Eat Pay Love …

30-something property virgin Gillian Nalletamby is desperately trying to get off the real estate circuit with little success. Here is her tale of property she has loved and lost and just admired from afar.

I don’t know what’s harder to find in this town — a man or a property. I’ve just realised my dating life has a lot of parallels with the Sydney real estate market.

Property experts have been saying for a while that there is going to be a property bubble in Australia but I think my relationship bubble burst quite a while ago and I’m currently in negative equity.

My commitment phobia extends into the property market. I probably should have jumped into it a while ago but unlike men, it’s not like the good ones (apparently) are taken, it’s just now they are out of my financial reach. Yes, I know what they say, if you liked it, you should put an offer on it.

But like my independence, I am also reluctant to part with my hard-earned cash. But regardless of whether I was in a long-term relationship, I’d still want to buy the real estate equivalent of my significant other. As property experts say a man is not a financial plan. Let me repeat that, a man is not a financial plan.

Let’s face it, most standard mortgages last longer than marriages these days as people trade up or – more often than not – trade down so it’s important for women to have a financial safety net. And if you’re Kim Kardashian, then your nuptials may barely last past the 5-day off cooling off period. Just sayin’.

I was looking at a property in the inner city today and, like they say about men, if it’s too good to be true, it usually is. I don’t know whether I do more research than other people but every property I find seems to come with a back story and has more issues than a man with two ex-wives, five children and a cat.

It’s either concrete cancer, a huge painting job in the works or today a water penetration problem. I won’t even touch (no pun intended) the obvious analogy with the opposite sex there.

But at least with property, you can do a strata report, building and pest inspection. A pest inspection in particular would definitely come in handy with men to find out about their psycho ex girlfriends, overbearing mothers, ex wives or worse still, current wives or other skeletons in their walk in wardrobe.

Guys on the other hand like the ‘Oh I forgot to mention the building had a plumbing problem’ until you pay $250+ for a strata report to find this out, I always seem to meet men who forget they have children or fail to remember they once got married and sometimes are still married, albeit separated.

With real estate and relationships, the key word of the day is ‘compromise’ but I still have my property deal breakers which include good security and access to parking. Like ‘Mr Good on Paper’ though, some properties tick all the boxes but for some undefinable reason, when you have a face-to-face introduction via an open house inspection, ‘you’re just not into them’.

With apartments, it’s less of a case of looking for the ‘one’ and a ‘forever home’ and more a case of looking for ‘Mr Right for Now’ and at last taking the first step on the property ladder or half a rung it seems in my situation. I’m looking more for Old Kent Road than Mayfair if you know what I mean.

It’s the opposite with men. And that’s where real estate and the opposite sex are different. I realise that in my 30s that my choices are limited to renovator dreams and fixer-uppers. But if you put a lot of time and love into the projects, it can be well worth the time and investment.

Luckily for me, I’ve always liked older properties with character and (preferably) original features to fancy new builds which look great from a distance. But on closer inspection if you strip away the newly painted walls and stylish decor, they seem to have multiple building defects. As they say good from far but far from good.

And just for the record, size does matter when it comes to the property market – the more square inches the better. Admittedly, it also does depend on what you can do with it. A clever layout in a one bedroom apartment can work wonders. With my Sydney budget and dwindling options, I’d settle for a small but perfectly formed property.

Like I check out men in different states with my admittedly ‘grass is greener’ complex, I find myself lusting over property in other regions and wistfully admiring art deco properties in Victoria, South Australia and Brisbane and more importantly the price and comparative location.

Not only do I live in one of the most overpriced states in Australia but also one of the most expensive cities in the world, apparently. Which begs the question — what am I still doing here?

Oh that’s right, work prospects because even though my career doesn’t keep me warm at night, I need to have one to pay for the aforementioned prospective real estate.

And please don’t talk to me about online dating. The photos people take with digital cameras and post online are as misleading as glossy real estate brochure photos taken with a wide angle lens. Trust me, the floor plan never lies.

Now if I only could get excited over a mere man, the way my heart starts beating furiously when I spot a one-bedder with a car park and courtyard for under $380k, $400k, $420k $440k in Sydney’s inner west.

Endnote: I am appearing on the premiere episode of Location Location Location airing on July 11. You will have to watch the show to see if I bought a property or not!
Copyright Gillian Nalletamby 2012. Follow me on Twitter or subscribe to email notifications.


  1. K, 3 July 2012, 11:21 am

    Can’t wait to see you on the episode of Location Location Location! 🙂

  2. Lucy, 8 July 2012, 8:39 pm

    Loved the article, very witty as usual. Def harder to find a man in Sydney 🙂

  3. Zohra Aly, 12 February 2013, 10:50 am

    Enjoyed reading this and the parallels between real estate and men! Hadn’t thought of it that way..


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