We are all grown up, given that we've just volunteered ourselves for a mortgage! Yes, dream house is finally almost ours, although as always I am still a bit too terrified to say it out loud, just in case...
What happened was:
Surprise auction?! Basically, in making our latest offer to buy the dream house, Gusti the real estate guy was mostly talking to Arion bank, the one that Ingolfur owed the most money to. He was, however, having a hard time getting in contact with the other lenders, and in some cases couldn't even find out who they were.
So, while the biggest lender was still thinking things over for an extra two weeks, one of the small time* lenders decided that they'd had enough, and called an emergency auction of the house. We found out about this from various sources, all of whom seemed weirdly pleased to be the bearers of such up-to-date gossip (unfortunately, it was also heartbreaking gossip, so I was unable to share their joy.)
* small time in this case being roughly ten thousand Australian dollars - believe me, a pittance in comparison to the rest of the debts. Yay Icelandic financial system, you are clearly not flawed at all.
Anyway, there have been at least three other emergency auctions called on the house over the years, but they were all postponed for one reason or another. Not this time, of course! My awesome cousin Maggi accompanied me to the house this morning, and convinced me that we shouldn't bid more than ten million kronas (about $85,000) for it. Even if the bidding went above that, we could probably still buy it from the bank for that amount, it would just take a little longer.
The way these auctions work is kind of weird. Apparently there are usually just representatives from the banks that are owed money, and it's quite rare (but allowed) for the general public to come, much less bid. So it was us and the dude from Arion, a dude from another company, the auctioneer guy from the sheriff's office and Gusti. Man, I was relieved that Maggi came with me, all those professional Icelandic dudes in suits give me the creeps.
So Arion offered two million, Maggi told them that I could bid ten at the most, and then Arion guy said he'd offer up to twelve and a half. And then regardless of all the sensible decisions about how much we should pay, I decided we'd rather bid thirteen million now, and get the house, than postpone it for another couple of months, and then possibly lose it to another bidder after all that.
Well. Thirteen million ($110,000 ish) is arguably 'too much' for that house - it's old, and there's a lot of work that needs to be done to make it all fancy and shiny. But it's livable, and it'll be ours. I've been thinking about the value of things for a while now, and I decided that value, especially with regards to house prices, is pretty much all in your head anyway...
Housing markets in general are weird. The price of a house seems to depend more on who wants it than anything the house itself has to offer. How insane are house prices in Australia at the moment?
For now, although my grandma and aunt are amazingly generous in their hospitality, we really really really want a place of our own. So for someone else the value of the house could be in how nice and fancy it is - i.e. not very. But for us, the value of that same not-very-fancy house is multiplied by hundreds, because of how happy it will make us to finally have a home.
So I am prepared for the many comments of 'you paid too much', which I am sure are on their way from all kinds of well meaning friends and family. But you know what? I think we made the right decision for us and Henry, and I'm really really happy right now.