Sunday, March 30, 2008

Kicking the tyres again

I mentioned quite some time ago that we'd gone house hunting[^]. At that time the numbers stubbornly refused to add up and we've been stuck here.

But what with the precipitous drop in housing prices and the consequent rise in rentals the numbers do finally add up and it's starting to look like we can have our cake and eat it too; to wit, keep this place as a rental and get a real house to live in.

This is not a change unfraught with concerns; I still remember the feeling, upon signing the contract for my first house, of 'hell, I owe the bank $120,000!' It's also requiring a bit of a mental reorientation for myself; me as a landlord??? Perish the thought for this lefty. But things change over time and I keep reminding myself of that saying attributed, I think, to George Bernard Shaw 'if you're not a socialist before you're thirty you have no heart, if you're still one after thirty you have no head!'.

Okay, so I'm lagging a bit!

We've been looking at various houses, off and on, for more than half a year and seen a few we liked, a few just that little bit out of range, a lot way out of range and a lot more we just didn't like. To say nothing of those priced more optimistically than realistically!

We saw one yesterday that I'm still chuckling over. It was a vacant posession but the agent had arranged for it to be 'staged'. You know the deal. Back in Australia they advise one to have a pot of fresh coffee just brewed; not for the refreshment of prospective buyers but to give it 'that' smell. They also advise fresh bread for the same reason. I can't say I've seen any house here where those tricks were employed though a sickly sweet smell does seem popular. Thank god no one's gone for cinammon!

I wouldn't presume to suggest a kickback but this is the first staged vacancy I've seen this time around.

The house had been staged by stocking the pantry with various brands of breakfast cereal and strategically placed bottles of red wine. I kid you not, I've never seen quite so many bottles of wine strewn around the place. It looked like an alcoholics paradise. I have to wonder who they thought they were pitching the place to; it was a family home, not a bachelor flat[^]! They even had a tray sitting on the master bed with a bottle of red wine and two champagne flutes! That's the detail that made me chuckle. No one of any taste whatsoever would sip red wine from a damn champagne flute!

Nice try guys but no cigar.

We found a place we both really liked within our means. Pool and all. Another phone call tomorrow to the mortgage broker to be sure we can finance it and, with luck, we'll place an offer this week.


Guy said...

Good luck with the house buy. I hope that you get it. In order not to be disappointed we prepared ourselves for the value of our house to fall for 3 years. So far we're doing well, we've been there 9 months and the price has been steadily falling but knowing that it was going to happen kept our sanity. I think if you go in with that attitude that the house will be less 2 years from today then you won't be unhappy when the price drops. The reason that you're buying the house is to be in a better place and you shouldn't care if it drops. Forewarned is forearmed - or something like that.

Rob said...

Exactly what I've been thinking. Sonya has been dithering about whether we should buy now or wait for the price to fall even further. My answer is that once you buy you STOP looking at prices and accept what you have. After all, as you say, we're buying to have a better place. Going the 'the price might drop more' route is a good way of ensuring you never buy at all!