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Couple work five jobs to pay off half-built home: 'Don't get to see our kids'

Emma and Nathan Doecke purchased the $525,000 house and land package for their growing family before the builder went bust.

A young family are barely making ends meet as they pay rent and a mortgage while their half-built dream home stands idle, with no signs of when it will be complete or their financial burden will lessen.

Emma and Nathan Doecke purchased a house and land package near Newcastle for $525,000 and were excited to own a four bedroom, two bathroom property for their growing family.

Left: Emma and Nathan Doecke stand in their half a house with 18-month old daughter looking sombre. Right, the outside of the house is half complete with peeling construction work.
Emma and Nathan Doecke have been left with half a house after their building company went into liquidation in August 2022. Source: A Current Affair

The home should have been completed by Christmas 2021, but delays prolonged the process before building company Oracle Platinum Homes went into liquidation in August 2022 — completely halting plans. Now, the couple work five jobs between them to pay their rent and escalating loan repayments.

"We're working so much and we don't get to see our kids," Emma tearfully told A Current Affair. "I'm still breastfeeding my 18-month, and there's days I don't even see them. My mum raises our kids, we don't."

Family desperately want 'help' out of situation

The couple contacted First Step Homes — the company that facilitated their house and land package and secured finance for the deposit they needed — but Emma and Nathan were turned away.

"They said, 'Sorry, we've not ever experienced this before. We don't know what the next steps are. We can't help you'," Emma explained.

The couple did receive an insurance payout after the builder went into liquidation but it only covered 20 per cent of the building costs. It is estimated a further $150,000 is required to complete the home.

The couple walk through long grass toward the half-built home.
The family are paying a mortgage of $2,400 a month for a home near Newcastle, NSW which they cannot live in. Source: A Current Affair

The couple are paying $560 a week on rent and $2,400 a month for the mortgage of a home which is unliveable. The couple said they simply want assistance to find some kind of solution, with their current situation crippling them both financially and emotionally.

"We don't want things given to us, we're happy to work for it, but we just need an opportunity," Emma said. "It's costing us more than our dream now, it's almost cost us our family."

Thieves broke into property and stole belongings

With the property standing vacant for years, opportunistic thieves have stolen the family's lawn mower and water tank. Others have trespassed into the property and inflicted damage to the building, adding further costs for the couple.

"There's no hope left it doesn't feel like a dream anymore...it's just caused us too much grief," Emma said. "We're just at breaking point."

Westpac says it will help couple finance building completion

Westpac had refused the couple a larger loan after the builder went bust. However, it has since confirmed to A Current Affair it will work with Emma and Nathan to finance the rest of the build and consolidate their debts.

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