They made us wait for it.Oh boy did they make us wait for it. I’ll be honest I thought it was never going to happen but after rejections here, probing there, paperwork,paperwork and more bloody paperwork, it finally happened.That magic phone call we were waiting for. The one that said “Yes, we are prepared to lend you a shitload of money so you can get yourself into a massive amount of debt just so you can point to that heap of bricks over there and say, see that,that’s our house!”
That’s right friends, minis and Mum (and Papa!) are hopefully about to get our feet on that first rung of the property ladder. One of our mortgage consultants (yes we’re mortgage whores and I’m not even one bit sorry-) called us with the good news on Tuesday, having left an incredibly frustrating voicemail on my phone the evening before, stating that she had a decision for me. She had of course rang at 4.30 when I was still at work and the Frenchman was at a Speech and Language appointment with Mini. Mobile phones are not allowed at my work so I didn’t see the missed call until I finished at 5, I hurriedly punched her number into my phone but of course she had left for the evening, leaving me with butterflies in my stomach all night long. I replayed the message over and over again, trying to decipher if it was going to be a positive or negative decision.
So when she finally called back about lunchtime the next day, after three attempts by the two of us to contact her, I had more or less convinced myself that it would be bad news. Which was confirmed by the Frenchman entering the kitchen as I was battling to feed Mini Mini-she’s getting as bad as her sister for eating, this was not how it was supposed to go!-and proclaiming that it was bad news. And then he paused for effect, and I realised he was doing his fake bad news face, where he tries to lie but you can see the tiniest trace of a smile tugging at his lips and there’s a mischievous glint in his eyes. Oh it was “bad news” because they weren’t offering us the amount the mortgage consultant said she could get us, but the amount they were offering us is enough for us!
So this is where the fun starts as we try to decide where to put down some roots. Not in the area of Galway where we are currently living-it’s a real concrete sprawl-I go out for a walk with the girls, and twenty minutes later, we’re still surrounded by houses. We would love to be close to the city centre but Galway has a chronic shortage of houses that aren’t complete and utter shitholes. If I was the owner, I would be embarrassed by the cut of some the homes we’ve seen for sale. But, once again, it’s a seller’s market and people are clambering over themselves trying to get a sale agreed before
a) prices get back to ker-azy Celtic Tiger levels.
b)this ridiculous 20% deposit requirement commences-there have been reports that this new rule will be axed but that’s still unclear.
So we’ve been looking further afield, which means the prospect of a commute for the first time for both of us since we lived in Melbourne seven years ago. We have it so easy at the moment-both of us live within five minutes drive of our where we work. The places we’ve been looking at have some amazing houses-like some with humongous conservatories, beautiful sun rooms, decking, and loads of space both indoors and out. Some even have a music system that pipes the music through out the house. Now that’s pure posh as we’d say in Limerick! These are all places we could comfortably afford on a mortgage that would be less than what we’re paying right now in rent. But that means not living in Galway city. In some instances it means not even living in Galway county with some of the houses located in Mayo. Now there’s nothing wrong with Mayo, even though I know Galway will people disagree!It’s just when I used to day dream about which counties in Ireland I’d love to buy a house in, let’s just say none of them started with M and ended with O. I also didn’t envisage a big commute-now it’s only twenty-twenty five minutes outside of the city, but that’s without much traffic. And Galway traffic sucks major balls. Right now Dublin commuters are shaking their heads wondering what the big deal is but incorporating a commute into an already hectic schedule is not a decision I take lightly.
So there’s that issue to contemplate. The second one is how to get the right property at the right price. This is how I envisage our negotiations will go on, oh let’s just say a property that is currently on the market for €215,000.
Me: “Hello, I’d like to make an offer on number blah blah, main street, blah blah.”
Estate Agent: “Of how much?”
Estate Agent: ” I can pass that on to the vendor, but I don’t think it will be accepted.”
Me: (panicking) “Um, ok, then how about €220,000??”
That would be me. Utterly useless at negotiating/haggling/bargaining. So it’s going to have to be the Frenchman who irons out all the details and actually speaks to the grown ups. Cos I’d feck it right up. I even felt a bit panicky yesterday when I rang some estate agents in an attempt to organise some viewings only to be told that most of the properties already had deposits down on them. We only got to see one house today and I felt like putting an offer on it there and then. In fact if it wasn’t for Mini Mini exercising her rather well-developed vocal chords due to the rapid approach of lunch time, causing us to beat a hasty retreat from the over eager estate agent, there may well have been an exchange that would have gone a little something like this-
Me: “This house is amazing!I love it!”
The Frenchman: “It is nice, but what about that dampness in the second bedroom and the main bathroom?”
Me: “Screw it-that can be fixed, yeah, totally fixed,let’s put an offer in!”
The Frenchman:” But it’s out of our price range.”
Me: “We can make it work!!!!”
It’s a scenario I can see being repeated the more houses we go to and ending with him throwing me over his shoulder and dragging me away from the house, before I sign over everything, including my children and my soul, just to get this
shithole house. And yes, in hindsight this morning’s house did have dampness, and a cracked chimney, and a slightly dodgy smell emanating from the downstairs toilet, and the estate didn’t look the friendliest. All of these things pale in comparison to the awesome news that we have real, honest to God, mortgage approval. In truth, I think it’s driven me a tad crazy-I can’t pass a For Sale sign without some kind of synapse firing in my brain, telling me I could buy that. I can only compare it to the feeling I got when passing off licences after I turned 18. That thrill of oh, I can actually buy this stuff( I had the crappiest of fake IDs and a very baby face which I am sad to say left me many moons ago) has been mirrored and magnified at the prospect of becoming an actual home owner. I’ve become the property seeking equivalent of the kid in the sweet shop,only this kid is suffering from low blood sugar so I’m liable to make all kinds of ill advised decisions.
Only one man can save me now. Phil Spencer from Location, Location, Location. He’ll do everything for us the right way-find the house, make sure there’s no hidden surprises, and crucially, he’ll be able to get the best deal for us. Anyone got his number?