A ‘CROWD MORTGAGE’ AND A DREAM
Teresa Lee and her husband Jarrod McKenna were thrilled when an offer on their first home was accepted.
Teresa Lee, Jarrod McKenna and their son Tyson.
But when the bank rejected their loan application because of confusion around the type of property they were buying, Lee and McKenna were at a loss to know how they could possibly come up with $600,000 to pay for it.
To their surprise, a friend came forward and offered them $5000. Next, someone offered a $40,000 interest-free loan. Another extended a $55,000 loan.
Blown away by the goodwill, Lee and McKenna created the First Home Project, a social media campaign that invited the wider public to “be the bank” and lend them the rest of the money. And, astonishingly, within 13 days, the community had pledged the full $600,000 in loans and donations, the last figure coming in just five minutes before their August 12, 5pm deadline.
Why was a campaign to raise money for someone’s first home so successful?
The couple are neither social media “professionals” nor are there any clever strategists working on the First Home Project.
The cornerstone of the campaign is a moving video - viewed more than 8000 times – that features glowing character references from World Vision CEO Tim Costello and Father Bob Macguire.
Costello says Lee and McKenna are an “extraordinary young couple” and he was “a great admirer of what they do.”
Father Bob says, “Because [the campaign is] backed up by two honest blokes like you and me, we’re giving a… personal moral guarantee that… this is a good bet.” Costello chimes in, “A Costello and a Macguire, you can trust.”
You see, Lee and McKenna, along with their 15-year old son Tyson, are held in high esteem by many people, taking dozens of people into their home over the years.
From the homeless, to asylum seekers awaiting visas, to indigenous Australians, they have provided hospitality to many in desperate situations.
But the couple have also rented for years. Lee, a social worker, and McKenna, who works at World Vision and is a peace activist/pastor/public speaker (nominated for Young Australian of the Year in WA and has received a peace award) told me they had decided they could be a lot more effective if they owned their own property.
They found a run-down building that had been a former church, an Aboriginal community centre and a child-care centre, in Midland, a 10-minute drive from their current home in the outer fringes of Perth.
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