Sunday, February 19, 2017

We are now landowners!

I hope to do this regularly, so that I can look back and reminisce and laugh (hopefully) at the whole building process. I've also been thinking of doing a online journal again, and given that our land purchase is possibly the biggest purchase in our lives yet, this will take up most of my time. 
So, Jon and I have been looking for a home for ages. We started seriously looking a year ago and have attended numerous inspections, open days, etc. We were initially looking at purchasing an apartment, but with the market being so crazy, we were priced out. We attended an auction for a 2-bedroom unit which eventually sold for $913,000! We had only planned to pay up to $840,000 on that unit, which was already 10 years old at the time of auction. How crazy right? 

We also looked at Riverstone in September 2016, but after comments from friends, colleagues and stalking through forums, we decided against it. That would have been a great option if we were looking at investment I reckon. I honestly can't wait till we earn more money and have more liquidity because after looking at real estate in Sydney for the past 2 years, I feel like I'm an expert =X

So the auction in Meadowbank was serious attempt #1. Attempt #2 was a townhouse in Northmead. We had offered and were going to sign the contract, but the owner became a dick, asking us for more money than offered, and insisted on no-cooling off period. We refused to budge and walked away. On hindsight, it was a good move, because it was a 2-bedroom townhouse which we wanted to pay $850,000 on. 

Attempt #3 brings us to early 2017 - we decided to look at Kellyville again. When I was looking at Riverstone properties late last year, I had immediately excluded Kellyville because I thought the land was expensive (little did I know I would be one of these suckers paying a premium for Kellyville land). And mind you, back then, prices were around $400k + for 300+sqm. So we saw these properties along Hezlett Road which were a good deal - you had to buy both house and land together. We chose the property, put down a deposit of $3,500 and had our solicitor negotiate certain terms of the contract. When the vendor took a little too long to get back to us, I had my suspicions. True enough, a week and a half later, the vendor's agent called back to apologize, saying that the vendor had sold the lots without his knowledge. I could go into this whole spiel about how he being the exclusive agent could not have not known, but whatever. Looking back again, it was good that this deal failed because the land was only 290sqm (for $879,000), and the house design wasn't something I was a fan of. The garage was rear loaded and the garden would only have been 3x6m! 

This is where it gets crazy. We were looking at land lots on every day at this point, and not to mention we had already driven around the area and called the numbers of the billboards/posters but the land was either too expensive, too inaccessible (as I have to take a bus into the city) or too small. 

On 14 February, we contacted this agent about this plot of land, about 360sqm. Things moved pretty quickly after that. We went out to see the land, or rather, Jon did. I didn't see the land until after we had purchased! 

On 17 February, we made an offer. We had our solicitor quickly look through the contract, suggest amendments. Our solicitor was great and came back with amendments the same day. The agent was also keen to sell, because the land was anticipated to register in 2 weeks. My only gripe was the agent had initially told us that the owners were looking at $610,000 negotiable, and he was happy to go with our bid of $605,000 until the very absolute last moment (like one hour before signing), where he pushed our bid up to $607,000. I very nearly wanted to walk away, but Jon said that the land was fairly level and a good deal, so we sucked it up and paid $2,000 more. The agent is a nice guy looking to build long term relations with us, so I do hope something good comes out of this. I really do want to get into property investment in Sydney because it has so much potential, and since young, I've always liked home improvement shows where people flip houses or renovate houses - maybe something will come out of this experience? We shall see. 

On 17 February at around 9pm, we signed the contract. The agent then went to the owners to get their signature, and at 10pm, WE OWNED THE LAND!!! 

Well, actually not really, because we have 5 days cooling off and only paid 0.25%. This Friday 24 February, we will be paying the full 5% (instead of 10%), and keeping our fingers crossed that the land doesn't register so quickly lol. 

Time Line

17 February 2017: Signed land contract, paid 0.25% deposit
24 February 2017: Exchanged land contract, paid 5% deposit