It feels good to be right for once (though it was mostly a fluke)
Well, I’d like to think it was my open letter to old featherbrain that finally knocked some sense into him, because he wasn’t in the tree this morning. It wasn’t my letter that removed him from his usual perch, of course – it was probably the fact that even he has the sense to steer clear of trees when there’s an epic lightning storm going on.
Unfortunate, then, that I was instead awoken by an absolute din in the room adjacent to me when a man came round the house at about 8am to install a washing machine. Which broke within the first cycle anyway.
The workers of fate are clearly out in full force to ensure I stay in a state of perpetual and unnecessary tiredness. And to make sure we have no washing machine.
The storm was awesome to watch, and I tried to get some footage of the lightning flashes, but it’s probably only worth extracting a couple of seconds from each 3-minute video and that’s roughly more effort than I can be bothered to go to. Oddly enough, the lightning storm, like the few previous that we’ve had here, came with absolutely zero rain. Even the bad weather is dry over here. (Speaking of which, I’m currently bathing in a pool of my own rancid sweat. It’s nearly 10 o’clock in the evening, and I have the electric fan on and the window open. Why must it be this hot.)
As you may be aware, we have a nice house now. We’re paying a fairly low sum of money to stay in a rather spacious bungalow – a deal that our previous situation (living in a tiny cabin in a trailer park for almost twice the weekly rate) just couldn’t compare to in any shape or form.
But we’re still not done with house-hunting.
(Well, we weren’t until today, it seems.)
My parents, after seeing the demand for rented properties in some of the other suburbs we’d been to, decided (pretty early on into the process) that they would rent a house to live in, and then buy a second house and rent that one out, with a view to establishing the groundwork for a vast property empire that would reach all across Western Australia.
All the properties we’d seen were quite cheap considering their colossal size and immaculate living conditions (when you compare them to the UK’s equivalent properties, that is really the only way you can describe them) – although since we’d made such a loss on our previous house and sold it for a comparatively paltry sum, it was going to take virtually all the money we owned in the world to buy just one property.
I think it was the moment I heard this fact, that the PROBABLY-A-BAD-IDEA ALARM went off in my head. (Yes, I have one of those. It seems to be an in-built and oddly prophetic feeling of uneasiness that gets triggered every now and then – and so far it’s proven effective.)
Only today did I voice my doubts to my mum, while on another one of our property-viewing outings. We were on a stroll around the property’s suburb’s shopping centre, and I basically said that I didn’t want to throw a spanner in the works or anything, but I was really not keen on blowing everything we had in our UK bank accounts on what was essentially a giant empty box.
There were a number of reasons for this:
- We’re currently paying $400 a week to live in a lovely rented property of our own. That’s about in the middle, insofar as how much the rest of the rented properties we’ve seen are going for. We won’t be making much of a financial gain on top of our own rental payments – about $50 a week, or maybe $100 if we were very lucky.
- As already mentioned, buying the property would suck up all of our wealth (including everything we have overseas in the UK accounts) and essentially bleed us completely bone-dry, therefore placing more pressure on all of us to go out and get work, or start selling tons of the stuff we owned to avoid bankruptcy.
- We’d have to maintain the property between tenancies – that would mean more money out of our pockets. And if our clients made a royal mess of things then that would mean quite a bit of money. And also lots of manual labour.
- Surely it would make much more sense to keep what we’ve got and spend that on living the dream out here in Oz. I would keep writing music, Ben would keep up his animating, Dad could put together that album of his (yes Dad, the album), and we could all pitch in on writing that musical we’ve had on hold for about five years, as a family project.
- Frankly, I was sick of house-hunting, and I could plainly see that my parents were getting exasperated about the process, too. It confused me because we’d seen a few that had all taken our fancy in different ways and it was virtually impossible to choose. All the while we debated and deliberated as to which one to place an offer for… other people were placing offers.
I pitched this all to my mum and I think she forwarded my query to my dad, who did a quick number crunch in a spreadsheet, and concluded that I might actually have been right. The amount of money we would receive on an annual basis from all of our UK money being deposited in an Australian savings account (earning 5.5% interest a year – compared to a pitiful .5% in the UK) was just in excess of the amount we’d earn from having tenants paying us rent in a second property all the year through. The exchange rate isn’t great at the moment – in fact it seems to be spiralling down, so I think my Dad is going to make it a priority to change our GBP into AUD as soon as possible.
Now, with all of these reasons listed, it probably looks as though my parents didn’t think the whole thing through enough. They did, they really did – at the time of its conception, the idea seemed like the only possible way to avoid total financial disaster. But circumstances which were not in our favour continued to arise as we searched for more and more houses, and it was just getting hard to contend with the stress of the process and the indecision that came along with it.
For the time being, it looks like we’re not going to be buying a second property after all. And I’m very glad we’re not.
I hate cleaning houses.