I've always thought we were destined to live in this house.
In 1997, we were living in a granny flat behind my mum and dad's house. They had been kind enough to offer the use of it while we saved for a house deposit, and it wasn't too bad, despite the fact that there were three of us in a one-bedroom flat.
From quite early on, I got into a habit of picking up real estate magazines, even though we hadn't saved anywhere near enough for a deposit.
In October, I circled this ad.
A few weeks later I saw an ad in the paper about a 'rent-to-buy' scheme. I called a real estate agent who promised to look into it for us. A few days later, he called and said he had a couple of houses to show us that we'd be able to buy without having to worry about the renting part.
We went with him to look at a nice house in Wanniassa. It had a huge backyard, a big garage and a lovely view of the mountains. We fell in love with it straight away. We didn't even look at the other houses he had on his list. We told him we wanted this one.
This was well before the 'first home buyer' money that the government gives out (we've had great timing all through our life together - always getting in too early for all the home-buying and baby-making handouts), but we found a bank that was willing to lend us 98% of the purchase price, and our income was low enough to receive a big stamp duty discount. My parents also kicked in a bit of cash to help us on our way. Before we knew it, we'd bought the house for $104,500. It's amazing how much house prices have risen since then! It's probably worth about $400,000 now.
Not long before we were due to move in, I realised that the house we were buying was the same one I'd seen all those months ago in the magazine. We decided it was fate.
We moved in on the 7th of March, 1998. Two days after Sam's 2nd birthday. We always told him he'd gotten a house for his birthday, and it was pretty hard to top that.
I'll tell you about them next time.