Steps to buying a house with your Mortgage Mate.

Buying a house is going to be one of the largest but most exciting things you do ever get to do. It might seem scary, and a bit overwhelming at first, but Mortgage Mates is here to help you understand the process and take the steps you need to take to co-own a home together.

We know that buying a house with a ‘Stranger’ is new and different, and possibly not the way you thought you would buy a home when you were growing up. But the rest of the process, and the impact owning a home has for you will be exactly the same as buying a house on your own, or with a family member, partner or friend!

To get the ball rolling you need to decide what type of property to go for, and start looking. It may take some time before you find the right place, and things you think you may want, may be different once you start looking at houses together. Consider the location, style and of course price of the properties you are looking at. If you are considering a strata home, or an apartment, look at any additional costs that may come with fees and associated extras with the property.

The first question to ask is whether you and your Mate want to build, or buy. Are you both going to live in the property, and if so what do you both need to make that work. Depending on which option you chose, will vary the time lines and processes involved.

For the most part, we will be focusing on when you buy a property together, but if you would like us to do a build version too- just send us a message and we will get writing that up for you.

As you start looking at houses, you should also start checking that your finances match your housing needs. The cost of buying a property comes with some hidden extras, such as fees, inspections and stamp duty. Not only do you need to pay for the deposit and organise the mortgage, you also need to manage the other costs associated with buying your home.

To make the process easier you can apply for Pre-Approval of your loan, which means you know before you make an offer, that you qualify for the mortgage you need for that house. There are lots of mortgage products out there, with different pro’s and con’s. Speak to banks and mortgage brokers to find the one that works for you. http://www.mortgagemates.com.au has links to a number of providers who offer specialised mortgages specific to co-owners. Use our ‘What’s Next’ page to start this process.

Buy the house! Again, the process will vary depending on the type of house purchase you are making. In Australia most homes are sold either via private sale or auction. In this instance we are talking about private sales but there are plenty of websites who offer specialised information on auctions and buying this way so we can add some information on this later on if you think this may be useful.

Provide the seller with a conditional offer. You can state the amount you are willing to spend on the property (this can be less than the seller is asking for) and make it conditional to finance and pest/other building inspections. Speak to your Real Estate Agent about what checks are needed and how these can be organised. This means you can be confident that the house you are buying meets the needs you have, and should prevent any surprises popping up later down the track.

Depending on where you are based in Australia, you may qualify for an exemption to Stamp Duty if your house is under a certain amount, or you may qualify for a First Home Buyer Grant. Your mortgage advisor should be assisting you with these things as you progress through the buying process. Make sure you ask questions of both the Real Estate Agent, and your Mortgage advisor so you feel clear and comfortable every step of the way!

Once everything is organised, you and the seller agree the settlement period. This often takes between 30 and 90 days and is the time you both have to get everything in order. Once the time period has ended the finance will need to be paid in full and the seller will need to have vacated the property.

Move in! You have done it! You have used an innovative way to own your home. Now is the time to enjoy being a home owner and creating your new community. Use the moving in period to put your stamp on the place, and with your Mate plan how the next few years are going to look for you as Mortgage Mates!

From Co-working to Co-living… why not both?

The idea of co-working has been around for a long time and co-living spaces is now growing and evolving both in Australia and internationally.

But what actually is it?

Realistically, it can be many things and is different for each situation and person but in essence it is the idea of a community living or working together in a shared space with shared intentions and values. In the working sense, it is about networking, bouncing off each other’s ideas and energy and sharing resources and office spaces. For living, it may be driven by wanting to increase social connection, reduce your carbon footprint, saving money or building a sense of community with like-minded individuals.

The world is rapidly changing economically and the need to embrace out of the box solutions is now more true than ever. Co-working spaces have shown huge benefits in the entrepreneurial space and for small businesses, allowing them to share resources such as boardrooms, office rent, in house support while being a hub for creativity, collaboration and networking.  This concept of co-working spaces links closely to co-living, with similar benefits.

Co-working space

While it isn’t for everyone, co-living can provide a lively, exciting and nurturing community. It can also be shaped in many different ways, there is the typical co-living space your mind might immediately jump to (think college dorm) and then there are places like Nightingale Housing where each person has their own separate apartment but also has access to communal spaces, communal laundries, shared rooftop gardens, bath houses, multi-purpose rooms and shared providers, while being sustainable and efficient at the same time.

There are many different forms of co-living and one that is currently growing is the idea of a co-living entrepreneurship. Many are now looking to combine the two and create co-living and working spaces into one flexible environment. Think – private apartments with shared office spaces, laundry facilities, gyms and swimming pools. By doing this it allows you to increase your work-life balance (no 9 to 5 grind), reduce costs associated with renting a traditional office, create a hive for productivity and creatively and create spaces to collaborate and grow new ideas.

If you’ve ever wanted to start your own business and turn the ideas you have into a reality – could co-working and living be for you?

I already have a Mate, so what about me?

Mortgage Mates specialises in enabling all Australians to be able to own their own home. We believe co-ownership is a key solution to housing affordability and have developed our algorithm to ensure users can match with new Mates, or, confirm their existing Mates match their home ownership needs.

If you have already found a partner, friend or family member to own a home with, Mortgage Mates can ensure that before you start the process of co-ownership, you are clear about how you want to buy, who you want to buy from and how long you want to buy together for.

Whilst many of us don’t view buying with a partner as co-ownership, it is actually the most traditional form of co-ownership available. By buying with a significant other, you are sharing the ownership, liability and profitability of a property, and potentially your home.

You may be asking, why you would need to use Mortgage Mates when buying with some one that you know, but our research shows, that the hard conversations that are needed when owning a house with some one don’t take place when we know the other person.

We don’t ask to verify our partners income and financial stability or request a police check from a family member before we sign the mortgage agreements. We assume, because of the trust we place in them, that they will share any information we may need to know before buying.

We also know that when deciding what style of property to buy, or what location to buy in, we are more likely to compromise when buying with some one we know, as we do not want to upset them, or damage the relationship we have.

This is where Mortgage Mates comes in. By signing up to our website with your partner, family member or friend, you can both enter your housing preferences into the website to see if what you say you want, and what you actually want, match with your co-owner. For example, you may both agree you want to live in Victoria, but one of you may want to live in Northcote and one may wish to live in Essendon. By knowing this information now- you can work together to look at which location works best for both of you, and where you both wish to buy a house moving forward.

Mortgage Mates uses F and Q’s, info sheets and blog posts, to support our co-owners in their co-ownership journey. Our website has a ‘What’s Next Page’ which links users into suitable mortgage providers, real estate websites and legal advisors who can ensure the relevant steps are taken and legal protections are provided.

It can seem tempting, when buying with some one you know and care about, not to worry about the legal side of buying a home. After all, we don’t go into the relationship assuming it may not work. But whilst putting a co-ownership agreement in place won’t damage the relationship when buying together, failing to have the agreement may enable the relationship to sour further than imagined, should a separation occur.

By following the steps on our website, you can seperate the emotion, from the process, and feel confident that both you and your co-owner are clear on what needs to be completed before you buy a home together. In this instance we aren’t turning Strangers, into Mates, but ensuring, Mates stay Mates.

Housing post Covid-19

The Great Australian Shame?

The face of the Australian housing crisis is often seen as an individual, currently without a home, visible but ignored on the streets of our capital cities across Australia. 

But the impact of unstable housing and the lack of affordable homes, runs much deeper than this and affects many more people than we would think. 

The definition of homelessness by the Australian Bureau of Statistics states:

‘when a person does not have suitable accommodation alternatives they are considered homeless if their current living arrangement:

  • is in a dwelling that is inadequate; or
  • has no tenure, or if their initial tenure is short and not extendable; or
  • does not allow them to have control of, and access to space for social relations.

The ABS definition of homelessness is informed by an understanding of homelessness as ‘home’lessness, not ‘roof’lessness.’ 

We know that not having a place to call home, impacts not only our ability to maintain connection to community, family and friends, but also reduces our physical, emotional, financial and mental health.

Pre Covid-19 housing at all ends of the spectrum, from crisis accommodation to home ownership, came with their own issues and failures. These impacts and challenges have increased throughout the duration of the pandemic, and will continue to escalate as more and more people have their income reduced, savings diminished and futures impacted. 

In particular our younger cohort, who were already struggling to enter the housing market due to systemic challenges are likely to face further struggles to maintain secure accommodation due to a loss of income and reduced savings. 

Prior to the pandemic, crisis accommodation was limited in number, with strict criterion placed on potential residents from age and gender to family make up and relationship status. With an increase in street present individuals caused by the reduction in employment there is going to further stretch to these resources. A failure to act quickly at this crisis stage can result in an individual facing a much more difficult transition out of homelessness.  For young people left without income due to Covid-19 it is possible that they will enter the homeless cycle if they are without family or friends to support them. 

Private rental accommodation is expensive and unstable, with tenants often being restricted to six and 12 month lease agreements and frequent rental increases. The Anglicare Rental Affordable Snapshot 2019 found that of 69,485 private rentals, only 2% were affordable to a single person on the minimum wage. This was reduced to 0% when looking for properties affordable to a single person on New Start Allowance.

For young people aged 18-35, who have little or no capability of owning their own home in the traditional sense, the volatile private rental market becomes their only housing option. This becomes even more precarious when a persons’ income is also unstable (casual or zero hour contracts) or part time (working to enable further study) or has been significantly impacted by the pandemic (hospitality and retail positions). Whilst government initiatives are being implemented at the moment to minimise the risk to renters, the long term impact on a young persons ability to secure an affordable private rental has diminished because of the pandemic. 

For individuals seeking long term stable housing options, home ownership is the strongest and safest option- however Australia already has the 2nd most expensive housing market in the world and prior to Covid-19 only 45% of individuals under the age of 35 owned their own home. The ability to enter the home ownership market is going to be further impacted, with young people under 35 facing significant financial difficulties as a result of the pandemic with a reduction in not only their current income, but also any savings they had achieved for a house deposit. 

The importance of viewing the housing market as a whole of continuum is that each sector of the market needs to create sustainable change to positively impact the housing choices of young people in Australia. 

Over the past 12-24 months significant inroads have been made in some areas of the market, with new, innovative platforms being created within the #proptech space. These models take existing restrictions and pivot them to create sustainable, affordable and achievable housing choices. 

In the private rental market ‘The Home hub’ has created an online platform that provides a social response to private rental accommodation. 

Home Hub is Western Australia’s first advertising service and one-stop hub for safe, secure and affordable homes – connecting people who need a safe, secure and affordable place to call home with the homes that are currently available to choose from.

We aren’t just talking about homelessness, in fact, over 60,000 households in WA are doing it tough…’

In the shared housing space, #coliving developments are being created to replace tired and expensive HMO properties (House of Multiple Occupation), pivoting the shared rental space into a creation of community, allowing individuals to benefit from an affordable place to stay, alongside shared amenities and collective outcomes. 

Since 2019, the co-ownership space in Australia has been growing with websites like Mortgage Mates (www.mortgagemates.com.au) being developed to enable individuals to co-own a home together. By matching two or more users to own a property, the ability to enter the housing market is increased, as the deposit and income amount required are reduced by half. By owning a property with another person, individuals are able to buy in the location they want to live in, not in the place they can afford to buy. This creates connection to community, family and friends. 

‘Mortgage Mates is like a dating app but for home ownership, matching you with individuals with the same housing preferences, i.e. location, cost and property type. Mortgage Mates is a revolutionary website for the Australian housing market, assisting you to enter the property market in half the time. It will allow you to choose the security of home ownership over rental properties and share houses.’

Whilst these options aren’t for every individual, and don’t eliminate the increased risk our young people face in the property market following Covid-19- they go some way to supporting a currently difficult housing market and ensure eventually, every Australian has a place to call home. 

Earn an income from your home!

Buying a house is probably going to be the most expensive purchase you ever make! But in the world of technology, not only can you reduce the cost of home ownership by owning with your Mate, you can also find ways to monetise your property in new and unique ways!

When looking at revenue streams, the first option is to purchase a house for the sole purpose of creating revenue. This is achieved, by owning as an investment property. Of course this means you will not be able to live in the property yourselves (at least in the first instance) but it can be a great financial option if you have an alternative place to live and either want to move in the future or want to keep a second property as an investment home. If you and your Mate buy to invest then make sure this information is clear from the beginning- and clarify what the time frames for investment might look like. You can use the co-ownership agreement to mark our the terms and conditions of the investment and any strategies for exit you wish to include.

If, however, you want to live in the property that you buy with your Mate there can still be ways to create an income whilst you are living there.

Below are some options for you to look into either as an income generator for your property or a cost reduction for your home.

If you want to live in the home but still want to make an ongoing or frequent income from spare bedrooms or space in the home, you can list the property on Airbnb. Probably one of the better known gig economies for generating revenue, you can use this platform to share your home, either on a temporary basis whilst you are there, or for periods when you are away from the home. You can use it to rent a room as and when additional income is needed, or offset the cost of your holiday accommodation by renting your home out to others whilst you are away. The income available from Airbnb depends on the location, style and time your property is available, but could be a great way to increase your revenue when needed.

This option for income, can now be extended further- with you renting the spare outdoor space you have, to set up a tent or camper trailer. Home Camper allows you to help individuals find the great outdoors, whilst also receiving an income as and when you want it. Whilst this option does require space and may not be for everyone, if you have a spare backyard to take advantage of, it may make you an additional $10-$20 per day.

Co-ownership. The housing style of choice for the Canadian Government.

Since Mortgage Mates launched in 2019 we have been talking about the benefits of co-ownership for the Australian housing market to as many people that will listen. We are having conversations with potential benefactors, third parties, government and others who may benefit from this form of home ownership, because at the moment, it isn’t as well known as other forms of housing.

However, in Canada, co-ownership is being highlighted as a housing style of choice for individuals priced out of traditional ownership. In Ontario, the Canadian government is highlighting the opportunities and possibilities that comes with owning a house with one or more other people.

In May 2019, they launched their ‘Housing Supply Action Plan’ which pulls together a number of innovative options for the housing market. Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, states ‘More Homes, More Choice outlines our government’s plan to tackle Ontario’s housing crisis and encourages our partners to do their part by starting now, to build more housing that meets the needs of people in every part of Ontario.’

The figures of the Canadian market look very similar to those of Australia, with them coming third and fourth respectively for the most expensive housing markets in the world. Whilst we are still reviewing housing in Australia in segmented sections, Ontario is looking to impact housing affordability by considering all elements of the market.

Learning from COVID-19…

The importance of our community…

With this year throwing us a lot of hurdles as us as a country – from bushfires to a worldwide pandemic – it is not a surprise that many of us can’t wait for 2021 and to wave goodbye to 2020. But among all the chaos and tragedy, we have seen communities coming together and supporting each other, countries uniting and innovative initiatives emerging to keep up all connected through uncertain times.

woman sitting on chair holding leaf

This strange time has taught me a lot about how my “normal” doesn’t have to be my normal going forward and when forced to change my routine great things can emerge. An example of this is my connection to my local community. Having rarely stepped foot outside my neighbourhood in the last two months, I’ve now got to know a number of my neighbours, the baristas at my local cafes where I get my daily coffee from rather than rushing straight to work and the power of a connected community who support each other in times of need.

The ability to adapt to a new normal has also been a powerful lesson. It has left me questioning why I do things, is it because I think I should or because “that’s how it’s always been done?”  Either way, I have learnt to think outside the box, try new things and connect with people I wouldn’t have otherwise.

This is where Mortgage Mates comes in. While it may not be the “normal” way to buy a house, why not give it a go? The economic impacts of COVID-19 have left many of us in unsure financial situations, not knowing what the future will bring. Yet, it has also shown us that working together can be a solution.

We need to think about innovative ways we can share, pool resources and work together. By sharing ownership of a house it have a number of benefits aside from the obvious lower mortgage and deposit amount. By living with someone who shares similar values you can each pitch in together.

bowl of tomatoes served on person hand

Do you want to buy a house and do it up? You might be an architect so why not buy with a builder? Are you interested in gardening and love to grow produce but cooking isn’t your thing? Why not move in with someone who loves cooking? By living with someone who compliments your skills and interests, you can lower your carbon footprint while sharing costs, resources and skill sets.

You never know who you will meet, what opportunities might arise and what community you could build – it could be the perfect match!

www.mortgagemates.com.au

The rise of co-living.


‘Co-ownership? You mean permanent co-living options? That’s AWESOME’.
The response from a 24 year-old Londoner looking to enter the property market, after we talked about Mortgage Mates.

Co-living is a phrase that has been gaining media attention both in Australia and across the world. It idealises and promotes the concept of shared living, where community areas such as kitchens and common grounds are shared and enjoyed between a number of residents. The shared use of space makes for more affordable accommodation, whilst increasing social connection and minimising the housing crisis for cohorts currently struggling to enter the property market.

Often seen as the solution to ‘ending loneliness’ in communities that struggles with housing affordability and social connection, co-living residents can also share ideas, aspirations and interests.

Currently in Australia 1 in 4 of us admit to feeling lonely. But as we lead increasingly busy lives by working longer, travelling further and working harder, if we don’t connect at home, where can we connect?

Co-living is now available across major cities including Miami, London and Sydney. Very often, individuals have independent bedrooms, which attract a smaller rent than an apartment or house but also have the opportunity to share ammenities that help to create the feeling of community.

Historically co-living has been displayed in different guises (think share houses and houses of multiple occupation). But the defining factor that differentiates our existing understanding of shared accommodation, and the popularity of co-living, is the founding element of connection which is so important for this housing concept.

The choice to co-live can be long term, with residents undertaking ongoing multiple tenancy agreements, or short term, with individuals using co-living to see the world and enjoy short term opportunities.

Gone are the days of share houses where kitchens were a battle ground between house mates and the only shared facility available was the one tired bathroom between eight of you. Co-living is not about losing opportunity, but rather gaining financial and social freedom.

Co-living developments come with an intention to unify residents and promote collaboration. By emphasising shared space to improve wellbeing and social connection the house becomes a home, becomes a community.

Co-living joins a collective of co-operative opportunities including co-working arrangements and co-resident locations.

Mortgage Mates defines a new element of this housing style by promoting and utilising co-ownership.

We allow individuals to have the community element of co-living but with the security of home ownership.

By co-owning with another person you can create a community as small or large as you wish. Co-ownership can be with one, two or more individuals and allows you to pool resources to own a property at a reduced cost and with less financial risk. We also provide stability in a fragile housing market which means the community you create can be either short, medium or long term as defined by your co-ownership agreement.

By buying with another person you will be able to buy the home you wish to live in, rather a house you can afford to buy.

By pooling resources you can co-live in large homes with increased shared space- meaning you can implement the elements of the co-living movement in the way it best works for you and your co-owners. Why buy a one bedroom apartment when you can buy a six bedroom beachside home (if that’s your preference)?

In some of our future blogs we will be linking in with some of our third parties who can help you facilitate your co-ownership journey. With banks, real estate agents and others firmly embracing co-living opportunities we have a number of pathways that can make your housing journey a positive one. Whether you wish to co-live, co-invest or you just want to see what options you have open to you http://www.mortgagemates.com.au can help you connect into your community.

I would never live with a stranger!

Is not an unnatural first reaction when being asked if you would co-own with a stranger. After all, who grows up thinking that at the age of 20, 30 or 45 they are going to buy their first home with three other people!

But living with other people, who initially start off as Strangers is actually something we do pretty often.

In our 20’s we may decide to go backpacking for the first time, and with this comes the opportunity to stay, work and live with other people in hostel accommodation. Whilst this accommodation isn’t always long term, it is the first time we often spend intensive periods of time with people we have never met before. We share a room to sleep in, a kitchen to eat in and develop a community based on experience, aspirations and future hopes and dreams.

We may even develop long term relationships with the people we share a hostel dorm with, going from Strangers to Mates in only a short amount of time. These friends often remain life long and join us in our future experiences despite not knowing them a short time ago.

In addition to travel, there are other times that we chose to share with a Stranger due to study choices or lifestyle decisions.

On the first day of University, you turn up to your Halls not knowing a single person. You open the door to your flat and there starts the process of turning your college room mates into friends. You bond over late night study sessions, too many beers at the Students Union and freaking out about what comes next once university has been completed.

We often spend upwards of three years with the people we meet on the first day of University- spending hundreds of dollars every week paying rent towards some one else mortgage and we don’t event remember a time at the end of it where these friends, a community and family were Strangers to us.

Three years isn’t permanent but it is long term. When we finish Uni and take the next steps in life, we may move to a new city, start a new job, look for new housing and a place to call home.

If you aren’t certain on what comes next in terms of employment, family or future plans you may chose to house share rather than live in your own apartment or house. Depending on what comes next in life, a house share can be a short term thing or a long term home. If you live in an expensive city where renting and home ownership is unaffordable on your income, it may not be a choice, but a requirement to be able to live there. Again you are paying some one else mortgages whilst living with people who you previously haven’t met before.

Mortgage Mates is just the next step in a journey of turning Strangers into Mates whilst enabling you to have a home. Whilst buying a home with three other people may seem different at first, it is the same experience as staying in a hostel, starting University or living in a share house. The only difference this time is that rather than paying some one else mortgage, you are paying off your own!

In coming weeks we will be showing you what the difference buying with others can make the to the household you can live in and own. For the same cost ($250,000) you can either buy a 26sq apartment or a 1/4 of a thousand square feet property with pool and games room!

Before you decide that you definitely could NOT live with a stranger, remember you probably already have.

The other half of Mortgage Mates!

Who am I? 

My name is Jess and I am the other half of Mortgage Mates. 

I grew up in little old Adelaide, which for those of you who have never been there is extremely underrated! Following school I moved over to Melbourne to explore new opportunities and study. This move, while not across the other side of the world, definitely shaped who I am today. It grew my confidence in trying something new and stepping outside my comfort zone. I will eternally thank my parents for supporting me in this. They provided me with a safety net that allowed me to take risks, try new things and step into the unknown, knowing that if something didn’t quite work out I’d always have somewhere and something to fall back on. As my mum said to me, “what the worst that will happen, you hate it? Then you come home”. This has stuck with me and has driven many of my decisions. Since moving to Melbourne, I have continued to follow the unknown, having lived in South Africa, Nepal, Perth and now back to Melbourne. 


During my first stint in Melbourne I completed my studies in Psychology and Criminology and then a Master of International Relations – taking on a bit of a mish-mash of topics and themes as I tried to figure out what I wanted to do. It was during my Masters degree where I had the opportunity to travel to South Africa for 6 months and complete a Law and Human Rights internship, that my career started to become defined. 

I had always been drawn to helping people but as I walked into Pollsmoor (donned one of the world’s worst prisons) and started to listen to the stories from the children I was writing defence cases for, the giant understatement that “we don’t all start on the same playing field”, really hit home. 

We do not each have an equal start in life, and realistically we never will. We all grow up in different families, in different countries and with different challenges. It was during this point in time that I knew that I wanted to work alongside people to empower them to gain the best possible opportunities, as circumstance should not rule you out of an opportunity.

From there I continued to volunteer and work in the humanitarian field both in Australia and internationally. Yet after living in Melbourne for about 7 years, my life took another major turn when my partner Marcus was offered an opportunity in Perth to join a start-up working in the medical tech industry. Using the same mentality that saw me move to Melbourne, we quit our jobs, packed up our life and 4 weeks later we put our one-eyed cat Reuben on a plane and jetted off to sunny Perth. 

This was my first insight into “start-up” life. We lived in what I guess you call an ‘incubator’. A house with one lawyer, 4 engineers, a one-eyed cat and myself. As an outsider, it was exciting to see the work progress, the ups and downs of running your own business, the opportunities (and inevitable stressors) and the passion that goes into it.

This start up world coincided with meeting Daisy, the other half of Mortgage Mates. Each Friday night we’d head down to the local pub after work and scheme about how we could solve huge world problems, including ending homelessness. It was during these beers that Daisy mentioned her idea of linking people together to co-own properties, it was an idea she’d had for a few years. It didn’t take long (or many beers) for us to decide that from that point on, we were determined to make sure it wouldn’t remain just an idea, but that we would bring it to life. 

Throughout my career to date, a key resounding and important element in my work is “opportunity”. Whether it be the opportunity to access education, to be given a second chance after contact with the justice system, to be given a chance with a future employer and to have the opportunity to excel and become to best version of yourself. 

I am passionate about ensuring people have access to the best opportunities and creating long term social change.  This may mean fundamentally changing an issue, shifting mindsets, increasing support and opportunities, and lastly – create lasting, sustainable solutions. 

This is what drew me to the idea of Mortgage Mates. It is a real solution to not only allow people priced out of the property market to purchase a home, but to shift the entire housing continuum to free up the rental market and allow greater access to rental properties for those who are currently struggling to afford a roof over their head. 

I have since moved back to Melbourne and live with my partner and Reuben (our one-eyed cat) and continue to work on Mortgage Mates juggling work, time differences and the Nullarbor in between!