In July of 2016 His Lordship was made redundant from a job that he loved. This led to lots of soul searching, financial decisions, and a move to the regions where we have both got good jobs.
Then followed the decision to sell our Auckland house, and then think about what to do with the funds that were left. This was the height of the Auckland property madness, and so we thought it would be a doddle. But prior to listing the house, we decided to do a few jobs on it to make it really saleable. You see, it’s a plaster house, and even though it was built in 1989, before the leaky issue took hold with untreated timber and shoddy design, we thought we would do what we could to mitigate any stigma. His Lordship also used his new found spare time to give it a lick of paint, making it as good as new.
With the builder telling us every Monday for about eight Mondays that he would be with us next Monday, it was November before the work was finished. This is also the time that the bottom fell out of the Auckland property market.
So the house stayed on the market through Christmas and New Year, and in January we headed down the line for work. With Son in the house, we also added a flatmate, and we come home on weekends as well. It’s working out well, but the house is still for sale. We had considered removing it from sale, but the agent wants a big wad of cash to pay for marketing if we do this. So it’s sitting on a “quiet listing”.
This week we had our first (very low) offer on the house, and this brought about more soul searching. Do we want to sell? Yes, there are other things we would like to do, and places we could go. But do we want to give it away? No. So for a few days we did seriously consider this offer. Then today we went and looked at some other places that we could get for the money that is left, and to be honest, we were shocked. You are either looking at an area that is really dodgy but where the house is quite flash, or a place so far out of Auckland that it’s really somewhere else. And that’s OK too, but definitely a different kind of lifestyle and future.
Our house is in a lovely part of Auckland that is a short walk to the ferry and then a short ferry trip to the city. We are surrounded by $2 million plus homes, and we feel safe and secure here. And the house is not a leaker. So now we are thinking that we might have to suck it up and repay the agent, and then consider eventually removing the stigma of the house by doing a reclad ourselves. After all, the house is coming up 30 years old, and nearing the end of what you’d expect to get our of a plaster house.
It does mean putting a few other dreams and plans on hold, but if we are going to line someone’s pockets, we would prefer them to be our own for a change. So for now, the weekly commute will continue, and the house will stay ours.
I would never call myself a religious person, but I may have a slight spiritual bent. And so I am not worried about keeping the house as I may have been in my younger and more impulsive days. I am seeing it as a part of the master plan that has an ending that I do not yet know. And for now the clear message I am getting is that the house stays with us, and we stay with it. For the next chapter, watch this space.