I have a passion/talent for house and garden design and styling but I never knew that my passion for renovating homes could be used for good, even to change lives, until the beginning of 2016.
My sister, Ruth Larwill, is the Founder of an NGO called Bloom Asia so I have seen the amazing work they do to empower underprivileged women in impoverished communities over many years. They began this work in Cambodia way back in 2006. At our family Christmas gathering in 2015, I heard about the desperate need there is for similar work to be done in Cebu, Philippines.
I prayed about how I could help even though I was uncertain my skills could be used in any way. But I asked God “How can my love of house flipping contribute to His purpose for my life?”. While I was praying, the idea of renovating a house and giving the profit to Bloom came to me. I told my husband (Jason) about it and he said the most amazing thing to me that I replay over and over…. His words were, “it’ll be massive but if anyone can do it, you can”. This gave me the encouragement and confidence I needed to begin.
I found a suitable property (14 John Street, East Toowoomba) on line but it went off the market before I could inspect it. I then found 3 others but they sold so quickly that I realised the market for the ‘old renovator’ was so hot I had to be ready with finances to have a chance.
So I rang our local bank (Westpac Clifford Garden Toowoomba), because I previously have had such AMAZING SERVICE from two women (Julie & Sally). They are the most friendly, helpful, encouraging and competent women I have ever dealt with. Julie empathised with Bloom’s need to fundraise and worked so hard to help us! She arranged for bank fees to be waived and canvassed hard to get me the finance I needed. This was drawn out because our tax for the previous year was not processed and had to be done first. Although Julie did most of our loan approval, Sally also helped when we were faced with time deadlines. I would recommend both of these amazing women to anyone wanting a loan. They are BRILLIANT!
Meanwhile, to my surprise, I found 14 John Street back on the market, but this time, under a different agent at a REDUCED PRICE!!! I called and met the most wonderful Real Estate Agent – a man by the name of David Harms from Success Realty. He is the most conscientious agent I’ve dealt with. Although he was away at a conference he returned all my emails promptly; met me every time at MY convenience; helped us measure up the house; and being a seasoned renovator himself, he contributed his ideas on a new layout design. David was friendly, courteous, not “over-the-top”, genuine and a diligent agent. I would recommend David to anyone buying or selling property.
I was thrilled when David and Angela (his wife and business partner) continued their generosity by offering to sell the house and donate their commission to Bloom. Angela, has also offered to help with marketing in anyway! What an incredible couple…
I needed the services of a Solicitor next, so I contacted Andrew Taylor of Groom and Lavers Solicitors. Andrew immediately agreed to do all legal work and searches for both buying and selling of the property at no charge! The contract was not standard and Andrew had to do a lot of extra work amending it to work in my favour. This was done on top of the agreed services. Wow! I am blown away by the generosity of our community in Toowoomba who want to use their skills to change lives.
Next on my list was to have plans drawn up to submit to council. This meant that I needed a Drafter. Our past Drafter could not work within our time frame but recommended us to a colleague “Owen Kleidon” of “StruXi Design” who agreed to work on our project with us.
The contract is unconditional now, with a settlement date of 20 July 2016! This is happening!
I am now focusing my work on my renovation design and writing letters to businesses asking for donations. The generosity form our community continued while shopping for house items…
Prior to my first shopping trip, I prayed that God would guide me to the businesses that He knew would help. I went into European Design for the first time and met Rebekah Pieper. She was so friendly and interested in the project. She had worked in missions in Thailand and offered to help in any way she could. One thing led to another and Bec has now taken over the fundraising section of the project freeing me to put more time into the house! Bec has a background in logistic managing, coaching, Real Estate and marketing. Having a break from overseas mission work, Bec is currently in retail as well as practising life coaching where she can help people get key tools and strategies they can utilise to live an extraordinary life. I am so glad she is on the team!
This story does not end here. We have had so many businesses offer to do work at cost and some have even supplied materials for free. I have dedicated a section on the Bloom House Flip Facebook page to celebrate these amazing businesses…