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Secret offers, ridiculous language and mind games: First home buying is destroying my soul.

I thought I had seen it all when it came to the Sydney property market, but then last weekend I lived a new personal hell.

Before I get to that, I want to preface by saying that I know some fundamental truths. 

First, I am extremely lucky to even be in a position to be disappointed that I have thus far been unable to purchase a property in one of the world’s most competitive markets. My privilege is not unchecked.

Second, obviously there is a lot of bad s**t going on in the world that far outweighs my property problems, and I would never suggest that I have it worse than anyone else. 

Third, and I really hope this one is true, I am not alone. No doubt you will be reading this and either know from your own experience, or someone else’s, that the housing situation in Australia is out of control.

And that’s exactly how the whole thing feels… out of your control.

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My husband and I saved for 10 years to get enough money together for a deposit, thinking that the hard part was over. 

Not a 20 per cent deposit of course, because that is a pipe dream that I have not known anyone to actually achieve. But enough of a deposit to supposedly mean that we could purchase a property with about 10 per cent, and then pay LMI on top to secure a deal.

If you’re not familiar with the acronym ‘LMI’, it stands for ‘Lender’s Mortgage Insurance’, or in other words, yet another fee ranging anywhere (in my case) from $10,000 to $30,000 that the people who can’t afford 20 per cent deposit have to pay on top of all the other costs. 

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Ironic isn’t it? Making people who can’t get 20 per cent together pay tens of thousands of dollars more than a wealthier person would have to. 

LMI is just one of the many delightful acronyms and pieces of terminology with which I am now familiar.

Other classics include, mortgage broker, buyer’s agent, settlement period, exchange of contracts, unconditional offer, Loan to Value Ratio (LVR), pre-approval, personal contribution, conveyancing, defects, special levy, 66W Certificate (where you waive your ‘cooling off rights’ because, how dare you expect to have any rights as a purchaser), and cruelest of all… gazumping. 

This last one is the reason my heart broke last weekend. 

Now, if you’re a real estate agent, you may well be a straightforward and decent person who denies any knowledge of the following, and perhaps you do really exist. If so, I am not talking about you, because I have never met you. 

Unfortunately, some of your colleagues whom I have met have been duplicitous, dishonest and in this case even downright aggressive. 

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Example A occurred last weekend when an agent on a property I thought I was about to buy started literally shouting at us that we hadn’t ‘tried hard enough’ to finalise the deal, even though we had spent the past two weeks jumping through every hoop they had thrown up for us. 

We had been told our offer had been accepted by the vendor, contract negotiations were underway, strata checks completed, valuation from our bank was confirmed, unconditional approval for our mortgage was lodged, and even the arduous process of getting our cats approved by the super anal strata committee (which required that we pay to see the vet and chase up decades old paperwork with the council) was done. 

And yet we still don’t own that home, because the agent - without a care in the world - sold it to someone else without telling us until after it was done. 

I genuinely don’t know how he sleeps at night, and after this experience I hope he never has an undisturbed rest ever again. This is the kind of vitriol I am left carrying around, which is not a happy place for me.

Now once again, I’m back to fretting about my future, and feeling too resentful to re-open that housing app I’ve come to loathe.

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To say the emotional toll at this point is seriously draining would be an understatement. 

I’m told some people do manage to purchase a property in Australia without any pain or delays, and if that’s you, more power to you. But that has not been my reality, despite my genuinely best efforts. 

I don’t want to leave you on a downer, because there’s enough of that going around at the moment. So all I can say is this: if you have spent nights crying over a deal that has fallen over at the last minute, felt cheated by agents who pretend to be your best mate one minute and then bully and intimidate you the next, or feel totally desperate that this will never happen and you will never own your own home or move on to the next stage in your life, I hear you. 

I feel and share your pain, and I see you even though we have never met. You are not alone, and I say ‘onward and upward’ as we surge forward back into the battlefield in the knowledge that there is always another home for sale. 

I just hope one of us can actually buy it.

Feature Image: Supplied.

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