Mark and Antionetta Sciacchitano
1989 – Married and bought first home
1998 – Sold first home, bought land and built new home
2007 – Bought Cairns house with McCarthy Group
Why did you decide to invest in property?
“I guess we’re a bit old-fashioned – both of us have been brought up to believe bricks and mortar is the safest way to go. There was never any question in our minds that this was the path we wanted to take; it was just a question of how and when.”
What was the trigger for buying?
“When we realised it was time to think about actually doing it, we didn’t really know where to start. Then a colleague at Antonietta’s school mentioned she was involved with McCarthy Group and encouraged us to talk to them. The thing that really made us sure it was the right thing was going to McCarthy Group’s half-yearly conference and meeting a whole lot of other McCarthy clients. We met people who had two, three, even five or six properties, and the thing that stood out was how excited they were. It was great to be around successful people and that gave us a lot of confidence. I work in a successful family business and we don’t have to advertise – it’s all word of mouth. And I liked the fact McCarthy don’t need to advertise either.”
How did you feel?
“Worried, scared, and very apprehensive at first! It was a big decision to put ourselves under such financial pressure and we had a big fear of things not working out. There were a few sleepless nights. But we knew we had to bite the bullet and do something – we wanted to make sure our future and our daughters’ future were secure. Looking back though, having McCarthy involved meant we really didn’t have to worry about anything. They had the answers to every question and never seemed to mind us asking them.”
What were the biggest challenges you faced?
“The hardest thing was probably facing our fears and trying not to worry too much. A couple of things went wrong that were out of anyone’s control, which didn’t help. Firstly interest rates just seemed to keep going up every time we blinked and we were worried about the repayments. But McCarthy Group found tenants within a week of the house being completed so that really took the pressure off. Also there was a patch of bad weather while they were building – it rained for two weeks straight so everything was delayed. It was only two weeks but it felt like forever at the time.”
So how do you feel now that the process is finished?
“We feel good, we feel relieved. Looking back we feel we couldn’t have been more supported – and I hate to think of how it would have been if we had tried to do it ourselves. With two daughters who both love to dance, our weekends are taken up already, and my wife and I both work during the week. Just the time it would have taken just to find a property, let alone to know if we were choosing a good one or paying the right price…it would have been too much stress.”
Where to from here?
“Well, we want to do more – but we’re letting the dust settle before thinking too hard about how many more or when! It’s great to get through it and know we can do it, that we’ve done it. That it wasn’t as hard as we thought it would be and now we’re well on the way to our financial freedom.”