Sweet November

I have been away from my blogging for a while but I do have legitimate reasons for it. Other than the usual galavanting from continent to continent, November has been keeping me especially busy with a new activity; it's called 'buying a house'.

Christoph and I bought a house. In Perth. In Australia. The running gag is that we bought it online; some of you may be horrified by the very thought of that, well I am too when I think about it but the truth is that we did indeed buy it online. However, to our merit, the house is in Perth where I have family members who were more than happy to help us with our property enquiries. One of the perks of having a big Asian family is that everyone is there to help each other :o)

The story began with Christoph and I brainstorming about where we could buy property that would be somewhat safe and away from all that is happening in the world. We ruled out America for obvious reasons, Asia is difficult as you mostly need to be a local to buy, Singapore had priced itself out of our budget and South Africa was too unstable with Nelson Mandela gone. I love New Zealand but it's really just too far away. It became an interesting exercise to go through; listing countries you like alongside the reasons why you can't live there.

We ended up with Australia, land of the free. Due to Sydney being currently unaffordable and Melbourne, well the climate isn't ideal, we concluded with Perth, my hometown. I still have a good network of family and friends there, I know the city and as a citizen, I am allowed to buy an old house (non-citizens are only permitted to buy newly-built).

I informed my eldest brother, KL, of our plan and started looking at real estate websites, this was back in September. A couple of weeks later, on a Monday morning I spotted a small house that looked like it would work; good location, recently renovated and most importantly, within our budget. I called the property agent. Called my brother. They met that afternoon. KL looked at the house. He liked what he saw and lo-and-behold, we put in an offer.

What would be a normal procedure for most; offer accepted, pay deposit, put house through a pre-purchase inspection, get loan approval, sign papers, return papers etc, turned into one heck of a circus act for us. Most of the time, our nomadic lifestyle works well but this was the one occasion where it gave us logistical nightmares.

Our offer was accepted while Christoph and I were in Bangkok, the day before he was going back to Shanghai (and then to Germany and then two weeks through Asia) and me onto Chiang Mai (then more of Thailand and then to Myanmar). In order to verify our identities and sign papers, we both needed to show up at an Australian Embassy or Consulate with our original ID and papers (ones that no sane person carries around with them, especially when on holidays!).

We scrambled to transfer the deposit, as we both did not bring our banking security tokens with us on holidays either, but managed it with kind-hearted family help :o) The key thing was that we had to keep everything rolling and co-ordinated so that when we met again, all the paperwork would be ready for us to sign at the consulate in Shanghai. The day of the offer acceptance was the day before Christoph and I were going to be apart for almost a month. We had deadlines to meet or else the sale would not go through, hence we were working within a very tight time frame.

We had a fair few nail-biting moments and a frustrated second visit to the consulate before we received finance approval and settlement eventuated on Nov 11. Pretty much two months post-offer acceptance but they were the two months during which we both had the maddest travel itineraries of the year.

I landed in Perth on Nov 8 and on the next day, saw the house for the first time (I must say that it is a pretty house). Three days later our house settled and I had the keys in my hand. We had a home open within the week and now we have tenants moving in on Dec 2. Perth mission accomplished!

It's one of those things now. We sit back and ask ourselves, "Did we really just buy a house?" and soon after exclaim, "Crap! Not only did we buy a house, we're also going to be landlords!".