lifestyle

Turns out that the Great Australian Dream may not be worth it after all.

Rachel Corbett
Rachel Corbett

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.

house
Ye olde market strikes again.
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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.

So the next step is to only attend auctions where you have a little financial room to move.  However, just when you’re patting yourself on the back for coming to that realisation, ye olde market strikes again.

Let me set you a scene: You’ve rocked up to an auction fairly confident because you’ve factored in what you think is a hefty buffer. You look around at the other bidders, thinking that you don’t want to get ahead of yourself, but this could be your day. Proceedings kick off and the auctioneer calls out, “Can I have an opening bid?”

Then some douche bag from up the back shouts out a number that not only surpasses the advertised price but also every last skerrick of your buffer AND the entirety of your loan amount plus an extra $25,000 thrown in for good measure.

So now you are left standing there like a dickhead with a bidder’s number that is not only never going to get the chance to be raised, but is also good for nothing expect spitting your gum into… or hiding the bird you’ve just flipped the opening bidder.

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See that? It's not a dream. It's a nightmare.
See that? It’s not a dream. It’s a nightmare.

The only thing that makes a situation like this even worse is when the winning bidder isn’t even present.

S/he’s just there on the phone, silently bidding from afar like s/he’s ordering something from a Woolworths deli.

These remote bidders also have a knack for suspense that would make Alfred Hitchcock jealous.

If you’ve got a phone bidder at your next auction, be prepared for the repetitive process of the auctioneer asking, “is that his last and final?”, the person on the phone saying “yes”, the auctioneer yelling “going once, twice…” and the twat on the end of the phone saying “oooh, maybe an extra $1000”, until you’ve spent another 30 minutes incrementally adding what ends ups being an additional $20,000 to the purchase price.

Just offer the damn $20,000 in one hit and let the rest of us go home and cry over realestate.com.au, as we realise we are back at the drawing board yet again!

When this happens you feel like grabbing the phone and yelling down the line, “Listen buddy! If you’re going to rip my dreams out from under me you may as well have the decency to do it in person, so I can have a face to visualise when I’m back home with the voodoo doll!”

If only someone had detailed in the ‘How to be a Responsible Adult’ brochure that sometimes the ‘Australian Dream’ can actually be a bloody nightmare.

See you at auction!  I’ll be the one in the foetal position.

Rachel Corbett hosts Triple M’s national drive show ‘Merrick and the Highway Patrol and is a writer/performer on ABC2’s ‘The Roast.’ You can find her on Twitter here.

Alright readers… House buying horror stories: Go.

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