OPINION: The challenges of a new home

THERE ARE many pitfalls to look out for when buying a new abode; the employees of legal firms make a nice living out of warning would-be home-owners of things that could make a purchase of such magnitude go pear-shaped.

I've been reading with interest of the dramas associated with the construction of the new WestConnex road in Sydney; a lot of people are (understandably) unhappy with the compulsory acquisition of their homes.

It would be easy to become outraged on their behalf until one realises the majority of them knew of the possibility when they purchased their properties for, presumably, a reduced price. But good luck to them all trying to buy back into the over-inflated property market that is Sydney these days.

The solicitor who advised me when I made my most recent house purchase went to some pains to point out some of the dodgier aspects of the property, including some laughably shonky requests on the part of the vendors' lawyer.

At one point I threw up my hands in despair and decided to pull out of the purchase, only to be asked "whatever for?" by a genuinely puzzled legal eagle who'd just spent 10 minutes explaining why I should do just that.

So I felt I was fairly well informed when I did eventually buy the house; I knew the granny flat in the backyard wasn't compliant and neither was the shed in the back corner.

Neither transgression stopped me, and hadn't stopped the previous two sets of owners either.

But there was one thing I wasn't warned about, and it's proving to be a gigantic pain in the behind.

There is a koel that has moved into a neighbour's tree, and it's driving me insane.

Now, I know it's just a bird. There is lots of avian activity in the area including a callistemon full of squawking lorikeets, and we have several swooping magpies at this time of year - all three of them seem to become overly incensed by the fluoro Lycra outfits of local cyclists and really, who could blame them?

I'm prepared to overlook the maggies' attacks because of their magical, liquid warbling first thing of a morning.

But the wretched koel, that illegal immigrant that travels a great distance from Indonesia each summer, has no such music in its unlovely calls.

Instead, a strident series of hideous sounds are issued and the bloody thing's alarm clock wakes it at 3:00am.

I'm not surprised it's having such difficulty finding a mate; if I made noises like that I'd have never been able to find a husband, I'm sure - although he made some fairly ghastly noises at night with snores that rattled the windows.

I wonder if I can sue my lawyer for non-disclosure?



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