A young family’s dream home was left in ruins after its builder went bankrupt.
Emma and Nathan Doecke and their two children were planning to move into their new home by Christmas 2021 before the builder collapsed due to about $14 million.
The couple purchased a house and land package near Newcastle through First Step Homes, who then hired Oracle Platinum Homes as their builder. There were months of frustrating delays before Oracle went into liquidation in August 2022.
When Oracle closed, Doecke’s house was still half-built and liquidators said there was no money left to pay them back, even though Oracle CEO Tom Orel lived in a multimillion-dollar beachfront mansion on the Gold Coast.
After the liquidation of the company, Ms. Doecke said they had to try to find a new builder and then shell out an additional $100,000 to pay them to finish their house.
As well as racking up monthly mortgage bills for the property they can’t move into, the couple are paying rent on another home and construction delays cost them $10,000 in voided grants for first-time buyers and homebuilders.
Emma and Nathan Doecke needed another $100,000 to finish their house after their builder went bankrupt, despite having already paid for the house.
Oracle Platinum Homes, one of Queensland’s largest construction companies, went into liquidation in August 2022.
‘We tried to contact First Step Homes and they said, ‘Sorry, we’ve never experienced this before, we don’t know what the next steps are.’ We can’t help you,” an emotional Mrs. Doecke told A Current Affair this week.
“We went to our local (bank) branch and then it was, ‘Oh, no, I’m sorry, we can’t help you,'” he said.
Westpac originally told them they were already too in debt to be able to borrow more money, leading the couple to take on extra jobs to make ends meet.
“We work too much, we can’t see our children… my mother raises our children, we don’t,” Mrs. Doecke said.
Doecke said she and her husband had to take on extra jobs and were unable to spend time with their children because rent and loan bills were piling up.
To make matters worse, thieves recently stole a lawnmower and a water tank from his construction site and vandals broke into the unsecured house causing damage to some walls.
‘We don’t want pity, we don’t want sympathy and we don’t want things to be given to us. We are happy to work for it, but we just need a chance,” said Ms Doecke.
But there has finally been good news for the Doecke family.
After ACA contacted Westpac, the bank agreed to finance the rest of the construction through a loan and help consolidate the couple’s debt.
The financial restructuring should allow them to complete construction and save $800 a week in payments.
It also means that the couple will no longer have to do extra work and will be able to spend more time with their children.
“At Westpac we understand that many Australians have been having a tough time during the cost of living crisis,” a spokesperson for the bank said.
‘Building a house is stressful at the best of times, but it’s even more difficult when families are caught up in events beyond their control.
‘We are delighted to be able to help Nathan and Emma finish their house and move in.
“The family has been through a lot and we hope this will allow them to put the last few years behind them and settle down.”