‘Don’t you think there’s more to be made?’
The question was asked during one of the many discussions with friends and acquaintances attempting to understand the reasons and rationale behind our impending move. ‘I mean, if you hang on until the railway goes in… After all,’ and the next part was said with the confidence of the broad real estate knowledge that (almost) every self-respecting Sydney-sider has, ‘they could change the zoning and you could subdivide.’
My response was the same as it has been all the way through this process. ‘Perhaps.’
‘Have you ever wondered whether instead of doing all the travelling you’ve done, you could have invested that money into new bathrooms and modernising the home some more? That would have you competing in the next bracket.’
Actually, no, I don’t. Travel and the experiences you get from it – that we’ve got from it – are something that you can’t put a value on.
‘I just think that if you held on for longer, you’d get more. Besides, you know you’re breaking the golden rule, don’t you?’
‘And which particular golden rule is that?’ There are many. Apparently.
‘You never sell a property in Sydney without buying another. Once you’re out of this market, you’re out of it.’
‘Yes.’ I agreed. ‘That would be a problem if we ever intended coming back.’
Maybe what I said was famous last words, but man, I’m sick of the whole thing!
‘But what about your daughter? Shouldn’t you be thinking about her?’
Sydney seems to be a city obsessed with money. It’s not so much what you do as what you earn. And as for real estate? It dominates virtually every dinner party conversation. (And yes, before you tell me so in your comments, I know there are exceptions, but this is a rant, so generalisations are not just permitted, but actively encouraged.) In this city, realestate.com is king.
The thing is, the things are, we don’t intend coming back into this market. If we do, I guess you can do the ‘I told you so’s. As for our daughter? Who knows what she’ll decide to do, but surely that’s her decision?
And regards holding on for longer? We’ve been in this house for nearly 18 years and have enjoyed fabulous capital growth- particularly over the last few years. If there is further room in the market, more money to be made by renovating the house, then good luck to whoever it is that comes after us. We’re satisfied with what we’ve earned – it’s enabled us to choose the lifestyle that we’re now choosing. It’s enough.
Will we ever regret selling up and out? I have no idea, but as a rule, we haven’t really tended to be the regretting types. Besides, we were fortunate (and perhaps forward-looking) enough to buy into this market 25 years ago when we first moved up from Canberra. We had an opportunity then that many families don’t have now. I’m absolutely aware of that. This is such a #firstworlddiscussion to be having.
What we tend to forget, though, is that back then, with the interest rates at record highs of over 17%, and a combined salary of not a lot, in buying into the market we were taking almost a big a risk as we are now in leaving it.
My expert hadn’t finished. ‘At your age you should be looking to increase your accumulation – think about investment properties and holiday houses.’
‘I don’t know,’ I smiled sweetly. ‘Can you put a price on lifestyle and health?’
He looked confused. Perhaps that’s not a variable that you can factor in on realestate.com. ‘Besides,’ I added, ‘ we’re moving to a place where people go to for their holidays. What do we need with a holiday house?’
What we’re doing might not be considered wise by many people, or make much financial sense, but for us it feels right – at this moment it feels right. Scary, but right. And enough.
It’s Monday so I’m linking up with Denyse Whelan for Life This Week.