When I was a kid, I had a forty minute bus ride to school, and I would play this game to pass the time. As we drove through the coastal suburbia, we would pass a wide variety of houses ranging from extravagant 6-bedroom weekenders to modest fibro bungalows (in both tidy and messy variations) to unremarkable brick homes, some with groovy Balinese style pergolas and bamboo-shrouded pools, others with a bunch of broken bikes on the front lawn. For each house, I would give it a ‘yes’, ‘no’ or ‘maybe’ for whether I would like to live there.
I don’t know why this game was so darned enjoyable, but it was a success in terms of keeping me entertained for the duration of the bus trip. I’m not even sure what my criteria was, although I’m pretty sure it came down to cleanliness, tidiness and contemporary style, which seem like valid factors to choose a house on. I overlooked plenty of other valid factors, such as interiors. But in fairness, it’s not really possible to get a handle on that as you zip past on a school bus.
Point is, I was priming myself to make rapid-fire decisions on property values from a young age. It’s no surprise, then, that I’ve become an avid real estate investor. I’ve got a buyers advocate for Melbourne, another for Sydney and a third for the north coast, with plenty of ‘ears to the ground’ in between, so it’s not like I’m making all the decisions by myself. Even so, I do pride myself on being able to tell in an instant if a property is a good deal or not.
I guess, on reflection, the key criteria I used in my bus game was curbside appeal – back then, this translated to Balinese style pergolas and pools in the front, and these days I can see beyond things like that to the bare bones underneath. It’s my superpower, and I reckon it’s all thanks to my bus game. Go, child me.