Auckland property special 2016: On the benefit of hindsight

Illustration by Angela Keoghan.

You bought a house! Of course you did. Back then — not so long ago, when you think about it — it’s what most of us did. You bought a house because you needed one, because you wanted one. Because you could.

There were always an unlucky few, but for the rest of us, buying a house was just what we did. It’s what was expected of us, and what we expected for ourselves. It was a turning point, and a milestone, and it was so much more than that.

A sanctuary, a comfort, a certainty. A place to call home and a place to come home to. A warm light in a window. A beacon. A nest.

You bought a house! Perhaps, over the years, you even managed to buy a weekend bolthole, too — a little bach on the coast or a simple inland cottage. Nothing fancy — not that it mattered, because it wasn’t about making A Good Investment. In the end — and now that you think about it, even in the beginning — it wasn’t about that at all.

Let’s face it: if buying a house had been about making money, you would never have bought the place. It flouted so many of the investment rules. What were they again? Oh yes, the ones by which we’re meant to live and buy.
It was downright impractical; it was bloody high maintenance. But you didn’t really care.

The house was downright impractical; it was bloody high maintenance. Or too far away, or too noisy, or too… whatever. On paper it was so wrong. But you didn’t care, not really. Because it felt just right.

Do you remember? How it seemed, stepping inside the first time, that this was where you belonged. You could see yourself, you could see what your life here could be, you saw the possibility. It felt like home and so you made it yours, because you could. You chose it, or perhaps it chose you.

You bought a house! A welcome home. Finding the money wasn’t easy, necessarily, but it was possible.

You felt blessed, fortunate, even lucky at the time, and you were. But now, looking back, you see that you didn’t realise just how lucky, not really.

You’re not alone in that. How could we have known then what we know now? We were the lucky ones.

This article is published in the October 2016 issue of Metro, on sale now.