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Ivan & Alison Hewlett

After 40 years in the same house I felt the Lord was saying to me “Why are you staying here? Who are you kidding?” Because I’m now 82 and I had a quarter-acre section, with a swimming pool! And at 82 you can’t manage that. So I said, “Okay Lord I’ll start looking”.

We had looked around some three years earlier to see if there was something we felt was right for us on the market and finally gave up. We didn’t feel happy about anything. So we carried on.

And when I felt the Lord was speaking to me, about November last year, I shared that with our family, we have four adult family, so it wasn’t long before they were sending in addresses of houses that we should go and look at. They all got on their computers and searched the market. So we started looking at some of these houses. And after we’d done that for a while we found this great house. 

We thought, well this house would cost a bit more but it is worth a lot more than the rest of the houses. But the problem is, how could we possibly buy that because we’d have to sell our present house and we haven’t even started that process. Then we ran into Christmas. But just a few days before Christmas we signed a sale and purchase agreement and made an offer on this house. The people who were living here counter-signed and we had a proper agreement. Then there was Christmas and in early January it was chaos. We had every bed filled with family, and we had 10 beds in that house.

Anyway, we spoke with our architect son and said how do we sell our house? And he said the first thing to do is take photos and so we said: “We’ll do that tomorrow morning – the house looks best in the morning”. Also, that day we agreed with a land agent to list the house and they said: “Okay we’ll come by tomorrow and take some photographs”. Then the next day at breakfast time we heard a great commotion outside on the lawn alongside the house and we went to the window to see what was going on and here’s a big truck with at least four men rushing around unloading scaffolding and erecting it!

Now we had arranged back in September – we’d signed a contract to have the roof painted of the house. And every 2-3 weeks the contractor would contact us and say “We haven’t forgotten you. We are busy and we’ll get on to it just as soon as we can”. And then we hadn’t heard anything for a couple of months and then suddenly one morning these people arrived and started putting up scaffolding. So right when we wanted that photo the house was surrounded by scaffolding! So we couldn’t do it.

So we never actually signed up with that real estate agent to sell the house. Because it seemed hopeless. We rang our architect son in Auckland and told him what had happened and he said “What a disaster!” In the meantime, someone had come along and made a cash offer on the house we wanted to buy. And so we only had until 31 January come up with the money. So we thought “It doesn’t look as if we can buy this house”.

And then a second cash offer came in and he wanted to put the cash down immediately, which meant we had only five days to find the money! So we let the family know this is and we prayed “Lord if this is not the house for us that’s fine, we’ll just stay where we are. We won’t be broken-hearted”, even though we liked this house best. A couple of days went by and then our architect son rang back and said “My wife and I have been wanting to buy an investment property and we’d like to buy your house - We think it would be a good house to buy. We want to make an offer on your house”.

Their offer was a bit short of the asking price for the new house. So we said, “Because of the Liberty Trust money that’s been there and waiting for many years now we can bridge that gap”. It was then that I contacted Liberty Trust – who said you can actually borrow $116,000. And then another son said “I’d like to take responsibility for taking care of the repayments. I’ve got a job at the moment which allows me to do this”. And we said well if you do that then you’ll buy a share of the house.

So we set off for Thames that day and we had no idea what happened and when we got back there was a message waiting for us that we had bought the house! And our house, of course, was sold the same day to our son and daughter in law. So we are sitting in this house today as a result of having that Liberty Trust fund that I had taken out many years earlier.

We took out the Liberty Trust membership and had never dreamed of this situation arising and we are enjoying this beautiful home in our retirement. We weren’t buying it for ourselves we were buying it for our family.

I was chairman of the deacons group in our church and the deacons handled all the finances. Somehow through my contacts, I heard of the formation of Liberty Trust in Whakatane. So I attended the first meeting that the founders of Liberty Trust held in Tauranga. I was in the audience. What they said made good sense to me and so I eventually started several memberships. My son who is looking after our repayments at present took over two of our memberships and as a result was able to buy two houses. After his marriage came apart he kept one house and she kept the other. One of the memberships was for our church. The other deacons agreed with me. Later we gifted that membership to a different church group in Opotiki who needed a place of worship and didn’t have the finance to get a place and so we gifted that membership to the group. The remaining membership I offered it to each of our sons in turn but for one reason or another it didn’t work out. But it is the one I have now used myself. And at our age to have somewhere to sit and enjoy the view is just wonderful.

Ivan Hewlett

14 October 2018