March 31, 2010

When Half A Million Dollars Is Chicken Feed

20100331 Couple in House Outline

Ask anyone who lives in Melbourne how buying property there is like (in these times anyway), and I'll bet you anything their response would be very similar to mine. Bleak, disheartening and downright frustrating.

Tim and I have been looking for a place of our own for two years now. And since we are still renting and living with a housemate, you can guess that prospects are terribly bleak. It doesn't help either with the pressure we get from our parents about finding a place.

"Quickly go buy a house/unit/apartment, etc or else we will not come visit you!"

When I hear that one time too often, I believe I cannot be blamed for thinking "oh thank God, don't come".

The problem is, buying property here just isn't like buying property in Malaysia. The process is different, and there's a hell lot more red tape. You want things to move smoother and quicker in Malaysia? Doesn't hurt to grease the palm of those involved. No one would bat an eyelash. Over here, it's a different story altogether. Our families seemed to think that as long as we have the money, we can buy a place. If only it was that simple.

I'm not going to bore you with the process of buying property here. Look it up if you like. The Age reports daily on how volatile the market is, how foreign investors are making life difficult for first home buyers, unscrupulous real estate agents underquoting property prices (the bastards), all that jazz.

We did find a place we liked (well, I liked) about half a year ago. I put a lot of time and energy into the process, ringing up solicitors, building and pest inspectors, a lot of communication with the real estate agent, only to find that in the end, we just couldn't outbid another interested buyer. All that hope into getting that place was dashed in an instant. That's the problem with getting a place, I guess. Never have high hopes that you'll get the place, because someone else (like a FOREIGN investor. I say it like it's a dirty word because it is) will most likely swipe the property.

My close mates will know of the other reason we really want to move out. Let's just say that after two years of living with a housemate, I'm done. I've had it up to my eyeballs. It was a big mistake not moving out and renting on our own when we got married, and the last couple of years haven't been exactly smooth sailing, living condition-wise.

At the time of writing, we are currently in the process of putting an offer for a tiny unit. I want to say that I don't have high hopes for this one, but you know I'm lying. I'm already picturing our freakin' furniture in the place, for pete's sake. Tim has a good feeling about this one. I'm just trying not to get there yet.

So keep your fingers, toes, whatever's crossable crossed for us. For our sanity, at the very least.

March 16, 2010

All Systems Down

20100315 Ill

Tim and I have been struck by some sort of viral bug. We've got the body aches, disgusting snot, sore throats, the works. I think I got hit first and then passed it on to him (or the other way round; who knows when we sleep in the same room?). Suffice to say, with us being in the same room, it's now a cesspool of germs.

It's times like this that I wish I was back in Malaysia. Yes, I was a "siu cheh" (little miss) back home, I don't deny it. At least I wouldn't have to worry about food. Having to tend to a sick person when you're sick too isn't a piece of cake. And no, I'm not even going to think about what it's going to be like when kids come into the picture.

So right now, I'll just go back to my hot cuppa. Honey, lemon and hot water, that should, at least, soothe a fiery throat. I hope.