Taking the emotion out of house hunting
As promised, I'm back on the property wagon and I'm feeling more determined than ever.
After 10 days of sulking and joking about living in a tent in the residential red zone, I went to an open home this week . . . and what an open home it was.
I mustered the energy to leave the office (on a particularly busy day), sit in traffic heading out of the city and navigate my way to the quiet Spreydon street.
Wow. Deceased estate, no earthquake damage claim, a pungent smell and so much orange - orange wallpaper, faded orange carpet, orange paint, orange kitchen . . . the list goes on.
The colour palette was complimented with ancient-looking floor lino, blue and red carpet in the second bedroom, blue curtains, a pink bathroom and a green laundry. I was overwhelmed.
On one hand, it's exactly the sort of place we've been looking for - good bones, room for improvement, good location and affordable.
But on the other, the clean-freak part of me just wanted to run and hide in the garage - the only modern element of the property.
''We've actually had commercial cleaners come through,'' the real estate agent quipped.
Well, I'd be asking for a refund mate, I thought.
I took some deep breaths and remembered my mantra: ''Be realistic, be open minded and don't judge on decor''.
Abbie (colleague, confidante and property guru) took me outside.
''Don't panic," she said.
"If you buy it, we get a skip and rip the carpet up immediately because there's wooden floorboards underneath. We clean the place from top to bottom, put some rugs down, paint over some of the wallpaper and a sub floor in the kitchen will fix the lino issue.''
I was reassured. We went back inside and took a second look around, both of us feeling more acclimatised to the age and state of the house as we started discussing what else could be done relatively quickly and relatively cheaply.
The open home attracted a young builder, an investor, a young family and a middle-aged couple.
I scribbled my name down on the agent's interest list and phoned Robbie (in Alexandra) before I drove back to work. It's a realistic option, I told him.
We're going to take a builder through the property to see if it's structurally sound and then we might consider putting an offer in.
It's another deadline sale . . . but avoiding them is futile.
As I sat in traffic along Manchester St I knew I was getting the handle of this property lark. No more emotion, no getting attached, realism at the forefront, get on with it.
As a first home buyer, how do you manage to take the emotion out of decisions?