When I met my husband, I was just about to move from an in between rental about an hour out of the city and into a teeny tiny rental in Doubleview, a beach side suburb, nice and close to the city. Noah and Holly were just 7 and 4 years old at the time and I was moving to bring us all closer to my work, my family, our friends and make a new start. The timing to meet Matt, who only lived a few minutes away, was uncanny. My first marriage had broken up a couple of years earlier and I was not in the financial position to purchase a home, despite previously owning homes in my marriage… divorce is expensive.
Now, Matt was a young man .. just 24 years old and I was a 32 year old Mumma. Matt spent all his income on travelling and had only recently moved back to Australia from time in the UK.
In the years to follow, we were engaged, then married in 2014 and had added three x 4 legged pooches and of course by this stage the 7 and 4 year olds were now 11 and 7 year olds and well.. big. We had absolutely outgrown this 75sqm rental, needed more space and wanted to add one more addition to our brood.
A little about the house on Wilding Street, because she deserves a mention. I mended my family back together in that tiny house. I learnt the meaning of hard work, working up to 4 jobs at a time, whilst juggling the children, to try and get myself back on my feet. We all fell in love with Matt in that house, and him with us. It was warm, inviting and had the most welcoming front porch with a huge old frangipani tree that filled the air with sweetness every summer. We spent countless days and nights on that porch, just us, with friends, family, and my lord, probably a whole vineyards annual production in red wine.
I loved that little house and it, in return, loved us.
When we started looking to buy, we were in a rock and a hard place financially in relation to the location we wanted to buy in. We loved Doubleview, we are beach folk and location wise, it is so close to some of Perths most beautiful beaches, as well as being so close to the city and central for work. We also had Noah due to start high school in 2016 and our choice of public school was where the catchment suburbs were all so expensive.
Ideally, we wanted something old, with character, that we could renovate ourselves as we are both keen DIY Block enthusiasts.
When we saw our home online, we couldn’t believe our luck, it was just within our budget, was in Doubleview, in the high school catchment and literally a 500 metre walk from our current home. It was also old, built in the mid 60s, with some original features still in place.
Excited, we called the real estate agent, who spoke with hesitation when we asked for a viewing. He said, its empty, go and look through the windows, if you are still keen I will open it up for you. Hmm… it looks old on the photos but can’t be that bad?
The home had been empty for 2 years, bank repossesed, filthy, with holes in the walls (literally) and every square inch requiring work.
When I look at old and used objects, whether it be a house, or an old piece of furniture, I see what it could be, not what it is. Luckily for me, Matt is the same, although he was quite daunted by the amount of work involved, he too could see the potential.
I saw her original slim jarrah floorboards, I saw the big jarrah windows, I saw the original and super cool cornices, I saw a cute cottage that needed some love.
We put in an offer.
We waited a few weeks before we heard that we were successful, bank repossessions are a law unto themselves and we just had to wait for the bank to decide if our offer was enough to repay the debts owed against the property.
Now, when we signed to purchase this little house, we saw and were told about the caveats on the title. Caveats are a statuatory injunction that can be placed against a title of a property, by a person or entity, which means the house cannot be sold until either the amount of the caveat is paid, or the caveat is withdrawn.
There were three separate caveats on our title. The previous owners owed alot of money.
The house had been used to cook and sell drugs, which we should have realised by the security cameras and no smoking signs in every room. The bust happened when one of the many share house tenants, high as a kite, went naked to the house across the road, wanting the girl there to walk down to the beach .. because you know, it was a hot day. The girls brother got into an altercation with said naked man and the police were called. When they arrived, naked man ran back into our house .. police followed and BUST ..
The house was closed down and the owner, who owed the bank a fair wack of unpaid mortgage, had the house repossessed. So, after a couple of years vacant .. we come in.
All seemed to be proceeding quite well, with our settlement agent being a past wedding client of mine who I adored and was so great at her job.
Two weeks before we were due to move, our settlement agent called me and advised that she was concerned that the caveats had not been lifted and the banks settlement agent was not too cooperative.
Unfortunately, after two weeks of doing absolutely everything in our power to have the caveats lifted we were looking down the barrel of no settlement, new tenants moving into our existing home and thus, no home to move into.
So, not knowing if the caveats would be lifted the next day, or three months time, or actually never at all and the sale fall through, we placed our 3 dogs in a kennel and hired a self moving truck.
Matt and I packed our whole house into the truck and with only our mattresses left out on the living room floor, we slept our last night in our little house, together as a family. Noah, in all his absolute goodness, cuddled up to me and said, ‘Mummy, as long as we are together, we are home’.
The next morning all hope was lost as our agent advised we were still no closer to settling. So, we popped the children in school and we drove our truck to a friends place who was away for 3 nights and had generously let us use her house whilst it was empty.
After 3 nights and still no settlement in sight, we hired a storage unit and unpacked our house into a tin shell. We relied on the generosity of our gorgeous family and friends to put a roof over our heads, all the while, both working full time, fighting for our home and spending different nights under different roofs as to not overstay our welcome.
Finally, 20 days past the original settlement date, we were able to settle on our new home. To be able to collect Noah and Holly from school and tell them we were going home was the most wonderful feeling.
This photo of our first night with a home again needs no explanation of the joy and relief we all felt.
In the nearly two years that we have now been living here, we have worked slowly on the renovations, truly grateful every day that we have a roof to shelter our children and animals and a place to call home. Its something I will never take for granted.
My Home | My Heart
I would love to hear your thoughts on this post! There’s a nifty little comment field below! Much love xK