It got the brush off first time we saw it on the web. Needs a spruce here and there, maybe a bigger garden would be nice, and anyway it'll go for too much.
Yesterday, the day before auction day, we had a rethink. Maybe it would be worth popping in, watching, seeing what happened. We slept on the thought.
This morning we woke and Beloved claimed to be feeling lucky. I remained blase but got a sudden flutter in my stomach on the drive over. This was strange; I've bid in several auctions now and was only nervous in the first one.
The house felt like a home. I felt bad for the young student types living there, they were nice, and clearly treated the big old place with respect. We confirmed with the agent that we'd seek a long settlement, past the end of their tenancy, walked through a few times, picking up a few minor foibles but liking the feel, then found a shady spot outside.
The street was fairly low on traffic, the houses either side pretty, dated but well looked after. The area, around the borders of Thornbury and West Preston, is a nice, green pocket with a small bunch of shops - organic grocer, bakery, Latin-themed cafe and wine bar - a nice little primary school, lots of young families moving in.
I was slightly excited but still had few expectations. The area took off about 2 years ago and some phenomenal prices come out of the rare sales there. There was a small crowd, but not the worst I've seen. Hope started rising, slowly, tentatively.
Bidding kicked off miles below a realistic level, and with a couple of people kicking in there, well below the obvious reserve, I held back to watch. It went up quickly in tens of thousands, fcuk TENS of THOUSANDS it's stupid money, I can't get my head around any of this really.
I came in once it slowed. Did my deliberate contrarian thing: asking Bear what she thought, stopping to eat her sultanas while everyone waited a few seconds, going up small amounts, then jumping a few, then bringing it back to increments of a grand. Up it crept. Nemesis kicked in late, he was a dark horse, looked grumpy, looked stressed. I stayed calm, poked on up towards our maximum.
5,3,1 and we were on it, sitting on the very sum we'd agreed. Although I intended to lean in to Beloved and negotiate $5k more, the sense of being on the edge of a cliff made me giddy. And. As. He. Dragged. It. Out. For. An. Interminable. Time (a nice couple behind us, clearly with us, kept saying 'do it, end it!). Things. Wavered.
*Smack* and I swooned like I'd taken an unseen uppercut on the chin. I spun around, Beloved was kneeling keeping both kids consoled, she looked at me with disbelief and I leaned in and kissed her, kissed Mitts, then picked Bear up and threw here a couple of metres into the air:
"Bear- We bought a house... at laaast!"
The clapping followed, people congratulating, hand shaking, talking, signing and it's all really just a blur now.
We bought a house. A big old family house with a soul. It will be a home, our home. And gawd, wait until the grandparents hear about the bungalow out the back!