It has been a hectic few weeks since we decided to go for it and start looking but I'm sure it is the right thing to do. It is so unsettled and inpermanent renting, especially when you have dogs. When we moved into this house we thought we could rent here longterm because we thought the landlord was the sort to encourage longterm tenants. However, he rather pulled the rug out from under us last summer when he announced that he was selling the house! Since then, we've had the disruption of people viewing the house (this while also tyring to sell my old house) and then him agreeing a sale which then seemed to go nowhere for 5 months. That sale has fallen through so we're back to more house viewings.
Although the landlord assured us he had somewhere for us to move into, we are ultimately finished with renting now. I have found that I don't put anything into the house because it's not mine and I know we'll be moving soon anyway. Thus, the garden is a wilderness and the decor somewhat uninspired. That is not me and I don't like not taking pride in my surroundings. I may not be house proud but I don't like constantly compromising either.
So, to the buying. It is hard round here. I don't know about other areas but there is very little worth looking at on the market here, just the same tired, over-priced wastes of times. One reads about the housing market improving but I don't see how it can when no-one is selling anything worth having!!
We worked out what we could afford to borrow. This, we discovered, is not same as what the banks will lend you! We could borrow loads but I'm not sure how we'd eat or live if we took the maximum amount available! Then we started looking. Grim - tiny, overpriced boxes or grottsville.
Anything good gets snapped up within a matter of days as we found to our cost. We were told one Thursday evening by friends that the house next door was coming onto the market. We didn't go round straight away as we were meeting the mortgage adviser on Monday. By Tuesday morning it was sold and it would have been perfect for us....boooo! However, you live and learn and we know the young couple who got it and it will be a great house for them too.
Eventually we came across a nice Victorian cottage which we both really liked. It too was well overpriced but had not sold for 2 years so we though that for a no chain buyer we would stand a good chance of getting it at a lower price. The only downside with this house was the small, rather shady garden space and no parking. Then, just before putting in an offer, I remembered talking to a woman I'd met on the street a few months ago. In passing she'd mentioned that she was thinking about selling her house sometime in the summer and I'd taken her number just in case (and also to bring the conversation to an end as I had been beginning to wonder if it would ever end!).
I thought I'd give her a ring and check it out just in case. After a bit of persuading we set up a viewing. It was a bit of a tip with lots of extra furniture and piles of stuff everywhere and only half decorated. As in rooms, prepared to be painted but not actually painted and in need of lots of TLC. However, I could see straight away that it suited Rich and I better than the cottage. Not maybe as sweet or characterful but it has a lovely flat, sunny, south-facing garden, a big conservatory, a big raised patio with pergola and grapevine and plenty of parking. You can always decorate a house to suit your taste but you can't magic a decent sized garden or parking out of thin air.
So, after a couple of visits, each one accompanied by the seller's surly, rude son's slamming of doors and swearing at his mother in front of us and the seller constantly apologising for the mess, we put in an offer which, with an extra £2k for luck, was accepted. Yay!!
So, the motto of this story is, if you start chatting to a slightly odd woman on the street and wonder if you're ever going to be able to get away, don't worry,
We won't be able to complete before September due to the seller's timescales but I'm already getting very excited about it. Daydreaming about the house and especially the garden. I've never had a south-facing garden so won't know myself! It is the sort of garden which cries out to host a tea party with lots of pretty flowers and tables and parasols and that sort of stuff. I know we'll be more likely to have barbeques but I would like at least one dainty afternoon tea (with added champagne and Pimms!).
There is a sort of store/utility room/outside passageway on the side of the house which most of the neighbours have converted to some other use. Some have dining rooms, another a garage, another a teenagers' games room etc. I think it would work well as a study/office/gym for me.....
I must stop counting my chickens before they're hatched but the next couple of months are going to be hard!!