What follows is a short and succinct (well…it does have dot points) description of ‘My Life in House-Buying Hell’. I have posted it here as I wish to have it available for reference if I am ever so stupid as to even dwell on buying another house….
- M finds house on internet and gets his sister to inspect it. The news is good.
- B makes offer on house that night.
- Next morning: offer accepted.
- All trundles along, deal is about to go through.
- Bank calls B and informs her that the property has been valued. At $40k under the asking price.
- As bank will only lend 90% of the valued amount….
- Deal falls through. B organises a second valuation, this time through a company with a clue.
- It can’t be done quick enough. Someone else buys the house.
- B’s stress rash disappears as all is resolved. She informs her boss that she may not be leaving at the end of the month.
- M discovers a new term: gazumping. B & M decide to go ahead with second valuation and gazump if it comes through at a decent price.
- B calls agent with intent to scope out gazumpability. Agent says he’s been trying to make contact. House is back on the market, the deal with the buyers has fallen through.
- B and M dance gleefully. The new valuation comes in $23.5k over the last one. It’s good, but not good enough.
- Sadness reigns.
- B’s father steps in to cover the shortfall, as B prostrates herself promising to take out a personal loan to pay him back after settlement date.
- The useless Queensland solicitors don’t know what an Express Post envelope is and it takes a week for the contracts to make it to Melbourne.
- This wouldn’t matter, but it means that there is only four days for the bank to get the finance sorted, which in ordinary circumstances would be fine…but….
- With the finance approval needed by Friday, the bank calls on Tuesday and
blithely informs B that because the house needs fixing up they are going to deduct the amount it’s going to take to fix it up from the loan.
‘How much will that be?’
‘You’ll need at least another ten grand and we need a building inspection and quotes for all the work that the building inspector recommends needs to be done.’
‘And,’ the bank continues, unmoved, ‘you will need to get all the work done, the tradespeople will then invoice you, you will pass the invoices to us and we will pay the tradespeople.’
‘But…we were going to do all the work on the house. Can’t I quote on how much it will cost me to do the work?’
‘So whoever I get the quotes from (over the next ten hours) has to do the work?’
- B falls in heap and cannot be revived. M puts on superhero cape and launches himself into the stratosphere while B curls into a ball railing against fascist lending institutions.
- M gets a sympathetic building inspector, an awesome electrician and lots of useful information from the council. Then he masquerades as a Hervey Bay based handyman and quotes on doing all the work so we can get money back on all the labour costs.
- Meanwhile, B embarks on the most difficult part of the campaign: convincing her mother to sign a statutory declaration that she will ‘give’ B $5000 as a non-repayable gift. (B initially tries for $10k but was swiftly rebuffed). B prostrates herself once again and explains in as many different languages as she can master that she doesn’t actually need the cash as such, just the statutory declaration. She explains seventeen more times that she can come up with the money herself, all she needs is the statutory declaration. B’s mother plays with her like a cat does with a mouse. B keeps stout composure as she drags her mother to the police station, where a statutory declaration is signed and sorted. B’s mother says once again;
‘If you don’t have the money yourself to buy the house, you shouldn’t be buying it.’
B grits teeth, but can’t help mentioning that the fact that the government is doling out $7000 grants to first home owners is something of an incentive. B’s mother leaves. B resumes foetal position, clutching cherished bit of paper.
- The next morning (Thursday – the day before B has to give up house or lose deposit and also, incidentally, the last day of her 29th year) B goes to bank and throws all documents, plus a thoughtfully worded begging letter, at the long suffering Victoria. B feels instant relief – there is nothing more that can be done.
- Friday morning, Victoria calls. The loan can only be ‘conditionally approved’ as B (with the best of intentions) has written in her begging letter of her plan to pull down the hugely unsightly carport.
‘Oh no,’ says the bank. ‘This will detract from the value of the property – you must get the property revalued minus the value of the carport.’
B thinks quickly, and suggests that she probably won’t pull down the carport anymore.
‘Too late!’ cries the bank. ‘Go and get it revalued!’
- With four hours to go, B chews off her own arm and calls the valuers. The valuers are at an all day conference and cannot be contacted. She convinces the person who answers the phone to giver her the mobile number of the valuer who is at the conference, and also to look up the file and find out exactly how much the carport is worth. It comes to a huge $1659 (it is impossible to fathom where the $9 comes from, but B is beyond any attempt at fathoming). B calls Victoria and says she can cover the $1659.
‘That’s nice,’ says Victoria, ‘but the lending department want the valuer to look at the building report and then deliver a quote in writing as to whether knocking down the carport will decrease the overall valuation.’
B shrieks; ‘This is IMPOSSIBLE and I will lose my deposit if you don’t approve this loan in the next two hours!’
- Victoria = Sympathetic / Lending Department = Unmoved
- B consults the heavens, and her father, and decides to trust in the gods. She will continue on with the deal, thus risking the deposit on the assumption that the house cannot drop in value more than the famous $1659. She tells Victoria. Victoria says OK.
- It is a hollow victory.
- Suddenly, B gets phone call from lender who is calling on her mobile from the valuation conference. She tells B that she got the message but was unable to understand it due to B’s extremely agitated delivery. B breathes deeply. B tells the valuer of plight. The valuer (the most extraordinary of women) snorts derisively.
‘Who’s your lender?’
‘Resi,’ squeaks B.
‘Completely pedantic,’ snaps Wonder Woman. ‘Give me their phone number and a contact name.’
- B gets call from Victoria.
‘The valuer has called and said that she won’t be changing the valuation of the property if the carport is removed – all is well. Your loan is approved!!!’
- B passes out. B is awakened by the phone. It’s Victoria who instructs her to go and have several drinks. B acquiesces. As B is about to hang up, Victoria enquires as to whether B has contacted the solicitors to tell them to go ahead with the deal? B’s life flashes before her eyes. She hangs up on Victoria and stabs the solicitors number into the phone. As she does this, she checks her email and finds an email from said solicitor who wants to know whether the deal is going ahead.
- B makes contact with solicitor and instructs ‘ALL SYSTEMS ARE GO!’
- B collapses only one more time before heading off to her thirtieth birthday party, where she drinks in moderation, with the knowledge that if she does not, she will wipe herself out until Settlement Day.
- The End (so far).