Living ‘The Life’

Buying a house isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. I can tell you this from experience. It’s a huge commitment, and one that’s difficult to make given the current state of things, which might be politely described as temperamental. Aside from the repayments, there’s a whole slew of ongoing costs, like council rates, water rates (like, what even is that?) and compulsory insurance. Then there’s an endless list of maintenance costs – termite inspections, carbon monoxide testing, waking up one morning and realise you need to buy a ladder.

This wouldn’t be quite so challenging if it weren’t for the fact that, if your social circle is anything like mine, none of your friends will get it. You won’t get any sympathy for your predicament, because you’re in the supposedly privileged position of owning property. You will now be seen as ‘the well-off one’, and be expected to buy rounds of drinks for the gang, even though your living costs are actually higher than they were before you invested in property. You can’t talk to anyone about it – even to your few property owning peers, who are just like, “I told you so.”

But, you know, it’s all good. At the end of the day, I don’t have buyer’s remorse – I’m just having a bit of a lifestyle adjustment. That said, there are a couple of things I’d do differently, now that I’m out the other side of the buying process. One is recruiting the services of a buyers’ advocate. Melbourne has a vast property market that can be difficult to navigate, and I believe that real estate agents take advantage of this to saddle places with a higher price tag than they’re actually worth. Getting someone on my side to do the haggling probably would have had a worthwhile return on investment. But hey, you live and learn.

The other thing I’d do differently is not put down a deposit before my mortgage had been approved. It all worked out, but was it worth the stress? Who can say?