Dr Andrea Zalan and her unique practice for children and their families
Dr Andrea Zalan, a paediatrician and child psychiatrist, considered her patients' total wellbeing when building her dream practice.Learn More
Dr Jordan Amor-Robertson’s never been one to settle down. “Ideally, I’d like to structure my life around volunteer work abroad and Australian-based work,” she explains. As a registrar, she’s been able to travel the globe.
“Most contracts are only three to six months, and Australian hospitals have been very supportive of me,” Dr Amor-Robertson says. Some might even say her nomadic lifestyle is a plus: “Employers know I’m often not working full-time, so they contact me directly to see if I’m available to take contracts at short notice.”
Last July, after a stint at an NGO-backed children’s hospital in Laos, Dr Amor-Robertson returned to Australia to start a six-month contract at Perth Children’s Hospital in Aboriginal child health. Before it began she took a NT holiday “to warm up”—and look at property.
It wasn’t Dr Amor-Robertson’s first real-estate rodeo. She and her sister had already paid off an investment property in Claremont, Perth. But at 34, Dr Amor-Robertson was keen to purchase her own Australian base.
“I’d worked in Darwin as a resident, then on a registrar contract in 2017, and liked the place: the climate, the people, the lifestyle,” Dr Amor-Robertson explains.
“And the medicine—I like working in developing countries and Darwin has a lot of the same tropical pathologies and similar distance and resource issues. Right now, Darwin is a buyers’ market, and I was interested in a few properties.”
Dr Amor-Robertson accepted a year-long maternity-leave replacement as paediatric registrar at Royal Darwin Hospital, starting in February. It was a dream contract, and she had found the ideal property to match: “a three-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment near Nightcliff with ocean views, and just a 20-minutes’ bike ride along the foreshore from Royal Darwin.
“It had been on the market for several months so I didn’t need to rush the purchase, so I did my research when it came to finance,” she says. Securing a loan wasn’t easy, however. “Although I have the potential for a steady income, I had no proof of that because I had been volunteering. Most banks require at least six months’ continuous employment but because of my profession, BOQ Specialist could help me.
“BOQ Specialist seemed to have an ethical profile, and allowed for more individualised banking.”
As a bank targeted to medical professionals, Dr Amor-Robertson reasoned that BOQ Specialist “would understand that even though I was starting a new contract, I’d had 10 years’ gainful employment prior to that”, and would factor in the rolling short-term contract nature of registrars’ work, ongoing job security, and capacity for high-paying locum work.
As soon as she’d agreed to the Darwin contract, Dr Amor-Robertson called Emily Pinker at BOQ Specialist. “From there it was quite a quick process,” she says. “Less than a month afterwards, I made an offer on the apartment. One or two weeks later, the loan was unconditionally approved.”
“I bought in mid-October but there were repairs I wanted done as a condition of sale, so settlement wasn’t until December. It was rented until the end of January, which was perfect timing,” she says.
With volunteering taking her to some inhospitable places, Dr Amor-Robertson had considered income-protection insurance but couldn’t find a provider to cover her. Again, BOQ Specialist proved helpful.
“Unless you are employed in the same job for two years, most insurers won’t consider you, or will cease cover as soon as you take a break,” she explains. “BOQ Specialist suggested I contact Experien Insurance Services who were able to find a company to insure me in the context of taking unpaid and voluntary-wage contracts.”
Even with her purchase settled and finance in place, there were relocation hiccups. “I flew up on the Friday and had planned to have everything transported up Friday afternoon, but they forgot to put my things on the train. So I started my new job Monday with nothing organised!” Dr Amor-Robertson says. “But I’m very happy with the apartment.
“I’m not very comfortable with the words ‘settle down’,” she admits. “But I have a one-year contract, so I’m here for a year—and I’d like Darwin to be my base, potentially doing more work in the NT, or East Timor, and taking contracts with NGOs in the region.
“Though it’s small, Darwin feels very close to Asia and the rest of the world.”
She recently adopted a kitten—“so it’s almost like settling down”, Dr Amor-Robertson admits. “But I’ve already lined up people who will look after him if I go away,” she laughs.
Thinking about purchasing a new home? Click on the link to find out more about our tailored financial solutions for buying a property. Or ready to take the next step? Contact us to find out how we can tailor a practice finance solution for you, or call us on 1300 160 160.
The information contained in this webpage is general in nature and has been provided in good faith, without taking into account your personal circumstances. While all reasonable care has been taken to ensure that the information is accurate and opinions fair and reasonable, no warranties in this regard are provided.