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February 13, 2013

Handling real estate heartbreak


Sometimes love doesn’t last. What once seemed like such a sure thing in the grips of passion occasionally frosts over without warning, leaving you alone with a heavy heart. Other times, you just don’t feel that way anymore and make a dash for it. And from time to time, no one’s to blame.

BY SHANNON MOLLOY

Like in life, nothing is black and white when it comes to property. The best conditions aren’t always conducive to success and sometimes, against all the odds, you’re left heartbroken.

My story begins in the first few months of 2009. It was love at first sight – me, a hopeful and enthusiastic young suitor; her, the stuff dreams are made of. Inner-city location, big potential to add value, potential buyers few and far between… I leapt in immediately, full of confidence. And for a while, things were good.

Sure, we had our ups and downs. That six-month complete renovation took a bit of a toll and there were more than a few screaming matches. But she looked the best she ever had and I was smitten.

And then it became abundantly clear that things weren’t working out.

I just don’t understand. It should’ve worked. We were a good match – fantastic location, very good looks, an alright income. On paper, we were destined for pretty interesting things. But it just never transitioned to that next level. There was no growth for us. For years, we’ve been treading water. It must’ve been love, but it’s over now. It must’ve been good, but I lost it somehow.

The realisation snuck up on me. Content one moment – no fireworks, sure, but settled – and then suddenly everything resembles a Natalie Imbruglia song and hiding under the covers with a box of wine seems a better alternative to facing the world.

So, I made the painful decision to let her go. I’m cutting my losses. Anyone who has been in my shoes will know full well that making the decision is only the first step, though. The challenges don’t begin and end there.

Worse still, I’ve just moved back in to carry out a few repairs to tenant damage and will stay there while it’s on the market to present it in the best light. In a way, it’s like living with someone who clearly doesn’t love you anymore.

During these difficult moments, it’s easy to lose faith. It’s tempting to throw in the towel, declare you’re done and slink away. What’s the point? Why bother? What the hell was all of this for? Maybe I’m just no good at it.

And under the weight of disappointment, sadness and nervousness about the sale result, it’s easy to be confused and more than a little downtrodden.

But for all one’s successes, there must be a few failures. Who knows why? The real estate Gods testing us perhaps. Property karma reminding us never to take things for granted?

So, as frustrating as this experience has been and as reluctantly as I battle my way through the fog, I cling to the knowledge that things will get better, that it’s always darkest before the dawn. Just as I have in the past, I’ll win again. My best days are yet to come.

As they say, you’ll never win if you never have a punt and sometimes the odds are worth it. I’ll regroup, restack my chips and roll the dice again.

Shannon Molloy is the deputy editor of Australian Property Investor magazine, www.apimagazine.com.au

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