House hunting an emotional rollercoaster

GEORGINA STYLIANOU
Last updated 05:00 22/03/2014

I had been warned about falling in love with a house and being ruled by emotion.

''The property market is no place for emotions,'' my property consultant and friend Abbie told me. 

I was told to matter-of-factly point out everything wrong with the place, so the agent or vendor knows you're not an over-excited puppy, and keep your true thoughts to yourself until safely stowed in the car on the way home.

But I stepped into the colonial cottage, inhaled the vanilla scent of a burning candle and felt at home. 

I literally squealed with excitement as I poked around the dinky home and admired the way its heritage and modern elements intertwined. 

The vendor kept himself busy in the living room while my mum, Robbie and I drooled over the new kitchen and the landscaped garden.

''Oh my god,'' I silently mouthed at Robbie.

''I love it, I love it!''

He nodded in silent acknowledgement. 

The cottage had been lovingly maintained, tastefully decorated and it was truly beautiful. 

We left without giving too much away - but not before my persuasive mother had a quick chat with the vendors to get a handle on what price they really wanted for it. 

The next 24 hours were a whirlwind of mortgage repayment calculators and phone calls to our parents, our newly found solicitor Dean and Kat, our mobile mortgage manager. 

We had truly convinced ourselves this was the home for us . . . I had even talked myself out of getting a builder's report, fearing too many conditions would only make our offer less attractive. 

I managed to bring our bank appointment forward and I proudly showed the property listing to most of my colleagues.

We had arranged a second viewing for that evening and my entrepreneurial father was to bring his builder mate along. 

Another couple was already viewing the house when we pulled up and my stomach churned at the thought of their top offer being better than ours. 

I didn't step foot in the house again. I took the builder's children to the park while he, Robbie, Robbie's parents and my dad went inside. 

More than 30 minutes passed and the pit of anxiety in my stomach began to knot as I wondered what was going on inside The Beautiful Doll's House.

Then I saw Johnny the builder and my dad striding toward me in the park and I stopped the game we had been playing and went over to meet them. 

''The short version is don't buy that house,'' Johnny said.

I felt winded and couldn't understand what he was saying. He went on to tell me there were a few red flags, including dry rot in one of the bedrooms and a leaking bath. He was ''very concerned'' about the standard of some repairs and because there was no room to get under the house, we would never know ''whether the whole thing is rotting''. 

He said something about this, something about that, and something about a wall . . . but I was focused on the lump in my throat and the overwhelming urge I had to cry.

I was quiet on the ride home and even though I knew we had dodged a potential bullet, Robbie's efforts to comfort me achieved little.

I'll be the first to admit I let emotion get the better of me. I was swept off my feet by a home I knew little about and had spent just 20 minutes in.

Unlike a relationship breakup, my home heartbreak was easily cured by an hour of mind-numbing television, excessive amounts of peppermint tea and a decent sleep.

I learned a lot this week but now I'm stronger and better-equipped to take on the property market. Have you ever put heart before head in a decision about a property? 

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

- The Press

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