We’re sticking to our limits and trends are on our side
House buyers these days show all the commitment of a teenager on the pull and are playing the field with gusto, writes DON MORGAN
MY WIFE is the smart one in our marriage. She can understand things in seconds, that I need a week, a notebook and a bottle of gin to latch on to.
She reckons house buyers show all the commitment of a teenager on the pull. There are ill chosen words, awkward shuffling and at the end you have nothing to show for it but a bruised ego. What’s more, many buyers have all the sense of monogamy of gadflies in mating season. On top of which, between driving for five hours and having to work a full day, when exactly are we supposed to look at houses?
“You mean you haven’t found anything yet?” asked one of our friends the other day. My shoulders dropped. The truth was out. We’ve nothing to show for four months of searching. I felt as big as a Fianna Fail logo on an election poster. “NO, happy?” I stormed off, throwing a strop like a character from a teen soap opera. Life is sooooo unfair.
There’s a particular feeling of rage when house hunting which really needs to be avoided at all costs, but it’s futile. It takes over your whole being.
Last week, my wife came in to find me with a curtain of hair in front of my eyes, listening to Nirvana. I was packed off to a barber shop in double time.
Back in my grown up world, we drive in second gear around the streets of south Dublin, as inconspicuous as a drive-by shooting. We’re looking at houses, all executors’ sales, in the flesh to establish if they are any prettier or uglier than in doctored pictures on the internet.
One house in particular bore terrible secrets hidden in its blue-skied online advertisement. We were busy stalking the streets around Rathmines to find a seemingly gorgeous period house we had been down to view. When we eventually negotiated the pointless one-way system in Rathmines, we wrestled each other for the phone to cancel the viewing.
The roadlet it was on, with “on street parking”, was incredibly narrow. We escaped with our car scraped to bits, but our mortgage intact.
In the cruel light of day, not even Photoshop could redeem this house. It was classic flatland, not a serious residence. The price, shamefully, didn’t reflect that.
Rather than stalking individual houses, some potential buyers multitask. There’s no one-house- at-a-time for them. They may like one house, but will see another option not far away.
One estate agent told me of an instance, where potential buyers were looking at two houses on the same street, weighing up their options as to which would be a better deal for them. You make your offers and see which bites. Who said drift netting had been banned in Irish waters?
We look at one house at a time. But after fruitless attempts to get somewhere with this tactic, we’ve decided we’re going to follow suit and be promiscuous with property. Commitment is for squares and grown-ups! We’ve identified some places in our ideal, Dún Laoghaire-ish location. We have a price in mind which is considerably less than the asking price, but we’re not going to let someone make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear at our expense. We’ll play it cool and see who really wants our money, it’s not a lot, but it’s a sum we can stand over. And we have trends on our side.
Many potential house buyers are playing the field. Houses are coming back on the market, like our bloated, back-alley maisonette in Rathmines, as punters set to define the market on their terms.
In the past, people were forced into buying houses blind, only to discover they got absolutely no value for money. They are paying off huge loans on depreciating assets.
Now, you don’t have to rush into a sale. Take your time, look around the neighbourhood. What will be, will be.
We might have found one house that could be ideal. Roomy, a dawdle from work, it seems too good to be true. Maybe it’s the real deal. Maybe.