House search: the final instalment (or how to live with disappointment)

Ok, ok. I know my blogging has been a bit hit and miss (or would it be miss and miss?) which is why I decided I will be blogging everyday for the next 30 days. I will be a challenge, but I am in need of challenge at the moment, so here we go! 😀

I will start from where I left off: the house search. On the last post, we were just about to go and see for a second viewing of house #2, which we had already pretty much bought in our heads, knocked down walls and built imaginary bathrooms. I don’t know what it was but we just didn’t like it. I mean, I would still have bought it, but husband just couldn’t. So that was out.

And then there was house #5. I really really wanted to hate it, the rooms were too small, the price was too big. But I couldn’t. I loved it. I loved it so much I wouldn’t stop going on about it. Mike was less convinced and still wanted house #4, which was a resounding no from me.

So, with nos flying all around and us with no house to buy any more, I suggested we went to see another new build in a neighbouring seaside village. Husband fell in love with the house. I had promised myself I would never live in a new build again. I lost.

And this is basically the story of how, on Easter Monday, we paid a deposit and got ourselves a brand new house. To be fair to the house, it is quite big, the room sizes are great, the garden is pretty decent for a new build and we do have (partial) sea views. But I had this dream of stripping floor boards and choosing new bathroom suites which has pretty much been crushed by this house. Oh well, it was meant to be, I suppose. I will have to content myself with decorating and styling what we got – and start a savings account ready for me to rip off the flipping carpets and putting down underfloor heating.

Now the good – and highly stressful! – thing is that they want to complete on the 27th April. As in, next week. So we have been trying to arrange a mortgage and do all the paper work in three weeks, which is partly the reason I haven’t been here!

I have already started designing for the house and will share a bit of my design process here and, hopefully, the execution once we are in. Wish us luck! <3

House search ~ another update!

So, last time, things were not going great. A few days after I wrote that, I decided that enough was enough and I was going to start viewing anything and everything within budget and location. Then, a few days after that, another house came on the market in the village – brilliant, I thought. At this point, there were 4 houses for sale in the village within our budget (and one that is the lottery win buy), but 2 are cottagey and not really my cup of architectural tea.

So, I booked the other two: the one I mentioned in the other post and the recently posted one. The latter (house #1) had the most wonderful garden with sea views (I didn’t even know you could see the sea from the village! I have since noticed you can see it from the road too, I hadn’t noticed before because I was always driving and obviously had eyes on the road), but because of all the land it came with, it was at the top top top of our budget if we stretched it a little bit (you get the idea!) and the house it came with was not that great. I was mentally extending and knocking down walls as I walked through it and, unfortunately, we wouldn’t have the money to buy the house and improve it. So that was a no.

The other one (house #2) was a different matter: we really really liked the space. The photos on the website don’t do it justice at all, it’s very spacious and bright – though it could do with being reconfigured. But the price! We are sort of ok with the price but, like I said, it has been on the market for a long time with no price changes. I am not sure what to think, really.

We also viewed a bungalow (house #3) just by the sea a couple of villages down the road – but it needs too much work – and the David Wilson new build (house #4) I mentioned on the previous post. To eat my words a little bit, husband really likes it as a space but everyone loves show homes, don’t they? They are made to be loved. They are warm, they are bright, they smell nice. We then visited one of their other type of houses on site and, to be honest, I felt a bit sorry for the neighbour on the back, who (potentially) paid £500k for their house only to have their garden and kitchen massively overlooked. I hope they got a nice discount. The one husband likes have views to open fields to the front and is apparently very nice, so who know, we might be visiting again.

We are viewing house #2 again tomorrow and had pretty much decided it was a toss up between 2 and 4 when, yesterday, another house (#5) came on the market. It is literally 5 doors down from us and every time I go past I think “what a gorgeous house!” but (and it’s a big but!) they bought it last year, haven’t done anything to it which I know because I have been stalking the house market in this area since 2014 and are now trying to sell it for £40k more than they bought it for. It is, again, at the top top top of our budget and I could certainly live with it as it is, but I would be itching to rip carpets out (I hate carpets) and knock down walls, so I don’t know. We are viewing it on Monday, if only to rule it out (or possibly replace #4 as possible contender).

So, basically, this is the situation now: choosing between what is available. I have to confess I have already mentally moved to house #2 – if you follow me on Instagram you probably have seen all the floor samples I have got for a house that isn’t mine (and I haven’t even made an offer on yet!). I promise I am not crazy! 😀

Watch this space next week to see what happens in the next chapter!

The house search ~ update #1

We have now been in Wales for two months. We still haven’t viewed a single house. Why?, you ask. Well, I think it is well known that the market sort of die around Christmas times and slowly picks up again towards Easter. There is not much on the market at the moment, there are two houses in the village that I like but are a bit more than I would like to pay for them – one of them has been on the market since May which I think, after our previous experience, means that they are not willing to accept lower offers. They haven’t dropped the price either. I still think we should go and view them at some point.

In the neighbouring villages, there are only new builds, some of them with crazy prices, as in, I might as well have stayed in Berkshire if I wanted to pay or even had 3/4 of a million pounds for a 4 bed. And I am seriously unwilling to pay £375k for a Barratt David Wilson home, I mean, that is what we used to live in and the quality leaves a lot to be desired, if I am honest.

So this is where we stand at the moment. I wish our landlords would decide to sell their house, I would be so grateful not to have to move again!

When things go pear-shaped

So. How do I even begin to write this post? Oh well. In house selling and house buying, it seems that things rarely go the way it’s planned – or at least these are the stories the internet tells you. I thought we would be different and everything would go nice and smoothly. After all, there was no chain to speak of – our buyers were renting their old place out, our sellers weren’t looking to buy anything. But, boy, were we wrong!

It all started two weeks or so after we accepted the offer on our house. We came to Wales to look at our first shortlist and apart from one house – which was a bit too small for us -, nothing was right. One house was gorgeous, but had views to a demolition site. Another had loads of space and potential, but also a sewage station in the front garden. The one we did like went under offer on the next Monday, before we could even think about it. So we made a second shortlist. And off to Wales we went.

This time, there were three. One was a bit over what we would have liked to spend, and it really needed doing up. Second one was ugly, so so ugly, but inside it was bright, the garden was massive and it was really cheap. Third one was slightly more than number two, but one of the three bedrooms was really small and we weren’t sure we would fit. In the end, it was a toss up between 2 and 3, and 2 won. It was in a lovely village, just next to the school, a 5 minute drive from husband’s work. It all seemed perfect. Until we started dealing with the seller.

In the immortal words of Janice, OH MY GOD. Everything was a chore. Getting insurance? Nope. Checking the boiler? Nope. Japanese knotweed? No idea. But we really liked it and we really wanted it, so we let it go. At one point, about two weeks after our offer was accepted – another chore, by the way -, I actually told husband that I thought the seller actually didn’t want to sell.

For some reason, they decided they wanted to complete on the 2nd November. I really didn’t want to move on the 2nd November. That is my birthday, for starts. I wanted to spend my birthday having fun, not moving house. But the estate agent insisted that the seller needed 10 weeks from offer to complete. Fine. We really wanted the house, so we went along with that. Then the date started moving. And they needed two weeks between exchange and completion for some. And  then our buyer solicitor, who had been quiet for a very long time, started asking questions and wouldn’t accept the answers for them.

The seller, then, decided on a date, and said that if we didn’t exchange by said date, she would pull out. On the date, everything ready to go, our solicitor ring the buyer solicitor and, ta da, he’s gone home at 2 and wouldn’t be back until Monday. FML. On Monday, everyone ready, seller sticks to her word and says she’s not selling any more. She went and renewed her mortgage over the weekend and didn’t want to pay the early leaving fee. We offered to pay the fee for her. She says no. On exchange day, we are homeless. The market had been really bad in our old area and, to be honest, the house full of boxes to the brim, we couldn’t afford to lose our buyers as there was not a chance I could have made it viewings-ready again without renting an industrial sized unit somewhere. So we went ahead with the sale, the buyers agreed to wait for us to find somewhere to rent.

So, the next weekend, we booked a few viewings, found a house in the same village we were buying, they accepted us and here we are. We ended up moving a week before the completion date, which meant frantic packing, abandoned Brownies pack 🙁 , retrieving child’s school place (we had already told headteacher the sale had fallen through) and transporting desperate cats, child and stuff in a Fiat Panda across the country – originally we would go in two tiny cars, but husband and I both had to sign the rental agreement so we just drove in one car and he went back on the train to deal with the movers and cleaning the old house.

So, here we are. In Wales. Finally. But we haven’t found a house yet – very little on the market at the moment, hopefully it will pick up for Easter. We – finally! – have internet in the house now, so there is no excuse for me not writing now. Child is going back to school on Monday, and we are enjoying the down time, the flipping wind the beach, the community spirit. Let’s see what 2018 brings us!