A House Hunting We Will Go…

We just found out last week that our pre-approved loan application had gone through. According to our mortgage broker, we could now officially start looking for houses to call our own. With the pre-approved loan, at least we know how much the bank is willing to lend us in the likely event that we have chosen a new home.

With that said, we didn’t have much of a rest this past weekend because we had to go drive around Melbourne’s southeastern suburbs to go to pre-scheduled house inspections. There wasn’t a house inspection earlier than 11:30 AM for the suburbs we were going to visit so we decided to check out a house auction at 11 AM before we start inspecting houses.

We selected a house in the suburb of Highett that was listed as being worth over $390,000. Based on the photos of the house exterior and interior posted on Realestate.com.au, the house would be something Raquel and I fancied if we were at all interested in buying a house through an auction rather than through a private sale.

We’ve seen the auction process on TV a few times (TV shows about real estate is quite popular in Australia it seems) but we’ve never seen one before then. We just wanted to have the opportunity to see an auction first hand and see for ourselves if it’s something we might be willing to go through to get a house we wanted.

The auctioneer was already detailing the rules of auctioning when we got to the property. There were already some twenty-odd people there waiting for the auction proper to begin. We did notice however that the house on auction was actually one of two houses sharing a lot. The house on auction was the house at the back and has to share a driveway with the house in front.

It was certainly a weird setup for us because we haven’t encountered such a property before. I could understand if the front and back houses were both for sale to one owner but to have the two houses belonging to two different unrelated owners? Who owns the land? What if the front house owner got into an argument with the one living at the back and decided to block the driveway indefinitely?

So, even though we were too late for the final house inspection of the property, we pretty much decided that this wasn’t a kind of home we’d be bidding for. After that, we were very curious to see how much such a property will buy for at the end of the bidding. And as it turned out, there wasn’t much of a bidding.

The auctioneer started by asking for an opening bid in what he claimed to be a very lovely home in a very sought after location (it was fairly close to the shops and public transportation, after all). There was silence for half a minute when an Asian couple opened with a bid of $370,000. And that was it.

No matter how hard the auctioneer tried to coax the people there to raise the bid by $10,000, nobody did. I guess, like us, the people there didn’t think the house was worth more than 370k (if that). The auctioneer went inside the house to consult with the sellers on how to proceed. The only bidder was granted a first right of refusal. Whatever that meant. We didn’t stay to find out. All we know now is that the property was eventually sold, according to their Internet listing.

We had to leave the auction to be in time with our first house inspection of the day in Aspendale, a bayside suburb south of Melbourne. Although we didn’t think much of the first house, we did love the coastal feel of the neighbourhood. Not to mention the fact that most properties there are near the train stations along the Frankston train line.

We spent the rest of the afternoon driving back and forth between the northern and southern suburbs looking at various houses. Most of them were not our type of household. However, it wasn’t a completely fruitless undertaking. We did find three houses to our liking — modern looking, well maintained and located in a peaceful area. The only problem with these houses was that the land area wasn’t that big. Also, we still couldn’t say that these houses were what we could call our “dream homes”.

There is always next week. And the week after that. And so forth. But we only have three months. At that time, our pre-approved loan expires and we would need to re-apply for it again. So, although we are not yet in too much of a rush to buy a home, we certainly couldn’t risk just sitting around twiddling our thumbs. Hopefully, we could find our dream home next week.

Published in: on August 29, 2005 at 9:43 pm  Comments (4)  

4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. No. It just meant that the current highest (and only) bid didn’t reach the reserve price. Because if it did, then the couple immediately wins the house. That’s what I know, at least.

  2. Well, you don’t suppose that the first right of refusal is a racial thing? I mean seeing an Asian couple the only ones who bid for the house. 😉

  3. Yeah. I can see the discomfort in his face. :))

  4. Ha-ha-ha-ha! An auctioneer’s nightmare. No one wants to bid.

    And I can understand why. I’ve only seen a set up like that once, and the house in front belonged to the parents of the family in back.

    I sure hope the Asian couple know what they’re doing.

    Hope you find your deam home soon.

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