Surprise! I'm a single parent

but this week I don’t like beans
December 31, 2009, 10:30 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Had a vegan dinner party for 13 year olds last night. Tonight Miss 8 explains she’s semi-vege – but won’t eat beans, courgettes, or onion that is combined with stuff. I explained there was food in the fridge and she could make herself a salad, but I was cooking lamb chops and mint sauce. I think I was 18 when I became vegetarian and from memory I left home shortly afterwards. Miss 8 might not need to leave home because she has a knack for getting things to work her way.

For instance I am watching something on telly (rerun of Flight of the Choncords) and bing! Ella Enchanted comes on. She has programmed it to come on. The dinger on the cooker sound and she emerges ready to watch.

Other instance: Recently she asked how old you need to be to orgnise where you live. Then she was thumbing through the white pages for the justice department to ask them when I elusively said I dind’t know. Fortunately it was Saturday.

Happy new year :-)

selling for myself
December 8, 2009, 2:47 am
Filed under: economy

It was a dark and stormy recession.

It started with oil prices – they got higher and higher. It got to the stage where every night on my street cars were having their gas caps prised off to siphon the petrol.

Then it was food prices – everything has to travel and so everything cost more. A vegetarian samosa went from $3.20 to $3.60 to $4.29 and the size of the samosa got smaller.

And then the banks started folding and before you knew it the good old kiwi investment stable – bricks and morter – started to crumble in value. All arund the world the housing bubble was popping and bursting, listing and sinking. Property was worth less and there were less lenders around to give would be buyers a loan.

And that’s when I put my house on the market. The house that belonged to my ex-husband and I. The house we had subdivided off my back section. The house that was at the bottom of  my garden.

If I was going to get less for my house I reasoned I didn’t need a middle man. I thought – I’ll put my house on Trade Me first. Worst comes to the worst I’ll hand over to an agent but at least I will try first.

I put my house in Trade Me having worked my way up from once selling a couch. I looked through the property press and thought about the kind of pictures that would make me interested in coming to see it. I also thought I shouldn’t raise expectations so people wouldn’t be disappointed. Trade Me is forgiving – you can take down photos you don’t like and put up others. And people give feedback – they asked for more pictures of the bathroom and exact dimensions of the garage. I added more info.

Next hurdle – the open home. I do my best cleaning and tidying ten minutes before guests are about to arrive – so I opened up ten minutes early and got cleaning. Would anyone turn up to my party? Then I took the paper and read and acted really casual when some people cooee -ed up the stairs.

My first open home 3 people came round – and one was what I’d call a neighbourhood tourist. The next week 3 more people but one was a repeat. Tony.

Tony made me an offer. We haggled. We verbally agreed on a price. Then the bad news – he had to sell his place first. There was a person interested in Tony’s place but…. he had a place to sell too. Suddenly I saw the real estate world as a serious of housing sales dominoes waiting to fall if only someone who could buy could set them falling.

Tony wanted to sign a sales and purchase agreement that would give him six weeks to sell his place. He didn’t have a deposit. I said no.

More open homes followed. The next offer came from a woman. When I told her that her land extended beyond the fence line she said she would get her area fenced in immediately. Her offer came from her lawyer to mine. The offer was a lot lower than I wanted. When I rang to talk to her she told me all about her ex-husband. And how she felt. And her ex-husband and his legal secretary. And how she felt about it. I imagined her coming over to my house for more chats. I declined the offer.  

Sometimes people rang to say they were just in Wellington for a few days and could I show the house. I grew to understand they were people who were trying to see if I was desperate to sell. They saw how long the house had been on the market and figured they might get a low low price.

A single parent offers me a rent to buy opportunity which has nothing in it for me. More mysterious investors from Auckland want inconvenient viewing appointments.

A few months go by. I go to the open home. Tony shows up with coffee. We read the paper. He takes newbies around and talks about his vision for the place.

My ex-husband makes noises about contacting the low price lady. He says he thinks we should call a real estate agent.

Then all of a sudden two new buyers arrive. One is a couple who live around the corner. She is a historian and he is a furniture restorer. They have a small son. They are lovely. They have to sell their flat but – it’s cheaper than mine. I help them with their photos. I seriously think about

At the same time Darren the drummer and his girlfriend also make an offer. They just need her dad to come down from Napier to make sure its OK. And he’s putting in money. Their offer is the same as the delightful couple. But its never convenient for the father in law to come to wellington. I am now thinking not just of the money but the quality of the neighbours.

I sign with the historians. They have six weeks to sell. Darren the drummer emails me everyday reminding me he is a cash buyer. I say yes but you have to wait till the end of lambing season. Can’t he get a different building inspector? Six weeks elapse. It seems the historian and the restorer won’t get the house. Darren thinks it’s a shoe in but he still isn’t moving to get his inspection done. I wonder how the sound of the drums will carry.

The historian emails me every day. She is doing all she can. She gets a lower offer and she wonders if we can drop the price a little. I ring the drummer. He is still wanting his father in law to come. He keeps saying he is a cash buyer and alludes to a place in another suburb he might turn his attention to. I go back to the historian. I say howdy neighbour. We sign the papers at our respective lawyers. The whole transaction has cost me under $500 without an agent instead of several thousand with one. But I have gained something of much more value – lovely neighbours and some new friends.