When we bought the house in Carrara, Remy, my partner, turned grey. It was a rainy night and we had come for our second viewing. The first one had been in the rain too and a little niggle at the back my mind worried me. Was the rain a warning of things to come? When it comes to houses I definitely believe in signs.
We had missed out on a house we both really wanted and the agent had pushed us to see the house down the street. It was going on the market and the owners were desperate to sell. Believe me when I tell you this, when I walked into the house in Carrara there was n.o.t.h.i.n.g we liked about it. We stuck around only long enough not to appear rude and left depressed.
The agent persisted. Would we like another look? We were emphatic. Absolutely not. The house did not speak to us at all. It’s was a horrible, 1980’s Australian brown brick job that had not been looked after. Add to that a house over crammed with furniture and toys, dim lighting, low ceilings and the smell of a cheap candle so as to make the house appear homely.
NO. NO. NO. We did not want to see it again.
A few days later my mortgage broker phoned to say that if we didn’t buy something soon we may be re-assessed for finance. As we were both self-employed we knew that would be a risky business. The agent co-incidentally called to push us on another viewing of the house. Under pressure to buy, we agreed to see the house one more time. Propitiously it rained.
The house was as pokey and horrible as we remembered. The market was rising alarmingly and we only had three weeks to put in a contract. The agent sat us down at the table and we had a long discussion. She told us that if it went to home open it would sell and I didn’t doubt it. At 900sqm it was a big block. While we were sitting there a strange thing happened. The house spoke to me.
I’ve always bought and sold houses on gut feel. While Remy was turning grey at the prospect of a mortgage on a house he loathed, I received a good feeling. I took him aside and said “you know, there is nothing I like about this shitty little house but I have the strangest good feeling. I think we should put in an offer.” In hushed tones we agree on a price well below asking and stuck to it. The agent tried to talk us up as they usually do but we didn’t budge. I still believe we offered too much and I was not prepared to offer one more cent.
Two hours later our offer was accepted and the type of house I would never have considered buying became ours. The question now became, how were we going to transform it? I had done a few renovations on character homes but this squat little 1980s job was well outside my comfort zone.