What to expect when buying a house

Buying a house is a frustrating exercise. From the way people speak of it, it sounded like easy work. You go to the open inspection, like it and bob’s your uncle – you’re the proud owner of a new home. What I didn’t expect was months of looking through websites, newspapers, searching on google maps to get a feel for the surroundings and finally if it’s passes the test, attending open inspections and auctions. Six months on – I feel like I’m an expert at property inspections and yet getting no closer to actually purchasing a property.

For a majority of the population, buying property will be one of the biggest purchases in your life time and therefore requires a lot of time in researching, attending open inspections, talking to an array of people from real estate agents, mortgage brokers, accountants, family, co-workers, your best friend and sometimes even the stranger who lives down the road from the property you just walked out of.

Gone are the sleep ins, lazy mornings and having your breaky whilst reading the papers. Be prepared to politely decline the catch up brunch with friends and instead be walking around in musty smelling dingy looking places where the real estate agent has obviously photoshopped in the light filter. Don’t they realise that by enhancing the photos just gives a false sense of happiness but instead the potential buyer just walks away with bitter disappointment.

The weekend just past, my boyfriend & I began our morning ritual – check the real estate app for any potential open inspections. As we found one which would be opened in 30 minutes, we raced out of bed and were out the door in 30 minutes. Pretty impressive for people who like to take their time in the morning, slowly waking up to the world.

Given that my boyfriend was still hungover from the night before, I was the designated driver and he was left in charge to be the navigator. The first mistake he made was when he instructed me to turn right when he actually meant left. After a few u-turns and some cross words exchanged, we had arrived at our destination. Turns out that the property was “under contract”, meaning that a party has made an offer and they’re currently in the stages of negotiation. Nice of the real estate agent to update the website. However, looking closely at the property, I realised that this wasn’t the property that we were meant to go to! Another mistake by the hungover bf. As the inspection was finishing at 11:00am and we were at the wrong property at 10:57am, there was no way we were going to make it to the intended inspection.

And so off we went to a cafe to eat a nice delicious and fat laced breakfast to soak up the alcohol and fill in the time until the next property. The next property was passed in at auction the previous week so we were curious to see how the property was. Not sure what the developers were thinking when they decided to add in half a bedroom and a bench as kitchen space in the living area.

As we inspect more and more properties week by week, we have compiled a list of must haves and definitely nots. Having someone to go with you when attending an inspection is definitely a bonus as they may have some advice or see something that you have missed. I look at other couples at the inspections and often wonder if they were feeling as frustrated as we are.

Although the whole process is like finding a needle in a haystack, I’m certain that we’ll find the one place that we can call our home.

House hunting

At the thought of buying your first property, you generally feel excitement and in most cases start to envision what your “ideal” place would look like. You become your own interior designer and with the experience of decorating after watching endless episodes of reno shows such as The Block and House Rules, you think you have a pretty solid idea of what your future house would look like.

However, having gone through the experience of house hunting, I can assure you that it is a completely different scenario.

So it all began with the serious talk with my better half about taking the next step in our relationship – that is moving in and living together. Seems logical enough. The next question was if we wanted to rent or buy a place. With interest rates on the decline, the best option it seems was to buy an apartment or unit to live in for a few years before we looked for something bigger.

And so began the early mornings of open inspections and auctions. With a coffee in one hand and notepad in the other, we would enter each property with high hopes only to leave minutes later in either disgust or with our hopes and dreams all dashed.

Being a Gen Y and having the luxury of living at home with my parents, I had come to the realisation that I was naive if not ignorant when looking at properties. My boyfriend on the other hand has been living by himself for quite some time and so knew what to look for. I never knew how important a separate toilet was until he explained the pros & no cons. I’m such a naive Gen Y. It’s going to be an interesting journey once I move out!

It’s been a few months now and the list of available properties are starting to dwindle. Searching the internet constantly comes up with the same properties that we have either seen or disregard because it hasn’t fitted the criteria. Words of encouragement from friends still doesn’t help the situation especially after hearing horror stories that house hunting can take up to 12 months – something that I have not planned for.

This experience has been a big learning curve for me and a journey that I’m sure I will continue to enjoy riding until we find our little gem. Until then, happy house hunting!