We decided to have a little look at what houses were about, and how the house buying thing works here in New Zealand. They seem to go for the open homes idea, where each house that is for sale is open for viewings for 30 minutes, usually on Saturday.
This means that you have to plan your route, and the viewings to fit them all in, rather like the hilarious garage sale blog I wrote about.
We had a rough plan of the houses that we wanted to look at, and it was going to prove an interesting exercise for Mark, who strutted off the plane and straight into the house that I had already organised, having done all this leg work already on the house rental front before he got here!
We very quickly deviated from our plan, as we drove past other houses that were also open, the tell tale sign is the flag on the tow hitch of a car parked outside the house! We ended up looking at a lot of other houses too, JUST BECAUSE! The way I look at it is you need to see everything, cheap, and expensive, so that you can gauge what you can get for your money. There is no point setting about this with a UK based house idea.
Our idea of what we wanted was very quickly formed. Wooden windows: NO! Garage: Yes, heat pump and fire: yes. Some very well decorated large expensive homes still had no heating, single glazed wooden windows and very odd layouts. A lounge space is important, as is a kitchen diner. BUT, there is no point in having a huge kitchen and a tiny lounge either.
Some had lovely gardens, lovely lounges and kitchens, but tiny bedrooms with very small inadequate built in cupboards (their idea of a built in wardrobe).
The same real estate agents kept popping up all over the place, as did the same people. We began to recognise the cars in front to be looking for the same houses that we were looking for! It seems like some type of local Saturday game! There were even neighbours looking in ‘because they can’ which I gather is also normal. People go looking in other houses to have a snoop because an open home gives them permission to do so!
Some odd houses we saw, some south facing (cold, as in the southern hemisphere it needs to be north facing) some with built in dated furniture that looked like it had been designed by my granny, some with garages larger than the houses! (It seems that the people of Southland like their man caves. Most houses had one, with its own beer fridge and bottle opener built into the workshop shelves!)
I feel sorry for Mark, he is going to get 35 phone calls tomorrow morning, I expect, as each one asked you 20 questions and took a list of all the people that came in to look around, along with their phone number. There’s another thing I learned, if you don’t want all the calls, deliberately write down the wrong number!
Strangest encounter of the day: An open home that was a private sale, we happened to notice as we drove down a road: the owner was from Rochdale, round the corner from my home town in the UK!