House Hunting - Part 1
Exciting times are afoot in our household. We had a call a few weeks back from our landlord wanting to find out our position: did we want to buy the house we are renting from him? We moved into it as a desperate resort at the time and for a desperate resort, it was pretty amazing. Freshly decorated, complete with new kitchen and carpet, we couldn't have asked for more. It had plenty of space for the meantime and on top of everything else,, was bang opposite the school for the children. Perfect.
However, it was always meant to be a stop gap on the way to our proper home back in 2016. We were at the time, part-way through buying somewhere (which fell through) and we just had the (ahem) minor hiccup of selling our house we'd left behind in order for things to progress. At first, we really thought we'd only be there for about 6 months or so, but that turned into a year and then two. Suddenly, we were heading towards year three, with boxes still unpacked and I was looking at the paint work thinking it was really due for a little TLC..
Then the landlord called and brought us out of our bubble. Would we be interested in buying the house? I put it to Mr B - no, he said. He had never connected with this house. Always felt it was a rental and very temporary. Ok, I said, shall we look at raising some money and finding somewhere to buy elsewhere? With a bit of jiggling, we might just be able to do it.
I found a local financial advisor, had a telephone interview and from here, I found out a ball park figure to aim for. A quick excited search on Rightmove and Zoopla threw up our options and I homed in on a kooky property that might just suit us all.
Hey, I said later that evening. I've found a wild - card online. Do you want to go and look at it?
The house needs a lot of work - mostly cosmetic, but still at an estimate around £20-30k. What we're really looking at however, i's future proofing. We have to take on board the likelihood that the children will still be at home into their twenties. We also regularly have overnight guests and we need somewhere they can sleep in a private room, with a closed door i.e. not the living room sofa. Mr. B has long dreamt of a gaming room: ridiculously oversized screen with 3d audio. We as a family love our movies, so this could be the slash cinema room too.
• Dream house check list •
At least 4 bedrooms (one room for guests) that can fit double beds
Kitchen big enough for seats in (for cooking chats)
Airy with good light throughout
South facing garden
Not overlooked by other properties
Near to amenities
Yep. This place has all of the above. Or at least could have if reworked. Hurrah! With a bit of careful planning, it could be stunning when finished and pretty much everything we're looking for in a home.
It's very easy to get carried away however.
After viewing, we spoke again to the our financial advisor. Right, we've found somewhere but we need to know how much money we could get, to play with. It's no good getting hold of this house and then living in a shit pit for years, while we scrabble around cobbling money together. No thanks. Been there, done that and it's grotty. We want to be able to go in and BOOM! sort it all out in a big a hit as possible.
Leave it with me, he said. I just need a few details from you both.
It took us five days to gather the "few" details. Bank statements, payslips, photo ID, mortgage documents and a breakdown of our monthly spend. It's easy to get a little anxious, worrying what if someone comes in the meantime and puts an offer in? But the key is to put that thought away and rationalise.
The house had been on the market for almost a year. It's not hot property.
It's run down
It's a kooky layout and not everyone's cup of tea.
So, just relax while finance guy does his thang.
• A few days later •
It turns out that because I'm on a zero hours contract, that's a big fat NO as far as mortgage lenders are concerned. Pants. Of course this makes complete sense. It's just a bit of a hiccup. Everything else is looking green for go.
Suppose I'd better sort this bit of my life out next then, hey?