A HOUSE SOME LAND AND A BUNCH OF SPANNERS HOW TO MAKE DECISIONS
How to Make Decisions
When you think of emigrating you think of the sun, the beaches, the chance to make a new life for yourselves. But how does the reality shape up? In January this year, we; that is my husband, my two children and myself, upped sticks and moved to New Zealand. In this new blog series, I aim to provide a ‘warts and all’ view of what it’s really like to move your family 11,368 miles from home…
Have you ever made a big decision and then spent ages worrying about it or regretting it? I am generally really good at making decisions and sticking to them, but my other half, the lovely hubster, can sometimes like to throw a spanner in the works…
This past month we’ve been faced with making a lot of snap decisions. We arrived in the country with little more to show for ourselves than the clothes we stood in and a few bags, and ploughed headlong into our new life in New Zealand. We caught up with friends in Christchurch and visited the earthquake flattened city almost 6 years to the day after the ‘Big One’ to see how much it had changed. We got new mobile numbers, we looked at houses online and thought that life was rosy… oh how we laugh now!
Nothing so far has been particularly easy, least of all trying to find somewhere to live. Our UK house sale was due to complete the week we flew out (January 2017) and at the time of writing, a whole month later it STILL HASN’T GONE THROUGH! Spanner number one. So our bright idea of not renting and ‘just buying a house’ hit the first hurdle. On paper it seemed like such a simple plan; house sales generally go through here in little over 6 weeks, so it was the obvious choice. What we didn’t bargain on was the cut throat real estate agents over here creating a frenzy akin to the TV department at Tesco on Black Friday… Geez, it’s hard work buying a house here at the moment.
Every house was already ‘under offer’ even though that doesn’t stop them showing you around here it seems. But the one we liked wasn’t, in fact it had been sat on the market for a little while…
It’s funny when you sit in the real estate agents office listening to them tell you how much better the system is here compared to the UK… not from where I’m sitting mate, I can tell you. We wanted to put an offer in on the house we’d found… what felt like two days later we emerged blinking into the sunshine feeling shell shocked and abused (OK, it was only an hour, but we’d had to practically sign our lives away (and sign a contract of sale) before they’d even present an offer to the vendor). We were the only people offering on the property so we were in a good position (ha!) and we went off to get a coffee and steady our nerves.
Later that day we got a call from the agents, great we thought, we might have somewhere to live! No. The agents had called around everyone who had ever asked about the property and drummed up another offer, we were now in a ‘Multi-Offer Bid Situation’. Whatever that was.
Turns out its basically a sealed bid situation. You put your best offer in an envelope and they get presented to the vendors, who then get to select which, if any, bids they want to accept. Oh, and did we want to up our offer as we wouldn’t want to lose out for the sake of a few thousand dollars… Later that night we received the call. We’d lost the bid. To people from Wellington. That HADN’T EVEN BEEN IN THE HOUSE. Queue massive eye rolling and a few beers to drown our sorrows.
Onwards and Upwards
Spanner number two had been well and truly lobbed. Onwards and upwards we thought. Let’s look at land!
We looked online at what sections were available, made a list and set off to have a look. All was good. Until our youngest threw up all over the car and we had to turn around and head home. These winding New Zealand roads take some getting used to it seems… We tried again the next day and found a 3000sq metre section in a relatively new subdivision about 10 minutes out of town. It’s pretty steep, but boy the views from the top were spectacular. Had we found it, our new home?
We got a house builder to meet us out there to take a look at the section and discuss options. Could we build that house we’d been talking about for so long? Or was it just a pipe dream? It’s very common for people to build houses here in NZ, the system is different to the UK in that developers buy up sections of land, but they let you pick what house you want building on it, rather than the UK system where developers build huge estates and you choose from what’s there.
It seemed do-able. So we forged ahead. We put an offer in and it was accepted. Great!
Until the lovely Hubster woke up sweating in the night. (Spanner number three.) Had we made the right decision? Had we picked the right section? Could we do what we want to do with it? As I talked him down off of the ledge I realised that I’d had a lot of the same thoughts in the beginning, but I was comfortable with the decision we’d made and after we’d talked it through more, then so was he. But it also got me thinking about how we make decisions and how other people can affect how you feel about those decisions.
I learnt all about ‘cognitive dissonance’ when I studied psychology and it’s not hard to see why when we make a decision we actively avoid anything that challenges it. For the Hubster it was his family talking to him about what they thought he should do with the section that triggered the doubt in his mind. It didn’t line up with what we’d talked about (or can afford for that matter), and he began to doubt his earlier conviction. I personally like being challenged, I’ve always loved the opportunity to articulate my thoughts on any given subject (lol, sorry everyone that knows me) and I welcome the opportunity to see and understand alternative views. I have been known to change my mind, but it’s rare (sorry again…) Maybe that’s why we work as a couple, the lovely Hubster and I, maybe his questioning balances out my bull headedness… Something needs to!
This article was written by Maria Ingram from Alfie Winn she is creative, and is absolutely positive that the world is a better place with creative people in it. Maria also knows how hard it can be for creatives to tell the world they’re here. Which is why she is so passionate about helping them to find their story, grow their business, and reach their audience in an authentic and fulfilling way.