The Smith family are among Mt Martha's newest locals.
Simon, Becca and Jemima have long sought a sea change, and with the recent purchase of their Mt Martha property, the Mornington Peninsula will soon be their home.
We talked to Simon about the reasons for a change of environment, and why moving to the Peninsula was so important to him and his family. Simon and his wife Becca have been living an inner city life in Coburg since 2000, during which time their daughter Jemima was born. The family saw a great deal of change happening in the area over the years, with the rapid rise of apartment living and subsequent growth in population, traffic and a fast paced existence.
"We see the Mornington Peninsula as offering a traditional Australian spirit, with a sense of community and a village feel. It's like there is a different sense of purpose here. It seems that people work to live rather than living to work. It's 24/7 in the city and everything is open all the time, whereas around here shops close in the evening and on Sundays. Life here reminds me of my upbringing, where people know each other and they're friendly and take the time to stop and chat or help out a neighbour. We love the quiet, and being able to hear nature."
Such was their commitment to the area, they enrolled their daughter in a local high school and Becca found a rewarding job opportunity in the Mt Martha area, and they rented a house whilst waiting for their Coburg home to sell. During this time they researched properties in every area around the Mornington Peninsula, from Balnarring and Cape Schanck to Safety Beach and Rye back beach and everywhere in between, and they soon decided that Mt Martha was the ideal suburb for them. The hunt for the right house was a long and at times disheartening process, until they met Mark Engwerda of Danckert Real Estate.
Mark had been chatting to Becca about their search for the ideal family home, and he introduced them to a new listing in Morlyn Drive. It was pretty much love at first sight, and their search for a five bedroom, two bathroom family home, complete with a swimming pool, had finally come to an end.
"It's a really cool story actually. We'd looked at hundreds of houses online and went to loads of inspections too. I was travelling back and forth from Coburg at that stage which was quite a journey by train and bus, and I had just got back to the city when Becca told me about this house Mark had shown her. She was quite keen on the property, so I decided to come back to view it. When Mark offered to collect me from the station I was pretty impressed. So he picked me up and took me for a coffee and we had a great chat about what our needs were as a family and the type of home and lifestyle we really wanted to achieve."
"I have all the time in the world for Mark. His level of professionalism was fantastic and his willingness to engage in dialogue about the house and about what we were looking for was really refreshing. The communication was really honest and transparent and he created a straight forward process that lead to us buying our property in Mt Martha. Other Agents we met were judgemental and gave such attitude without knowing our circumstances. For us it was simple - we were looking to buy a home, not an investment property. We wanted to live in Mt Martha within walking distance of the beach and within easy access of public transport."
"Buying our new home was one of the fastest and smoothest things I've ever done. We saw the house on the Tuesday and by that same evening Mark had secured the property for us. There was no mucking around or cheesy sales talk. He did the right thing by the Vendor and by us, and we couldn't be happier. Our experience with Danckert Real Estate couldn't have been any more simple and straight forward, and we couldn't recommend Mark highly enough. He would be a great role model for real estate agents, on how to work with a buyer and how to understand their evaluation process and the level of communication they need. You can't fast talk someone into buying a home, it's an emotional decision and what you want is someone who can help you find that home and facilitate the sale as smoothly and stress-free as possible. And that's exactly what Mark did."
Simon and his family are leaving their hectic lifestyle in the city behind and creating a better quality of life for themselves, with a sense of freedom and of community. They are set to move into Mt Martha in mid November - some very happy new locals indeed.