Monday, May 12, 2008

Groundhog day in unFairfield

When you think you really might win an auction, and buy a house, you can't help but imagine your life there. We came back, we saw, we imagined, then we were conquered.

In Fairfield, but an unorthodox layout and busy street were the reasons cited for the low price (in Fairfield this means anything under $700K). We picked over it and saw in the study a 3rd bedroom, in the high fence a buffer against the street, and in the layout enough usable spaces to accomodate a Bear and 2 exotic felines. Apparently we weren't alone.

The silence on this blog has matched a silence on the house front. I've been living the family life, getting by, ignoring the bigger projects and ignoring a misery that longer-term readers know kept us frustrated for months back around the time of Bear's birth. But house prices have been floundering on paper, with some bargains going in the suburbs to our immediate north, so we thought "why not us"?

Why not indeed? Why not us to win the lottery while we're at it?

I've bid at auctions before and not felt all that stressed. It's true. But this time was different, with the build-up, the real sense that we might get it, after such a hiatus from the market, and the imaginings: walking Bear to childcare rather than a 20 minute round trip, exploring the real bush parklands just 15 minutes away, coffee in the delectable local strip, the spot in the garage where I'd set up a bench and bag and become fit again, the corner of the large yard where Bear could have a cubbee house...

There were too many people. The auction we'd watched earlier that day had rocketed beyond the boundaries of fiscal reason. The omens were bad, and we were once again flumoxed.

$20,000 beyond our outer limit, the deal was closed for some sleazy looking professional bidder.

We drove around in a daze for a while. Watched Bear in a park, saying little. Went home. Sat. Slept.

Sunday was a better day.


Another Outspoken Female said...

I've been trying to help someone buy an investment property lately and things are pretty rotten out there. The supposed changes in law to prevent under-pricing are totally ineffective and nothing has changed at all. There has only been one place that came in anywhere near the estimated range.

But there is worse. One property had a photo of another interior of another in the block (the oven was a different colour) - the price came with the before viewing, a preview to the campaign launch when the place had been spruced up. Such lies and deliberate flaunting of the real estate code.

Another aggro buck from an agency hounded me to see if I was going to bid, yet failed to drop of the contract of sale as promised before the auction.

The owners and the agents appear to be particularly hungry and greedy at the moment. Best bet is to scour the dailies for any private sales that don't end up on domain or real

Jeremy said...

I still reckon the only way to buy a house is to go around putting in insulting offers (eg $10-$20k under the asking price) until eventually someone's in a hurry and accepts it.

Ann O'Dyne said...

Real Estate Agents are the lowest form of life.

Pretty soon homehunters will be down there with them, when they:

1. are all
volunteering to deliver Meals On Wheels
just to find out where frail widows live.

2. visit Old Folks Homes and ask the inmates if their house is closed up and would they like to rent it to you (legally a tenant must be offered first refusal when a rented house is put to sale).

3. organise the crowd to attack the auctioneer and his cohorts at the completion.

When next you are anticipating an auction win, have some fixed-time obligation or treat planned for post-auction, just to alleviate that dreadful disappointment leaving it.

Comiserations and good luck.

Nim said...


It's been a million years. Some good advice from others. Here's some more. . .

1. Get some blank contracts from a real estate agent or indeed the Real Estate Institute of Vic.

2. Never rely on agents to provide contracts.

3. Only make offers in writing on a contract form and include a $1000 deposit clause to show you are serious.

4. Make low offers but only in writing and make offers as early before auctions as possible as the cost of an auction is massive and selling before can make a vendor more money.

5. When doing early negotiations ask about Vendor Finance. This can leave you with some cash after the sale to be used for renovations and stuff...

The market is turning around, but it will be a very slow movement down and greed is a big motivator for agents. Foreclosures are on the rise however and they are the big way to get a great deal. The trick is to build up rapport with a number of agents. Eventually they will start suggesting places to you sometimes before they are on the market. If you see any wrong doings like advertising different photos for a place; report it to the Real Estate Institute!

Tally ho!

lucy tartan said...

Where I live (a 1920s suburb further north) the average 3-4 br house is about $400,000 and it's really no different in essence to Fairfield. Multiple cafes in the five-minutes-walk away shopping strip. Local state primary school is run on Steiner principles. Fairfield and Preston etc are simply throwing your money away and tying buyers to stupidly large mortgages.

Helen said...

I feel so wretched for you. We lucked into a place, and it was because SO read the classifieds as OOS recommends. I pooh-poohed it but it worked. The owners were in a hurry because of an OS job offer.

Lucy Tartan's advice is good too. We, like you, were renting in Northcote (isn't Bear at the same CCC Girlchild used to go to?!), and we had to do a big reconsideration and ended up in Yarraville instead. Far across town, but hey, the vibe was the same - and I ran into lots of old acquaintances who had done the same years ago!

Fingers crossed for you, and