Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Yah Boo Sucks

Well, as they say, there is many a slip between cup and lip; and after my bragging about how easy it is to buy a house here in NZ, the slips have occurred. So, as I said above: yah boo sucks.

In the second to last post I was excited about the villa we had an offer accepted on in a retirement village up in Waikanae. All was going fine - I had the furniture positioned, the pictures in place, the cupboards filled, I knew what plants I was taking cuttings of for the garden – all in my forward planning, you understand. Then David told me that our lawyer had suggested he google the owner of the village. Long story short (for a change …) David did so, plus checked the Companies Register and some accounts data, to find that the owner has a checkered history with over 60 companies mainly with him as the sole director, and over 50 of those struck off, a few of which had had liquidation proceedings. That all felt too dodgy for us to be buying into one of his business ventures, so we pulled out.

Off we went looking for a place to buy outright – we are cash buyers essentially, once settlement on Cherswud takes place next Friday. There’s a fair amount of places for sale in Waikanae, and a number of really nice and suitable homes in our price range. The issue we are finding is that real estate agents, after a slow year on the Kapiti Coast last year, have discovered that they can induce a buying frenzy by talking up the desirability of living up there - given the current building of the new expressway which will shorten the travelling time between the coast and Wellington. In order to further inflate the buying frenzy, the agents are now employing an offer process which is actually a tender process. Effectively it’s a multi offer situation, called, of all things, a deadline treaty. Not sure who dreamed that up.

So the process is that anyone who wants to offer on a place puts in their offer (price, conditions) by the deadline, and then the vendor gets to see all offers at the same time. (Sounds extraordinarily like a tender to me …) Apparently, the offers are binding for 5 days from the deadline, so if you want to withdraw your offer you have to do so before the deadline, or you could be committed to buying a house you’ve changed your mind about!

The difficulty for people like David and me is that we don’t deal well with uncertainty or waiting. So it is a right pain having to offer with other people (or not – the agents sure as sh1t won’t reveal if there are no other keen purchasers or what their thinking is re price) and then we have to wait to see if our offer is successful. In the meantime, do we keep looking or do we pin our hopes on one place and, if unsuccessful, repeat in a serially monogamous fashion? AAARRRGGGHHH!!!

We are currently doing the due diligence on a nice place and will put in an offer just before the last day. In the meantime, we are briefing the agents that we do not want to view any other places using the deadline treaty method. We are cash buyers and can pay immediately the due diligence is done, but a multi offer situation sucks for us. (We have also put the word out with a number of people that if they know of anyone thinking of selling to let us know BEFORE they get to an agent.)

Interestingly, I gather from our lovely friend Melita, that the buying situation in Auckland is even worse. If someone sees a place they like and decides to put in an offer, the agent will then set up an auction with a few days’ notice. Then the offerer has to participate in an auction situation. If an auction has already been scheduled and the property is advertised as an auction unless sold prior, the offerer steps into the same trap, the original auction date is brought forward, and there they are competing – no wonder property prices in Auckland are sky rocketing. Melita said that a place she was interested in before she got her house had an offer of $840k which the vendors were happy with, the agent brought forward the auction and the selling price ended up as $1.3m. Another AAARRRGGGHHH!!!

Fortunately that hasn’t yet caught on in the Wellington area.

Still, once we get an offer accepted, the process is the same as I described in a previous post – the accepted offer is the contract and is binding and the deposit paid. So the struggle for us is the uncertainty of whether our offer is acceptable as there’s no feedback until the deadline has passed, and the delay in finding that out. I am sure we are too old to be part of the instant gratification generation, but somehow it’s a gene we both have!

Fortunately we are not without places to stay – we have some lovely kind friends. When we leave here on the 14th, we will be going to stay at Bruce and Gary’s house at Waikanae Beach. Then around early December, we will move up to Otaki Beach to house sit for Derek and Ted who will be on a northern hemisphere adventure.

Meanwhile the packing moves on apace. Joe has done a sterling job of organising the garage with sections for things to go into storage, things to go to various charities. He has also packed up lots of kitchen stuff, all of the laundry, while I have packed my clothing and shoes (into one large tea-chest – not bad, eh?) a lot of china, cups and saucer sets (I have sold about 10 but that leaves about 60), the cow parade, platters, bowls, ramekins, chickens – in other words, as my friend Lesley would describe it: tat. I protest that it is high class and some of it is high price, but she declares it tat regardless. She is a very hard woman. There is more than one tea-chest of it, by the way …

Storage is organised, movers are organised, I have set out surplus books in boxes for the guests at our At Home this Sunday to choose from and take away. Joe and I know what we are cooking as finger food for the party – pulled pork served with bread rolls.

I have been in touch with the new owner and she is coming to meet us tomorrow evening – that is lovely. It’ll be good to meet the person who is taking over the stewardship of this lovely house – it has a history, and for us there is a sense that, like Maori and other indigenous people feel about the land, the house has owned us rather than the other way around, and our job has been to preserve and care for it and pass it forward.

OK, now time for sleep. Another big day of packing tomorrow and clearing so Sandra sees the house in a reasonably preserved and cared for state, instead of the mass of boxes, bubble wrap, and books currently littering most rooms.


Chad Nelson said...

It's a trial and error thing. At least you are really pulling an effort to set yourselves up for the future. Retirement homes are important and the least that one can do for themselves upon reaching their golden years. I just hope it isn't a strain in the budget, and that you get all the financial support that you need for that venture. All the best!

Chad Nelson @ Iron Point Mortgage

Marilyn McDonald said...

Hi Chad, We are cash buyers, so it's a question of time, not finance. We just need to learn some patience really ... Thanks for the good wishes. Cheers, M

Catherine VK4GH said...

Sounds like real estate agents are less regulated than they are here in Aus. Free market they call it. They are pushing for more de-regulation here, which sounds like it can only be good for the agents and vendors, and bad for the purchasers and first home buyers.

Marilyn McDonald said...

Hi Catherine, There's quite a lot of regulation here, but I think they are always on the look out for ways to boost their businesses. Of course, in places here the market is crazy, and very hard for buyers to get a place at a reasonable price. Showing my age, I remember back in the 70s and 80s when interest rates were in double digits, people were still buying. I think it was panic that if they didn't things would get worse and they'd never be able to buy. At least that isn't the case now re interest rates. We will find a place, we just have to be more patient which is not our natural state ...
Cheers, Marilyn