A Love Story

by Mal James & Gina Kantzas

Saturday, August 29th, 2020

How are you doing?


Agreed, I’m going a bit stir crazy as well.


To quote my main man and mentor, Winnie the Pooh:


“People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day!” 


So I got through Breaking Bad and now I’m watching the Phillip Island Penguins live on YouTube each night……..what’s worrying me is, I’m liking it.


Hope you enjoy story number 8 in our 20 learnings in 20 years, as much as we did living it.


A Love Story.

Couples can be as one before they start looking for a home – however some soon discover they want very different things.

Alice and Adam are about how you buy your dream home, whilst having different ideas and still end up as a whole couple emotionally.

This is story of great love …. of working around the world in Paris, New York and …… of meeting and starting a family and then, whoops…. the family is growing, has needs; needs that are pulling them back to the wider family circle, back in Melbourne.

This is a story, that for fame and privacy reasons we have not put a specific address

The Love Story of Alice and Adam

Off-market Canterbury

The year was 2015 when we all first met, at a rather nice home in the Tara Estate – not theirs, merely an interludery (is that a word) abode, until more permanent digs could be acquired, hopefully with us helping them.

Alice was a lady of beauty and personality and one famous in her own field – whereas old buggalugs, Adam, the husband, an actuary, was punching above his weight. Actually, that’s unfair Alice was a lady of great beauty – but I digress, and we are joking – Gina and I took an immediate shine to both of them as individuals and as a couple. Whilst Alice has a bubbling over personality, we also felt a closeness to Adam – his love for his family and his humour (hence this paragraph which he laughed at when reading).

Very different people, in very different roles, with very different personalities – yet they were complementary and united.

It’s worthy of repeating – they had a common love for each other, their relationship and their family. As well, they respected themselves and their abilities in their own spaces and both were crystal clear on what each wanted and the other half’s happiness.

So, you would think great – they know what they want – easy peasy – like surely if ever there was a money for jam job, then this was it.

Well no, not really. It was a great job, a meaningful one – but it was not easy peasy.

Buying a property is about PPP’s – Price, Property and Position.

Normally Position is the No 1 determining factor agreed upon and the building (Property) is debated with the hubby rolling over a little on $, to the home she nominates, and he agrees to. Politically incorrect to say – but generally true. That’s a normal – but Alice and Adam were far from normal.

Alice was a lady who knew what Property she wanted – probably period, a home of feeling and one in which the emotions she experienced, reflected her perceptions of what was best for her family. She knew class – she knew design – she understood form and proportions.

Adam on the other hand was far more nuts and bolts – he knew what Price he wanted, had his spreadsheet and he held firm, with unshiftable views on three things – the absolute budget, the absolute budget AND what Alice wanted.

Two PPP’s they agreed on (Price and Property); with flexible Position, except access to good schools and this was straight from our file notes: Personal: Due to your budget, we think you need a two-step process and therefore the home you buy now has to have FFF options. Five-year future flexibility.

Over six months these disparate views led us far and wide, to Hawthorn East, Albert Park, Elwood and Richmond – all suburbs that were the scenes of great battles, but alas no high fives, no congratulatory drinks or for the smokers, no cigars.

At times there were undercurrents, innuendos, subtle digs and meetings, phone calls and emails – all pointing the finger at you know who – the pen pusher, the suit, the dollar controller. Every time we’d come up short – we looked at each other in feigned conciliation, but secretly thinking – these guys are professionals at what are they doing – both sides would think that, surely.

The one guiding light that shone through about Alice and Adam, their absolute dogged determination by both for both, to get what they both wanted.

We totally respect Adam’s view – yes it was money and his training – but it wasn’t about money per se – it was about lifestyle. He didn’t want his family’s lifestyle impinged by excessive debt. His reasoning wasn’t petty, wasn’t narrow – it was big picture, it was sound and even if you thought it was none of these – it was still firm.

Firm, but not the dominant opinion – for Alice was also uncompromising – but on sentiment, on feel, on the built form environment.

And so onwards, never looking back after each miss, until there it was – The One – The One Alice and Adam shouldn’t have been able to afford.

Back Story: This home was found (ok stumbled on) whilst we were going back over older homes that hadn’t sold the year before. This one was off market and in Canterbury – a suburb we hadn’t tried previously – however it had good access to all things, including transport, schools and Adam and Alice’s wider family.

The floorplan was better than it looked – not perfect, but flexible and room to expand with a reno, when the future could afford it (see FFF above). The land was big, but the road did carry some traffic – however it was set back. In many ways it was an average $2million and change, period home, in need of some work, but with good bones and we needed to buy it for a lot less.

Alice and Adam visited after we had been and sent a rating – there was some hesitation amongst us all – it looked like this was another home, with a courageous quote, that was going to see us involved, but ultimately finishing behind the winner (again).

We were firm it was worth a shot and Alice was firm she wanted it – and so all housekeeping and architectural assessments were completed under her guidance, efficiently.

Adam was also firm, there was a limit and if we were going to trickle over the limit, then this was the one.

OMG, sorry, rewind, what did you say Adam?

Mal and Gina get it done – is what I said – oh and there’s a small extra in the budget, but that’s it. Alice tells me you are good; you tell me you are good – I want to see good Mal and Gina.

Fast forward and today four years later we are here with Adam and Alice, for a Zoom update (August 2020)


Yes, the FFF is happening – Five-year Future Flexibility –renovations started a few months ago and Alice and Adam are currently in a rental. The 2nd of a 2 part stage of their dream home process has begun, now their budget allows.

Welcome Alice and Adam let’s talk, how do you feel, what are you doing, did you make the right choice 4 years ago?

Adam: The main thing is the house we bought is our home.

Gina and I thought bang, there’s the whole interview over, in almost the first sentence.

The main thing is the house we bought is our home – who says Mr Spreadsheet doesn’t have a few bags of emotion tucked away in him.

The Yin and Yang are as a whole! Job done!

We talked for a while more about many things – it was nearly an hour on Zoom and then bang another gem!

Alice: Think of the bullets we dodged in order to buy this home.

Correct – this did have an element of luck, but it was truly meant to be and every time you miss one – IF YOU ARE REALLY TRYING AND YOU KEEP GOING – you are a little bit closer to getting the good one. There is no doubt, that without our misses, we would not have had the combined togetherness, to do what needed to be done, to buy this home.

Alice and Adam: It’s the community – when we were putting up that front fence you told us to put up – the one thing we felt was the sense of community, when people would stop for a 10-minute chat. Schools, shops, neighbours – we both love the sense of community Mal and Gina.

Alice and Adam: The renovations – well you know how I wanted to renovate – and you know how I like to save money – we have found a great compromise that meets both our needs and keeps our home in a good capitalization range, for its type if we need to sell, whilst still making it even more enjoyable to live in.

Mal and Gina we are so happy we bought this home, our children love it here, we appreciated your guidance and maybe the seller should have done things differently and hired a vendors agent first-time around, because in the end, Adam was as happy with the price, as I am very happy with the home.

Alice and Adam the result was good BUT for us the journey was great. Thank you.

Buying Agent: James Buy Sell

Architect and Design: dohertydesignstudio.com.au and exceedgroup.com.au

Selling Agent: Jonathan Graham of Bekdon Richards (good company, difficult situation)

blank blank