Home ownership is a dream for many Papua New Guineans (PNG), and It takes planning, careful consideration and discipline to achieve a dream.
For home owner Andrew Topo, buying a house was a well worth investment for him and his young family. It took him some time to plan and work on his every expenses, savings and budget. It took a little more determination and a lot of motivation to make his dream a reality.
"When I got the keys to my house and the title of the property under my name, there was a feeling of accomplishment and the sacrifices and discipline was well worth it." Said Andrew Topo
Mr Topo a father of four, Alexandria, Danesha, Daanish and Annamarie and husband to Dorah Topo, moved his young family into their new home and property on the 1st of May 2018.
The process was long, there needed to be proper documentations, sale agreements, and proper searches for the land and property titles had to be done.
"I thought the day would never come, but gladly, on 1st of May 2018, the moment of truth finally arrived for us. My dear wife Dorah was anxious and excited, proud but humbled. We didn't know whether to scream and shout or quietly thank the good Lord above. I finally signed the documents, and the keys of the property were handed over to me."
Andrew took a deep breath and a sigh of relief. No more renting, no more living with relatives, we finally have a place to call our own. He looked back at his journey when he completed studies at the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG) in 2007.
"My dream then was to secure a job and I knew that I wanted to own my own property," said Andrew.
But the realities of life took him on a journey, where he faced the everyday challenges of an average working class Papua New Guinean, living in the big city with a young family. "I had demands and expectations coming from left, right and centre which I have to meet in order to build my good relationships with my immediate families, clan and tribe including the professional networks."
Looking back, Andrew adds that, the journey of reality does not have a theory or practical aspect; it just hits you, just like that. You need to pave the way for your dreams to be cultivated. "When I think back, I did not discipline myself in all areas of life at that time even though I had this great dream of owning a home"
Andrew Topo's house in Lae
After 7 years of formal employment, in 2014, Andrew changed reality and started looking at doing some investments to meet the required equity, as was part of the commercial bank requirements to purchase a residential property.
Andrew also sought the help of more experienced people, and found more information about the Home Loan Products available on the market.
"I looked at Home Loan rates, features, requirements and eligibility and slowly ticked of the checklist. I also shared my dream with people whom I knew will add value to my life and at the same time they will share their experiences to motivate and assist me to make my dream come through," said Andrew.
There are many Papua New Guineans who can afford to buy a home, through the help of a BSP Home Loan. The rates are competitive and product is suited for the average income earner who dreams of owning a home, one day. Andrew is an example of a BSP customer who successfully purchased his first home for his family.
Andrew adds that the most challenging part is the self-discipline in managing finances, and making the right choices to save up for your home equity. While there are savings options, Andrew encourages fellow colleagues to check their superannuation, start a savings account or invest money so you can build wealth.
"Our new home that we purchased in Lae has been a blessing for my young children, and my wife. There is security that my family needs and I am confident that I have invested in an asset that will build my wealth," adds Andrew.
"Thank you so much to Bank of South Pacific (BSP) Management and BSP Lae Market Branch team for the guidance and assistance in taking me through the process to the final approval of my First Home Ownership Loan. You contributed to making my dream come through."
Andrew added, Nothing is really over until the moment we stop trying it," he quotes.