Darren Pawski is a longtime resident of Perth, Western Australia, where he has spent close to 30 years working in the finance industry while holding a number of critical leadership positions with some of the most renowned institutions in all of Australia, including Commonwealth Bank as well as several other prominent financial firms. Darren is currently the managing director of Synergy Financial Solutions, a boutique financial services firm that serves its clients through a unique and highly effective holistic approach to financing and mortgage services.

Darren is an active member of several professional organizations, and in 2012 he earned recognition from the Association of Independently Owned Financial Planners as the organization’s Member of the Year. Darren is also dedicated to volunteer work, and over the years he has devoted a great deal of his free time in the support of the aged-care sector by regularly volunteering at several nursing homes located throughout Perth as well as many of the surrounding communities.

In addition to Darren’s nearly three decades of professional experience in the finance industry, he also possesses an exceptional academic background and continues to pursue new educational opportunities with great frequency. A graduate of Deakin University with a Diploma of Financial Planning, Darren also earned his Certificate IV in Mortgage Broking from Kaplan and is currently in pursuit of a master’s degree in finance and banking from Edith Cowan University. The Perth, Western Australia native has lived in the same home ever since he began his professional career nearly 30 years ago, a four-bedroom home located just outside of the city proper.

In what city/state was your first house located and approximately what year did you buy it?
I believe it was 1991 when I bought my first home in Perth.

What was your living situation prior to buying your first house? Where/with whom/etc?
I was still in school, so I was dividing my time between an apartment near campus and the home in which I grew up.

What motivated you to purchase your first house?
It was a home that needed work, and I felt like it would be a good investment if I could do most of the work myself.

How did you go about getting the money together to buy it?
I borrowed the down payment from family, and I worked hard to pay the monthly mortgage while also paying back the loan for the down payment at the same time.

When you purchased, were you thinking of it as an investment or as a place to start a family. Please elaborate.
It was a home in need of quite a bit of attention, but I saw its potential and felt like it was a great investment.

What are 3 things you liked most about the house?
It’s such a nice-sized home, and there is no way I would have been able to afford it had it not required so much work. It was close to where I wanted to work, so I felt it would be a place I could stay for a long time or it could be a property that I could sell at a big profit.

Was there anything you didn’t like about it?
I knew the work it needed would be a challenge, especially since I had to do each project incrementally while I was just beginning my career in finance.

Did you make any improvements or major renovations to the house?
There are just too many to list. At this point, just about every part of the house has either been renovated or repaired to some degree.

Please share 1-2 of your fondest/funniest memories from living there.
It was quite a scene for the first few years since there was always one part of the house that was under construction. It’s hard to remember how odd it must have looked with one area of the house always covered in plastic and generally looking like a work zone.

Do you still live there or did you sell it or renting it?
I still live there. After all the effort I put into the home, I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.

What advice would you give other first time home buyers?
A fixer-upper is always great in theory, but it is necessary to realize that there are going to be a lot of inconveniences before the property can ever be considered complete.