It all began in April 2020. One day I took a break from being an armchair scientist online, arguing the merits of the lockdown with tinybaboon69 and started thinking about the New Zealand economy.
In my infallible wisdom I decided that because of Covid, the house prices will go down; therefore, it is the best time to get on that property ladder that has ruled Aotearoa’s zeitgeist for decades.
Lockdown ends and oh, I was so wrong. It is not a ladder. It is a pole vault bar, and the first home buyer is like an athlete attempting to get over that bar with a chopstick. We started looking in the city area. That ended with slight chuckles from the agent upon hearing our budget, along with the same kind of socially polite – albiet awkward – umms and aahhs one gets when asking out the hottest person in school. Alright, no problem. Let us increase our search parameters.
The next hurdle was deciphering the Trade Me ads. The following definitions will be helpful for future first home buyers. “Opportunity” means that the house needs a lot of work. “House with character” means that it is an old creaky house where you can fall through the floor. “Loved by previous owners” means that there is a lot of unconsented work. “Close to amenities” means that there is a dairy between one to 25km of the house.
After months of declined offers and soul-destroying auctions, we were successful in buying a beautiful house in Stanmore Bay which is an “opportunity” and a “house with character”.
It turns out houses are in big demand. The person whose offer I won against was found standing outside my door offering me $10K more than what I paid. A couple of months later I found a note in my letterbox saying, “hey mate, spoke to you a while ago, I’ll give you $60K more than you paid for the house”. The truth is, no amount of money would make me sell the house because I know buying one is such an ordeal.
I have learned from the real estate ads, so “no amount of money” means if you offer Jeff Bezos’ level of money then I will think about it.