When Darrin was driving city buses, he always dreaded driving through certain areas. One of those areas was Davoren Park, about 15 minutes north of where we live now. A lot of the houses there are semi-detached/duplexes, built by the South Australia Housing Trust in the 1960s for low income families.
In theory, it's a good idea. However, in practice, it ends up attracting people who not just can't work, but won't work. People who live on government payments, and have more babies so they get more money. People who don't see a way out of the bad situation they're in, because they're surrounded by people in the same situation.
All through our house hunting, I've been avoiding the houses I've seen in Davoren Park. I did go see one that had 5 bedrooms, because the layout looked promising. It was a nice, big house with 2 living areas. Of the 5 bedrooms it claimed to have, one was basically a pathway to two other bedrooms (that's the one we were thinking of using as a play room or school room). I drove past it one day and it looked like a decent neighbourhood, so I thought I'd go to the open.
But...when I walked in, it smelled like a pot smoker's house. (Yes, I know what that smells like, because I've been in the home of someone who smoked it. It took me a minute to remember what it was, and then...oh yeah, this smells like his house.)
And one of the back bedrooms was full of car parts and tools. The front porch/entry was falling apart. It was just not ideal at all.
So I kept looking. After my drive through that day, I realised that some areas of Davoren Park might not be that bad. Single family houses, some with nice gardens, not too many cars up on blocks in some streets, etc. So I wasn't quite as negative to the suburb as I had been, but I still preferred to look at houses in the Elizabeth Downs/Elizabeth East kind of area.
But you know where this is going, don't you? We're totally moving to Davoren Park now.
Here's how it happened. The night we signed the contract to sell our current house, I went out to look at a semi in Elizabeth Downs. I hadn't wanted to look at any till then, because I thought they were all 3 bedrooms. But this one had 4! So I contacted the agent, and he said he was going to be there for a while, so did I want to look at it now? And I basically got in the car and drove straight there.
It wasn't big, but it was well maintained. And it was definitely bigger than where we live now. And it had 4 bedrooms. The back yard was pretty much empty, so we could do whatever we wanted with it. It looked like it had potential, and the price range was good for us.
We made an offer. And waited. And waited. And caught gastro. And waited some more. And by the end of the next week, I heard back from the agent, who said that someone had put in a cash offer that was much more than the rest of the offers, so we didn't get it. (Update: it sold for about $11k more than we offered, after the first offer apparently fell through and I saw it back on the market for a few days.)
By this time I kind of expected that was the answer, so I'd stopped wishing and hoping, and was just hoping to hear SOMETHING either way. So I was glad to at least know.
Another week passed. I hadn't been to any houses because I was starting to get discouraged. Plus I had a cold, and I didn't want agents yelling at me for not wearing a mask when I was sneezing and coughing. All the houses were either at the top end of our price range, or at the bottom of our price range and needed a LOT of work. I was starting to think, crap, maybe we'll have to rent for a while. Which we'd be in a good position to do with a huge pile of cash left over from selling our house...but it's not what we wanted to do.
But I was still looking online. And one day, I saw two semis in Davoren park - two halves built together. Four bedrooms. Exactly the same layout as the other one I'd looked at (mirror images of each other). And then I saw that they were only for Homeseeker SA clients and thought...dang. But in the next second, I thought, hang on, we might actually qualify for something like that. So I had a look at the requirements, and...yup, yup, yup, yeah probably, yup, yup.... We met the requirement for every single item.
Better yet? Fixed price. No investors allowed to offer. We knew if we offered, and were accepted, that's the price we would pay. And the price was low enough that we could afford it, AND finish our emergency fund, AND have still have some money to play with to do things like install air conditioning, put up a shed, all those little things that come up after you buy a house.
So I went to look at it on the Sunday, with two little kids (Darrin was taking the bigger ones to visit a friend). They had a blast running through the empty house with all the echoes. The agent said that two other people were supposed to come that day too, but they never showed up.
She left, and promised to email me the intention to purchase form once she got back to the office (which turned out to be around 5 pm that evening). I sent it back pretty much right away. Waited a few days. Thursday she contacted me and said the vendor had accepted our offer. Party time!
But...not quite yet. Because it was built as one allotment, it was all on one title that had to be split. That happened about a week later.
But we still couldn't sign the contract. They had to run some final searches...which took another week and a half. Yesterday, Wednesday 1 December, we finally signed the contract. Cooling off will be for the 2 business days after we receive a copy of the contract. I'm thinking that will be two days next week.
But after waiting for nearly a month already and not changing our mind, why would we now?
We were able to get the same settlement date as we did for selling this house, so everything is happening on the same day. And it's the same conveyancing office handling both transactions. We have a week to get all our stuff out of here, which will help a lot.
Our buyer is going to knock down the house and subdivide. We're not surprised at that. Not in the slightest. There was another offer when we bought this house from a developer who would have done the same thing. We got another 15 years out of it.
I've already arranged power & gas connection, and home & contents insurance. I'm getting quotes on air conditioning (because it's December and it could be 45 the day we move). And I've already contacted a plumber to look at a few things the building inspector found.
So. We'll have Christmas in a new house. With stuff that actually works!