Some swatches from Torqing Design during the design process.

Local businesses back beautiful beach house restoration

September 12, 2019 BY

This week marks a great milestone for this family of four moving into their new home. It’s been a fabulous collaboration of local businesses to bring this unusual and difficult project to life.

Late last year, Scott and Kate McCardel took full possession of a property that had been in the family for almost 20 years. Rather than embarking on a new build, they decided to demolish the original fibro they had temporarily called home, and move a beautiful Edwardian home from Sandringham onto the vacant block.
The weatherboard period home fit beautifully into the Old Torquay landscape, adding to other recently restored properties such as the historic Sea View Villa across the road.
“But we hit a hurdle right from the start,” said owner and Corks Crew Cellars staffer Scott McCardel.

“We’d sold our previous home and used all of the funds to settle on the property. We were in a strong financial position and just assumed that getting a small loan to purchase and transport the home would be a walk in the park. We’d engaged Lanie Conquest from Surf Coast Finance thinking that her role would mainly be to save us some time in the application process.

“Then the credit crunch hit. The banks were putting living expenses and credit card limits under the spotlight, and much to our surprise, lenders didn’t like our little project as much as we did.”

It was the 2017 series of The Block that got Scott and Kate thinking about a relocated house as an alternative to building from scratch.

On the show, five couples overhauled old weatherboard California Bungalows into beautiful contemporary homes.

“It was the perfect way to recreate the style of an Old Torquay beach house and meant a perfectly good house that was destined for destruction could be saved,” Kate added.

It was the scrutiny from the banks that encouraged them to seek professional building advice.

“We had been led to believe that the work required once the house arrived on the block was a reasonably straightforward process,” Scott said.

“We were focused on the roof, connecting the services and landscaping”.

But the family soon realised there was a lot more to this project, and it became obvious as to why the banks were so reluctant to be involved.

“Lanie put us in touch with Jay Williams from View Constructions, and thankfully he opened our eyes to what we could be up for.

“We realised that the move from Sandringham to Torquay could (and did) result in a lot of movement in the home’s foundations and structures.

“So now we were making allowances for plaster, waterproofing, floors, and a complete overhaul of the kitchen and bathrooms. We had to allow for the worst-case scenario.”

Surf Coast Finance’s Lanie Conquest said that banks have seen every disaster possible, so they tend to be particularly cautious unless there’s a fixed price contract, “which is impossible on a project like this”.

“We needed a lender who would not need to control the funds, and simply provide a sizeable equity release against the vacant block value alone. At a reasonable price.”

When the home arrived in Torquay, the damage that occurred in transit was definitely more than they expected.

The plaster work needed full replacement and the laundry and en-suite needed to be redone. Nine months later, and the project has just completed.

“The extent of damage allowed us to rethink a few things that we hadn’t even thought of,” Kate and Scott said.

“We have now effectively done our own renovation, including new rooflines, and a fantastic outdoor entertainment space, so it really does feel like a brand-new home.”

Lanie is quick to note that getting additional funding mid-way through the project would have been costly.

“The banks are incredibly conservative when it comes to protecting their positions and have a low tolerance for being involved in construction cost blow-outs.

“It was really important that Jay and his team were cautious, and that Kate and Scott took his advice on board.”

For more tips and advice, contact Lanie Conquest at Surf Coast Finance. With over 25 years’ banking and financial services experience, she helps local families and businesses make smart financing decisions.

Phone 0418 938 646, email lanie@surfcoastfinance.com.au, or visit surfcoastfinance.com.au.