By RACHEL CORBETT
For the past nine months most of my Saturdays have been spent pulling the curtain back on what it’s like to buy an investment property.
And to be honest I wish I’d left the damn curtain shut.
After squirreling away enough money to tether myself to a bank for 40 years (yippee!), I thought the hard part was over.
But oh, how wrong I was.
For a start, any dreams of this being a swift process were thrown out the window around the time I was poking my way through the belongings of the 100th stranger. There really is only so many times you can open up the built-in wardrobes of someone you’ve never met and be greeted by their dirty laundry before you start thinking, ‘there’s got to be more to life than this.’
Having said that, at least you’re never looking at their soiled knickers for long thanks to the universal desire of every real estate agent in the country to open their properties for inspection between 10 and 11am, despite there being another 23 full hours available in the day.
In fact, the times an agent has scheduled a viewing for 1:15pm I’ve almost felt compelled to ask if I could take them upstairs and spoon them for awhile because I’m just so damn grateful. See, the problem is, you’ve usually got a list of about 13 properties to get through, encompassing an area the size of a nuclear blast zone, and they’re all occurring at pretty much the same time.
So your options are either to ring up the blokes who cloned Dolly the sheep back in ‘96 and see if one wants to come out of retirement and the other wants to come back from the dead.
Or, you can take the more realistic approach, which involves dedicating approximately two and a half minutes to racing through each of the properties that could potentially become the single biggest purchase of your life.
It really is sobering to think you’d spend more time deliberating over a new pair of underpants and you’re not expecting anyone to rent those out.
Unfortunately (or fortunately) the difference between an investment property and my underpants doesn’t stop there.
For starters, with a pair of underpants the price on the label is the price you pay, which certainly can’t be said for an investment property.
Every apartment I’ve been interested in has gone for at least $70,000 more than it was listed at, which has made me wonder whether in my swift two and a half minute glance I’d missed the door to the basement where the gold bullion was stored.
It really does feel at times like the housing equivalent of ordering the dish that’s on the menu at ‘Market Price’. You just know you’re getting screwed, but at least at dinner there’s a glass of wine to numb the pain.