Oh wow, I haven’t written on here since April. It has really been a crazy year.
In May, we found out we were basically getting evicted from our rental, despite being impeccable tenants, because the owner “wanted to move in a family member” — universal code in Australia for “we want to sell it but we have to give you more notice for that under the law”. Cue a complete breakdown. At the time, I was exhausted, feeling pretty sick, mum was still very unwell, and it was all just a lot. They tried to get us to leave in mere weeks but luckily we had a lease ending in July, so they earliest they could technically kick us out was August.
But still. After two office moves in a year, a really ill mum, staffing chaos at work and all sorts of other things, it very much felt in the category of “too much right now”.
I pretty much a day off work to have an emotional breakdown, then driven by the grand injustice of it all, decided to see if there was any way I could get a mortgage. I had read all the horror stories in recent years since the banking royal commission of the big banks trawling your transaction history and making personal judgements on you as a human being, no matter your ability to repay, so I really didn’t think I had a shot. I did have a deposit, only thanks to my uncle who passed away last year leaving us some funds (he didn’t have any children of his own and absolutely doted on us), but I also had a bank statement full of Afterpay and Uber Eats orders.
I decided to try a non-traditional lender and go through a mortgage broker, and to my surprise got pre-approval, so started cramming my Saturdays and any spare moment to go to opens. I was doing this in a much compressed period of time compared to most purchases, due to the impending eviction.
My sister, who was moving with me but as a tenant, was a great comrade in this. It was pretty exhausting, but also hilariously weird at times. There was the place where the tenants were still in the apartment and the agent said they were ‘allergic to the harsh Australian sun’ and they wouldn’t let us look in the bathroom, the place were the agent flipped out at me because I asked if the apartment had any heating and she shrieked ‘BUT IT IS NORTH FACING YOU DON’T NEED IT’ (err yes you do lady), and the place that was lovely but up four flights of stairs and was having on offer put on by the pushy parents of an extremely disinterested early 20s guy who definitely was going to turn it into a gaming dungeon ASAP (his mum also fat-shamed me, so great). Also many, many places built in the last 10 years with high body corp fees due to building defects…
But then one morning we found it — the place! It wasn’t even on the top of my ‘interested’ list — wasn’t sure on the suburb. A little late 80s brick complex built on the tail end of brutalism but just before everyone started installing peach kitchens, amid a neighbourhood that is in a great location to everything but from an unfortunate era of depressing brick colour choices. A nicely renovated two bedder, double glazed, with a little garden on one end and a courtyard on the other. New kitchen, new bathroom, a big bath with room for my big butt, and two OK enough sized bedrooms. And it was below what I could maximally afford, so wouldn’t be a stretch. I made an offer that night, the agent called right back, and somehow I had bought a little flat.
Obviously there was then heaps of other stuff to organise, as I realistically had no idea what I was doing and had not planned to plunge into buying until maybe another year or so away, but I muddled through and paid all the bills that came in, and followed up and followed up and followed up just like in my day job with various providers who shouldn’t have required so much follow up, and then I got the keys.
We are well and truly moved in now, and it is going well. There are a few improvements I want to make here and there, and some decorative plans too, but it works, and it is mine, and I don’t have to move unless I want to.
I also need to suss out my neighbours a bit more as there has been some weirdness and one theft, but I will work on that (and buy a camera….).
But given all else that had been going on, and my ME/CFS which has not gone anywhere throughout this, it definitely felt like an achievement to pull it off. I am now officially a homeowner (or mortgage slave, perhaps the more accurate description) while still being a tired person, which I wasn’t quite sure was possible before.