Don’t you hate when people use the ‘Jeep’ slogan to talk about something that they’ve recently purchased ? I do, but I also can’t help saying it from time to time..
Backtrack a little. .
So we’ve been home now for a few months, living in our house that usually has tenants occupying it. It’s a small(ish) home, still in the same area where we lived before, closer to the beach and a little cottage like. When we first moved in, it was fabulous. We had room, space, a bath, a proper kitchen and after living in the caravan for so long it felt like a palace. The only downside really is that Lulu and Sarah have to share a bedroom (and a wardrobe) and there was no space for a study. Given that Wayne is a super keen computer/gadget boy he rectified this ASAP and has built (still in progress I might add) a study area in the main living room. It’s great for Frankie. She can draw all over the keyboard anytime she likes because there’s no DOOR to close her out!
We came to realise however that the rent we can receive on this house is much more than we can actually pay off the mortgage ourselves and that our whole reason for going away and having a ‘life changing experience’ was to reduce our debt as much as we can and concentrate on the fun things in life.
So, let the house hunting begin.
Normally, I’d love this process, but we set ourselves a limited budget so we can maintain the 2 houses and still have a life ! This made the whole house buying situation STRESSFUL. I’m not bothered so much about living in an older home, I think they have more soul (and usually more trees in the streets – a big thing for me although I’m not sure why) but of course some creature comforts would be nice. The area where we chose was the easy part really. We picked a high school that we were happy with and wanted to be in that cachement area for schooling. This being a hard decision to begin with, was made a lot easier when we figured out that being close to family was important. I grew up being surrounded by my cousins and Aunties and I loved it at the time (most of the time) and now my girls can experience that too. There’s this whole divide about the “suburbs” vs living in the “inner city cooler areas”. If Wayne and I made our move early on, then that would be have fine. We would have made our friend base, and the kids would have been settled in school. When we lived in Canberra our intention was to move to an inner city suburb that we had always loved when we returned to Perth, however Perth had a huge housing boom during the 5 years we were away and virtually made it impossible for us to move into our dream home ! Although, having said that, being in Canberra was a very lonely experience for the majority of time we were there and we were craving family, so we rented a home in the Northern Suburbs of Perth until we could decide where to buy, to be close to both sides of our family and here we are 7 years later ! So with that being said, we now had to choose a house.
Wayne was going to Vietnam with some mates for 2 weeks so he casually said to me “if you see something you like, go for it”. For all that know Wayne, this was an impossible statement. I mean, did he mean it ? This is the guy who oversees most things in our family. Not in an overbearing way at all, he’s very generous, but he’s involved in all things money related (although strangely enough he doesn’t know our passwords to any of our accounts) or really, he’s just involved in decision making. Even planning our wedding, he was with me every step of the way, even at one point his mates told him ‘Wayno, you’re doing too much – step away from the bride – just organise the grog and the suits”.. HA
So I was looking at homes on the net and came across a couple that were within our budget and in the right schooling area. I went on my merry way to a few home opens. I looked at all the important things, such as the flooring, the carpets, skirting boards (or lack thereof) I’m a big fan of skirting boards. I also made sure there was heating/cooling and space for a dishwasher. Looked at the ceiling for cracks (ok, I didn’t do that, but I did bring along my brother in-law to do that at a 2nd viewing). I made my decision fairly quickly. I was under the impression that Wayne wanted a ‘reno’ job as he isn’t afraid of hard work and I have PLENTY of ideas. So what now ?
The house was listed as ‘offers invited’ which is very annoying. I’m a female and I pretty much wear my heart on my sleeve. The real estate agent was a really lovely guy, from the UK and he answered all my questions with a smile (I’m sure some of you are thinking ‘he saw you coming’). I asked him what the vendors were looking for price wise, and he told me roughly. It was $50k over our MAX budget so I told him I wasn’t willing to pay that much, the bathrooms are old and foul, as is the kitchen and there’s a lot of work to do outside. He just smiled at me and asked me for my name and number etc.. You know the drill.
I walked away, but as I drove down the street I noticed that there is a lot of building going on. There is a massive coffee shop being built just across the road, a farmers market being built, a tavern has just opened up at the end of the street and about a 5 minute walk away you have the Dr’s, Dentist, Mcdonalds,Chinese take away, fish n chips, you name it.. Then I spotted a big large board that was detailing all the information about the new park being built. Directly across the road.. It’s going to be huge, a walking/jogging track, adult exercise equipment, an amphitheatre, playground for the kids, bbq’s etc. Did I mention the cafe that’s being built too ? So I started thinking.. this might not be Mount Hawthorn or funky Leederville, but it is near the beach, it’s near all our family and it’s as close to a ‘cafe strip’ that we’ll probably get at this stage. I’m going for it.
I rang the estate agent the next day and asked for a private viewing where I took along my brother in-law, my sister in-law and a girlfriend. Safety in numbers ! I had been speaking to Wayne on Viber when I could reach him, but the reception was pretty poor. I’m pretty sure he said ‘ make an offer if you like it, but make sure you take one of my brothers to check out the building ‘. Ok..No problems.
We walked around the house, its quite a large home, lots of rooms and is very dated, but has loads of potential. Basically I wanted it, I wanted the cafe across the road, the tavern down the street (which I admit to previously telling anyone who’d listen, that it was a crap tavern, way overpriced and the decor was daggy – now though, I’ve had a change of heart). The estate agent was kind enough to show me the other 2 offers that the vendor had knocked back, so I went in and offered her the same price as the last potential buyer. I didn’t want to do this, I wanted to just go in and offer our max and see what happens (also, I should point out that we upped our MAX $ by $20k-of course we did). My brother in law pointed out that the house is only worth what someone is willing to pay & that if I go in with the same offer maybe the vendors will think they are wanting to much etc.. So I did. We wrote up the offer and within about 30 mins I had a call from the agent saying ‘no deal and she’s countered with $$$$’ pretty much the sale price that she wanted. So, I went up by another $5k, and then another $5k. This happened over the course of about 2 hours, with agent coming back and forth etc. At this point my father in-law gets wind of what’s going on and with Wayne being away, he decides to weigh in.. “Jo, you’re going to hard, just leave it, don’t put another offer in” etc etc.. He was raising his voice a little. uh-oh.. I really need my man home so I can figure out what my next move is.
Finally the agent calls back and say’s “look, if you offer just $5k more then I know the house is yours”. I was very brave (and had a huge tension headache and sore shoulder) and said “NO, I’m leaving it that”.
Finally I’ve spoken to Wayne and he’s like ‘shit, you bought a house’ ?? Well, not yet I’ve said, but almost. The following morning i’m at hockey with the girls and I get a phone call from the agent. Finally, the house is mine at the price I wanted and I still had $5k up my sleeve. I’m pretty happy with myself at this moment I gotta tell you. I’ll be walking to that cafe every day, having eggs on toast and a latte!
High fives all around me, champagne that night and I can feel the tension falling away. Wayne will be home in about 4 days, and everything will be rosy !
Skip a few days (and countless drive by’s with the girls pointing out the house) and Wayne arrives home. He’s home a lot earlier than I expected and I’m so happy to see him. Yes, he had gifts, but that’s not the only reason 🙂
I arrange for a viewing of the home for the following evening, I’m warning him that it’s not new and fancy, it’s old but has good “bones” and he’ll be able to do wonders with it. I’ve made a point of talking about the shops/cafes and the fruit market, all good things as far as I’m concerned. We get to the house and we enter. I’ve got all 3 kids with me and they are zooming around the place, the girls have picked out their bedrooms and Frankie has gone straight to the fridge to pull every magnet off (and then throw them forcefully on the ground) It’s when this happens that the first of (many) uh-oh moments start to occur. Wayne’s head whips around as the heaviest magnet hits the floor. “Did you hear that” he says ? “Hear what” I’m immediately pissed off.. here we go.. “That drummy sound when the magnet hit the floor, it means the tiles are crap and not laid properly”. . SO WHAT.. I’m fuming.. Silently. I decide to leave him be, I’ll go and check out the bedrooms again and the kitchen cupboards. It’s after about 10 minutes that I decide to go look for him. He’s still in the study area, looking at the leads and power points, all perfect if you ask me. There’s a powerpoint, there’s a lead and there’s a computer, everything is in working order !! Yes ? Well, it would seem NO. “Kids, can you go out and leave your mum and me for a moment”. Moment # 2 … I’m crossing my arms at this point, my confident manner and cocky ‘Yes, I bought a house while my husband was away’ was slowly disappearing (to quote my cousin, “they give you the power and then TAKE IT AWAY”). I won’t go into exact detail, but basically he’s unhappy with the DIY job done on the electrical, I’m wondering if his brother somehow missed some important wires that were quietly fizzing in the wall, but after further probing I find that Wayne thought the owner of the home should have drilled within the cavity so the leads were hidden, not out in the open for all to see. Same again with the tv unit recess in the family room, the cabling has been done on the outside with a cover placed over it, instead of hidden behind the scenes which is the way Wayne likes it.
Then we head outside, it’s dark by this point so he is using his phone as a torch. Obviously the fact that the outside lights are not worth much and hardly throw out any light, was casually mentioned to me as well. So, while he is inspecting the patio and the spa and the shed and the pavers, I’m inside plotting my next move. I want this house dammit and I’ll be damned if he’s going to take it away from me. The house offer was ‘subject to finance’ at this stage, so I started thinking maybe Wayne gave me this ‘challenge’ to try and instil some self confidence in me and he’ll just botch up the finance and in fact I never ever really bought this house, it was all just a ruse from the get go.
As I ponder this thought, and believe me, it’s starting to make complete sense to me, I mean Wayne Morrell doesn’t let his wife just go and buy a house, I start to get sad. Wayne doesn’t like it when I’m sad, in fact he hates it and usually does everything in his power to reverse my feelings. I know this, and maybe this time I manipulated the situation, I can’t be sure if that’s what I did, but I do know that on the way home in the car, he drove with one hand on my knee, telling me all the things he DID love about the house. The size, the shed (mmmm) and the back 3 bedrooms. He liked the location too which was a plus, and he liked the price.
After a quick chat to his other brother and then a few cries from me – mainly me saying “I bought new knickers while you’re away and your’e NOT seeing them” he eventually conceded that he did like the house, it was just a shock because there is a lot of work to do, but overall he’s up for the challenge and I did well..
So, as it stands today we move out of our little cottage in about 3 weeks, then in about 5 weeks Frankie and I head to Sydney and the big cruise ship to celebrate my Aunty’s 60th Birthday. I’m hoping that when I return the house will be repainted, he’s made the ladder shelves for the girls bedrooms and he’s at least made a start on the industrial dining table that I require ! What’s my chances ? …..