashley – who is a chef – was going to run. This would include a rebranding and new internal fitout. Again, Sharon was their adviser of choice. She advised an interest-only business loan, again through ING, and after a revaluation of the house, they were able to borrow additional funds to buy the business.

Then things really started to heat up. Written into the contract was that Belinda and Ashley were to have first dibs should the café’s building come up for sale. Six months after the business started, the landlord said she was ready to sell.

“It was unexpected and very stressful because we just weren’t ready to buy yet, but it was an excellent price and we knew it would be a really good investment,” says Belinda.

The problem was, as Sharon advised them, banks won’t consider lending based on business income for small businesses less than 2 years old.

The couple managed to stall the sale over the next 6 months, but then the landlord put the pressure on. Sharon took the figures to ING to see if she could convince them to come to the party, despite only having 12 months in business. It worked, and pre-approval was granted.

As the settlement date fast approached, however, ING still needed paperwork that was very slowly being processed by the ATO. The couple defaulted on the settlement date because the documents hadn’t come through on time, despite everyone’s best efforts. Receiving a Notice of Default, Belinda and Ashley faced losing the property and their deposit, as well as having to pay legal fees and penalties. They had 12 days to come through with the money.

“It was an incredibly stressful time,” says Belinda, “There were so many things going on that we didn’t understand – luckily Sharon did. She was liaising back and forth with our lawyers, with the landlord’s lawyers, with ING’s lawyers, and with our accountant. She was calling us at all hours of the night, running through everything and telling us what our options were. There was a lot of pressure on her but she was just fantastic, positive and professional all the way.”

The couple finally settled with just one day to spare!






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