The longest two weeks of my life

GEORGINA STYLIANOU
Last updated 10:30 17/05/2014

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Home Sweet Home

New home feels more like a 'prison' When men and renovation meet Nervous time away from new 'baby' It's ours - but so are the endless repair jobs Cat pee and home ownership Farewell cigarette smell and orange kitchen Big move draws nigh Home ownership here we come The longest two weeks of my life Offer accepted but where's our deposit?

OPINION: Our offer is meant to go unconditional in about seven hours and I still don't know if the bank will give us a mortgage.

After a painful week of waiting and poor communication, I'd be happy if I never had to deal with banks ever again.

The last few days have seen me dream about being paid in cash, stashing the money in a big piggy bank, living in a little wooden house (handmade and freehold of course) and refusing to buy in to a system designed to make the middle guys people feel disempowered and at the mercy at others. 

Of course, without banks I wouldn't be in the middle of buying a three-bedroom property in a decent area in an inflated market, but that's beside the point. This whole Welcome Home Loan (WHL) process has been trying to say the least.

The idea of helping first home buyers onto the property ladder is great but the system itself requires some fine-tuning.As I write this I'm waiting for an email from our mortgage manager that will either make, or break, the offer we have on the Orange House in Spreydon. We were meant to go unconditional by close of business yesterday and but we were still in the dark about whether or not we will have our finance sorted. 

The valuation, the builder's report, the title, the LIM, insurance - they were easy. The WHL requires you to buy a house under $400,000 (easy), you have to earn less than $120,000 as a couple (easy), you have to live in it for at least six months (easy) but deferred maintenance and structural problems are a no-go (tricky).

It took three days from receiving the builder's report and sending it to the bank to be told that three areas of deferred maintenance had been identified and we now had to get quotes to fix it all. And here's the brilliant part - the quotes could not total more than $5000 else Housing New Zealand (the agency in charge of the WHL deposit subsidy) would deny the loan.

The other brilliant part? If we couldn't come up with the quotes within about four hours, we would most likely require an extension on our finance date. In this case the deferred maintenance related to some old guttering, a tiny amount of rot from a leak in the laundry and a shabby roof that needs a scrape and paint. In our minds, these were issues that could be addressed in our own time, with  our own money.

And honestly, what sort of affordable property has no form of deferred maintenance in this city? Luckily, I managed to get a builder to pop round to the house and quote us for the work that needed doing. I sent the quote to the bank on Wednesday afternoon.

As confirmation date edged closer and closer and time seemed to accelerate, I felt genuinely sick about the prospect of getting so far down the track and having it all crumble before our eyes on confirmation date.

The conditional period - of ten working days - has been the longest two weeks of my life and we're still not in a position to pop open a bottle of bubbles.

Comment below, email georgina.stylianou@press.co.nz or tweet @gstylianoupress

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