Friday, March 13, 2015

A ramble about buying a (town)house

Picture from here.

It’s been a strange couple of weeks here. I exchanged contracts on the townhouse I am buying yesterday. This is a relief. I felt a little uneasy about the whole business last week, as the bank seemed to be taking a long time on the final loan approval, which it turned out was owing to a technical glitch that held up the title search, and it was all fine. Then contracts were supposed to be exchanged on Wednesday, as per the sales advice, but I didn’t hear anything, so I asked next morning and my solicitor had sent in the contract but the seller’s solicitor hadn’t. Why, I asked myself. And waited. Thankfully that it all happened yesterday. Apparently these hiccups are all quite normal in this business, but when you don’t know quite what is going on it’s a tad nerve-wracking.

I think now I can safely say it’s mine. I feel so excited and pleased and grateful about the place I have. When I was looking at the sort of properties in my price range I at times felt quite despondent about the whole caper – mainly out of berating myself for having not done such a thing sooner and for making decisions in the past that meant that I was now looking at places that were in some cases pretty crummy (do not be deceived by the pictures online!). And I actually thought a two-bedroom unit with a carport was going to be the extent of it (though that would actually have been fine). So to have found this townhouse with so much more makes me very thankful (and if I think about the ten years in Sydney, where buying something just fell of the radar because it was so impossible, it’s totally amazing).

[I do hesitate to use terminology like “blessed” about such circumstances, particularly when they are connected to finances, because I just think it says unhelpful things about what “blessings” from God really are and are not and how he blesses. But that means I don’t know quite what to say when circumstances work in my favour (which they will sometimes, and other times not), but I will just be grateful. And, you know, God has been extravagant (though isn’t he always?) in that I thought I’d like a place with a bath, and I have the biggest bath/shower/spa combo I have ever seen in a unit in my life.]

It is a fairly conservative looking place, like something your retired grandparents might live in (except they’d never be able to climb over the wall into that shower/spa combo), being a fairly non-descript brick-and-tile building with vertical blinds visible (which I hate, but they ARE very good for angling the light), that won’t put me in the Frankie magazine or on the Apartment Therapy website, and at times I thought I should be creative and buy a block of land in the country and live in old shipping containers or a salvaged wood hut ... But the reality is that that would be such an unworkable lifestyle. From Canberra you’d have to live somewhere like Captain’s Flat before it was actually cheap, and commuting every day would be a wearisome pain in the butt, and would I really want to be sitting out there on weekends by myself? I did actually look online at a tin shack by a creek way out near somewhere called Rugby that appealed, and maybe one day I can have a hut in the middle of nowhere for a weekender. This place is just a very sensible and secure investment (here’s hoping!), that should be fairly easy to live in. The suburb was gazetted in the 1970s so is older (not that I really care about that – and it means it has big trees, rather than some of the newer moonscapes) but there’s a whole new suburb going in next to it, which is going to see the shopping centre upgraded in the future etc, so hopefully I don’t go backwards. And it all means I won’t need to live in a caravan in Tasmania when I retire (because what else do you do if you’re a single person on a pension who doesn’t own property and has no family for any kind of support or care?), though I reckon I could have made a caravan in Tasmania work.

This whole week has been all over the place. Tuesday I raced off from work early, after getting final loan approval and raiding the bank, to ride home and get my car so I could drive to the solicitor’s office with a cheque for my life savings. Then the next day a lady from church celebrating her 70th birthday picked me up from work and took me to the Royal Canberra Golf Club for lunch, and I was gone from work for two hours. (She’s an hilarious English woman. I told her at lunch that how her and her husband interact reminds me of Judi Dench and Geoffrey Palmer in As Time Goes By and she said even their own children say that.) Then yesterday I had to sit at home for ages waiting for a house inspection on this rental property. I tried to cancel it, but as I hadn’t actually given notice, which I didn’t want to do till I had a settlement date for moving, and I hadn’t yet heard about contract exchange, they said I still had to have it. That was a frustrating waste of time (yay for no more six-monthly house inspections). So now I have to settle down and get back to work.

And now to the packing! Everything about buying a house is quite alright, except this part where you have to pack up all your stuff and move it from one place to the next.


Optimistic Existentialist said...

Congratulations on your new home!! It must be so incredibly exciting to take this next step in your journey :)

Ali said...

Thanks again OE!

Meredith said...

Hopefully though, after this move, you won't have to pack up and move again. And that is one of the very wonderful things about (town)house ownership. As you pack just remember it's for a very cause this time around. Keep us posted on your progress.

Ali said...

Thank you for this Meredith! Yes, I need never move again (though that's no guarantee that I won't), which is bliss.