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Thread: How does one buy a house without entertaining homicidal thoughts?

  1. #1

    Default How does one buy a house without entertaining homicidal thoughts?


    I live in the shittiest hole in Australia, Sydney. Which just so happens to be insanely expensive. How expensive? Well lets put it this way, for the cost of renting an apartment you could service the mortgage on a $500k house. That's how insane it is. If you wanted to rent a house I hope you've got a spare $1k a week to burn. And I'm not even talking about the posh suburbs here. And if you wanted to actually buy something then I hope you're ready to sign a contract within 24hrs of finding it (no time for building inspections and who does those anyway??) or it's gone, usually for about $100k over the price you were quoted by the agent as well. In short, Sydney sucks unless you love living 4 to a 2 bedroom apartment.

    So in an effort to escape the financial black hole which is this place I'm off to the relatively rural oasis of one of our secondary cities. Which are in themselves quite insane too, just not as insane as Sydney. The good news is that I'm all cashed up, preapproved for a mortgage and ready to sign on the dotted line as soon as I find something. My budget isnt tiny but as with all things, the perfect house is always in the next price bracket.

    Back on topic

    I'm not new to househunting, in fact I've already spent 12 months admiring other people's tile and carpet choices, and thinking WTF?! My problem is that I just haven't found anything to date that's said buy me. I've had a few close calls but on further inspection those homes proved to have some wonderfully expensive issues, like termites and dry rot in structural timbers.

    Right now I'm ready to stab the next agent who tells me over the phone the property I'm enquiring about exchanged yesterday. Don't even get me started on why they waste everyone's time advertising a property that has already sold. I could handle even that if they then didn't follow up the bad news with ' we don't have anything else in that price range' [with extra sarcasm] down the phone at me.

    An agent I called yesterday about a good potential property for me went on to advise me that as I was a single female I couldn't possibly be interested in renovating and this property would be too much work for me. Well, thanks for projecting your preferences onto me and also your prejudice that only men can do DIY or organise tradespeople. It was the only time in my life I'd wished I could bilocate just so I could poke her in the eye.

    So, here's the thing, what makes you buy? Is it just desperation and an insane need to never speak to a real estate agent again? Help me out with some strategies for coping and of course signing my life away. Just so we are clear, here's my wishlist..A small and older unrenovated home with as large a yard as I can afford given my preferred location. No structural defects. Not real hard I would think.

  2. #2
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    I feel ya, I'm in the same boat.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Array
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    Eh, buy one in a developing country. Fix it up and whore it out as a guesthouse. You could do this for less than 20 000 USD and turn a profit on it quick. Better, no one would throw sexist remarks on you for doing it.

  4. #4


    nice idea Sanjuro, but doesnt help me house myself and the cats in the meantime. Besides I want to live like an adult, rather than college student and actually own something here.

  5. #5


    I want conversions. Not vague numberless conversions. How much, in usd, do you pay, monthly, for your shithole

  6. #6


    okay. A very oridinary 2 bed apartment in a okay suburb (no views, balcony or small courtyard and offstreet parking) 40mins from CBD is around $420-$450 per week. AUD is about 90 US cents at the moment so it's about $1,700 per month. Thats in aregular outer suburb. If you live in a inner city lifestyle or beach suburb, (less than 30mins to CBD, popular young professionals area) no view, no yard, no off street parking but decent with relatively newish kitchen and bathroom, expect to pay $500 per week for a one bedroom and $600-700 for a 2 bedder. In US terms between - $1,900-$2,700 per month USD.

    To put that into perspective, in my new location (a capital city) I can buy a nice 3 bedroom house with a decent yard in an upper middle class suburb 25mins to the CBD for under $500k, or about $350pw ($1600pm USD).

    I no longer rent fulltime here. I pay by the night when I'm working and leave the city when I'm not. It's actually cheaper [for me] to do that.

  7. #7
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    Default buy the house after killing the idiots.

    Serious: following thread. I don't know, but am coming up to a similar situation and want to be ready.
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  8. #8


    @Misty, prepare yourself for one of the worst tasks in your lifetime. I've actually considered going back to renting in preference for looking to buy, its excruitating. At least with a rental you don't have to like it too much. If its in the right area, for the right price and isn't falling apart, you're sold.

    The trouble with buying is that you expect some kind of service from an agent, there is none. I've encountered more rudeness as a buyer than as a renter. A lot of people looking down their nose at you because you aren't in their premium property basket. The second problem is that internet photos hide a multiude of sins. That older home which looks okay online looks like a demolition job in real life. They never show you the junk car yard next door, nor the industrial units that back onto your yard. The magic of photography. Although I have found Google maps to be invaluable, you can do a driveby without ever leaving your living room. Here's a few amusing Real Estate choice phrases and what they really mean....

    Cosy - so small you'll think it's a dog kennel
    Needs work - it's been eaten through by termites and the 'work' involves a bulldozer.
    Dated - pre 1960, complete with original 1930's rose print carpets, plywood cupboards and museum quality kitchen.
    Recently renovated - In 1973, hasn't seen any updates since.
    Completely renovated - someone installed an Ikea kitchen, rather poorly and put a cheap cabinet in the bathroom.
    Entertainers dream - large expanse of concrete in the backyard.
    Vogue living - they painted the walls white.
    Character cottage - rising damp issues and illegal roof truses and plumbing
    Eclectic - multiple illegal add-ons the council will require you to demolish.
    Low maintainence - you have no backyard.

  9. #9


    Quote Originally Posted by Misty View Post buy the house after killing the idiots.

    I've purchased two houses and sold one. Both of my purchases were new builds, although I looked at existing properties too. Have you considered building? Not that I'd recommend it, but it does allow you to choose exactly what you want if you're willing to pay the builder's price and adapt to their schedule and way of doing things.

    It really sucks to be a buyer in a seller's market. If time isn't on your side, the only way to find what you want is to get lucky or to be willing to offer more than the other people are paying. If you don't want to pay in money, then you have to pay either in time and patience, or keep gambling.

    Consider the possibility that your agent or their computer database isn't keeping up as quickly as other agents. I sometimes saw properties on the web which my agent didn't see in her system until later that day. Maybe a less popular agent would be less overworked and able to spot properties faster. Or maybe a different agency's database is more timely in keeping up with things.

    Get predatory. Drive around and watch the neighborhoods you like. Find some properties you like and have your agent contact the owners to see if they're interested in selling, or do that yourself.

  10. #10


    Thanks for the tips JAVO. I havent considered building because I dont have the time and the other constraint, most of the project home being built in Australia these days are poorly built. They look good the day they go up and fall apart very quickly. I'm looking to buy something established and just compromise on a lot of the wants. Mostly, I'm just after a usuable floorplan and yard, the rest I can fix. Today I found a really good candidate, 70's home, but good 70's, double brick, open plan living space,good floorplan, just needs to be updated on the inside. New bathroom, kitchen, carpets, tidyup the yard and we're done. The interior screams 70's so I'm hoping that will scare a lot of people away.

    It's in a good price range so I will have the cash to do what needs doing. Trying to tee up a viewing this week and if its as good, or close to how it looks on paper, I'll take it. Nothing like a bit of time pressure to make a decision easier. I think its easier for me this time around just because I do have that focus of 'must find house to live in now'. I suffer from being overly idealistic and unless there is something to push me I can faff around forever trying to find something just right.

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