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Cooma [Jan. 24th, 2010|10:08 pm]
dalekboy
[Tags|]
[mood |accomplishedaccomplished]

Travelled to Cooma this weekend to look at houses. Out of nine houses, eight of them would have worked for us more or less. I now have a rough handle on what the different 'Snowy homes' are, and know that anything marked as an E-Type snowy home will be too small. That's a major help right there.

But the important thing is, all the prices were fair, even when compared to one another. They were all good houses, and there was none of the knee-jerk "You want how much?!" that I get with... well 99.999% of Canberra houses.

I also learned I have to approach this in a different way. I had originally thought about popping off to Bombala to look for platypuses, but no, checking out a bunch of houses on a hot day pretty much kills that idea. Need to get out there again, maybe for a slightly longer stay. Head in Friday night, do two bunches of houses on the Sat with a break in the middle, another bunch on the Sunday, then drive home.

The shortlist from this trip has three places on it, with five more effectively as backup. Spoke to a few people who have done the Canberra/Cooma commute, and had no issues. So next step is to get Sharon to do a trip there after work one day, stay the night, and head in to work the next. If she's happy doing that, then we can take the Cooma option much more seriously.

Still hoping that we'll find somewhere in Canberra, but we're less and less happy with the idea of having to settle for something that doesn't really suit our needs and will cost an arm, leg, lung, and kidney. The worst of the back-up houses in Cooma is still better than the majority of main candidates in Canberra - and almost half the price!
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: paul_ewins
2010-01-24 11:19 am (UTC)
Sounds like a good plan, although I would imagine that the winter commute, in darkness and perhaps fog/rain/ice might be a completely different thing to a summer commute. Still, anyone who is used to commuting in Sydney or Melbourne is probably used to the time it takes.
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2010-01-24 12:41 pm (UTC)
Nice, wide, well-maintained roads with overtaking lanes makes things a bit better though - that's basically what knocked Captain's Flat off the list, a road I wasn't happy driving on with the though of what it'd be like in the dark.

Yeah, we'd rather be Sharon be five minutes from home, but if Canberra wants to price us out, we've both said an hour drive is normal for Melbourne. One house we looked at online for Canberra was $420,000, and marketed as a 'fixer-upper.' Bugger that!

But still looking here, and hopeful. If we can find something that would fit us all for around $370,000, and it's a good enough house, then that, combined with Sharon being close to work, would possibly make it worthwhile. But we've been looking on and off since we've moved here. And hell, we're not being overly picky, we just don't want to have to struggle to pay off a house that doesn't come close to suiting our needs.

The best summation is that the E-type I rejected as too small was around the same size as the houses we keep seeing here. But this was around $158,000, compared to $380,000.
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[User Picture]From: arcadiagt5
2010-01-24 08:16 pm (UTC)
we just don't want to have to struggle to pay off a house that doesn't come close to suiting our needs.

And if more people thought like that (and worked out what they needed rather than what the neighbours are getting) prices wouldn't be so bad.
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2010-01-24 09:36 pm (UTC)
The banks have to weather a hell of a lot of the blame though. They aren't meant to be your mate, giving you credit whether or not you can pay it off.

Just prior to the crash, I saw a bank offering no deposit home loans, and I heard about a bank offering 110% of the home loan, so you can buy furniture, get it painted, etc.

What the banks should have been doing was their fucking job, and saying 'No, sorry, if you want a house you can only afford to repay this much,' as opposed to letting people loan amounts that meant that a couple of interest rate rises have them terrified.
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[User Picture]From: arcadiagt5
2010-01-25 01:27 am (UTC)
I agree that banks should be a lot more conservative cf Global Financial Crisis. :(

On a personal level the way to not be terrified of interest rate rises is to assume that the rises will happen before getting the loan and adjust the loan/repayments accordingly.

Which you're already doing so you'll be able to ignore at least the first couple. :)
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[User Picture]From: dafwarg
2010-01-25 01:35 am (UTC)
Unfortunately (for us anyway) banks wont give no deposit loans anymore :( We could easily afford the repayments to buy a 4x2 house, but because we don't have $70k saved, we can't buy. Just means we need to wait another year or two before buying again, but by then it's quite likely prices will have gone up again :(
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[User Picture]From: ariaflame
2010-01-24 02:54 pm (UTC)
The worst of the back-up houses in Canberra is still better than the majority of main candidates in Canberra - and almost half the price!

I take it the first Canberra was a Cooma.

Are you planning for Sharon to do the trip soonish or a bit later?

But yes, the most important thing is that you get a place with everything you require, including of course space for guests, for a reasonable price. And from what I hear unless you get amazingly lucky, that's not likely to be in Canberra itself.
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2010-01-24 09:30 pm (UTC)
Fixed!

Shaz will do the trip soon-ish, just not sure where we're going to fit it in between ashes being spread in Wangaratta, Continuum 6, and Swancon.

If we buy in Canberra, we'll probably have to forego space for guests. Cooma may not give us more space for people, but it probably will.

We're also budgeting for repayments based on them being 9 or 10 percent, which further reduces things. But better to play it a bit safe than have the constant panic that some new homebuyers are already experiencing with talk of further interest rate rises.
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[User Picture]From: sjl
2010-01-24 08:18 pm (UTC)
Yeah, the Canberra market is absolutely insane - $300 per week for a one bedroom place?! Bugger that for a lark! I'll probably end up doing the share accommodation if I get the job up there; it'll mean losing out on some degree of privacy, but I can swallow $100-150/week much more easily than $300+/week.

If I do buy in Canberra, I'll probably rent it out rather than live in it myself, unless circumstances are such that I have to move out of share accommodation. Good luck, and I'm glad you've found a compromise that you're willing to live with.

(I was going to make a comment about the last sentence, but I see that ariaflame has beaten me to it.)
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[User Picture]From: sjl
2010-01-24 09:49 pm (UTC)
Oh, just remembered. If you do end up in Cooma, look into novated leasing if your employer allows it - 110 km each way is 1100 km a week, or well over 40,000 km a year without trying. That drops the FBT rate (on the statutory km method) to only 7%, making salary sacrifice on a car very much worthwhile, no matter how much you earn (well, as long as you pay tax ...)

Good luck!
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2010-01-25 06:05 am (UTC)
We knew about that, but thanks for the heads-up. We're looking into it, though the legislation may be about to change preventing it.

But yes, it would be very handy.
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[User Picture]From: sjl
2010-01-26 04:54 am (UTC)
The change to the legislation would be because of the whole climate change thing? I want to see it happen, I really do ... but I'm not convinced it will, not until after the next Federal election. Happy to be proven wrong, though.

I also don't see the legislation being retroactive - existing leases will almost certainly be fine, you just won't be able to take out a new one. Watch a massive upsurge in the number of novated leases taken out just before the legislation takes effect.
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