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LIFE Midweek Musings

Midweek Musings: Househunting hell

househunting-hell

The beautiful shared grounds of a Span property we viewed last week. Not pictured: the busy main road on the other side 🙁

Hello hello. I didn’t blog last week because I was in the midst of the most painful househunting search of all time. In fact, I’m still in the midst of it, but thought I ought to write something down on here so that hopefully one day I can look back and laugh at what we went through. Hmm. Since we lost the dream house, we have put offers in on two other houses (bear in mind that this is a time period of just a week and a half) of which one was accepted for AN HOUR before being ‘unaccepted’ when someone put in a higher bid (we were told we weren’t able to increase our offer either, which smacks of developers giving the agents backhanders if you ask me); and the other which was tentatively accepted but with the caveat ‘were we aware that the house had been underpinned?’ The guarantee for the underpinning had now expired and it was impossible to get insurance. Sigh. We pulled out.

Every waking hour at the moment is spent on Rightmove and On the Market, just trying to find something – anything – that would ‘do’. We’ve long since given up on finding another dream house and it’s actually crazy that considering what a huge decision this is, we’re now prepared to just settle for any old house that roughly meets our criteria. Unfortunately one of the main issues (self-created admittedly) is our criteria does change a lot – sometimes we think sod it, let’s stick two fingers up at London, its pollution and its ridiculous house prices and escape to the country, other times we think there’s no way we could cope with not being within spitting distance of a tube.

This time of year is supposed to be the busiest for the housing market but I can honestly say that there’s hardly anything coming onto the market – we check every morning what’s come on in the last 24 hours in our 400 search areas and there’s usually only one or two new properties at the most. And they all go under offer so quickly! It’s crazy – you even have to fight to get a viewing (with estate agents laughing at you when you request to see ‘extremely popular’ properties and then telling you they’re far too busy to fit you in).

So yes. It’s crap. In order to wrestle back some feeling of control however, this week we did manage to buy a new car. Saturday was a fun day – ordering a new car + rushing to get to viewings of two houses – as the estate agent pointed out ‘you don’t do things by halves do you?’. Anyway we’re picking up the car on Friday, and I’m both excited and terrified about this. It’s a super practical, super boring Volkswagen Tiguan and we’ve got it on some ridiculous finance deal which took eighteen hours to organise and means we don’t actually own it but is bizarrely the cheapest way for us to be able to drive something that won’t fall apart on the A3.

On top of all this madness, I have client work coming out of my eyeballs (not really) and Oli is trying to organise everything for his show at the Edinburgh Festival in August. We are communicating in grunts of ‘Have you seen this house?’ and ‘What time do you want to eat dinner?’ and the rest of our time is spent either entertaining Daphne, driving to see houses or with our heads in front of a screen. Oh what fun it is in our house at the moment!

On the upside, Daphne is a TOTAL JOY and has started blowing raspberries at us whenever we look at her. Which just about puts everything into perspective really.

LIFE Midweek Musings

Midweek Musings: We lost the house

househunting-lifebylotte

The garden that wasn’t meant to be

So it turns out I must be cursed. Surely it can’t be normal to have the vendor of a house you’re buying pull out of the sale TWO DAYS before you’re meant to exchange, TWICE? But alas, that’s what’s happened to us. We found out yesterday that, after months of messing us about, the elderly lady we’d been buying our little midcentury house in Wimbledon from had decided once and for all that she didn’t want to move after all, and pulled out. She’d already had a little ‘wobble’ as she’d called it, a few weeks ago, but we’d been to view it again and she’d reassured us that she did indeed want to move and that she was happy to sell it to us, with exchange set for this Thursday (I think she liked the idea that it was going to a young family).

She was supposed to be buying a brand new retirement home just around the corner, but the developers had been very very pushy with her, trying to get her to move sooner than she wanted to, and I think in the end the whole thing became far too stressful for her. We also found out yesterday that she’s 93! (she lives alone) so it is an incredible amount of upheaval to deal with at her age. I can’t be cross with her.

But my, are we disappointed. What a waste of time, and stress, and money. And like I said, this isn’t the first time this has happened to me – it happened about five years ago when I was trying to buy a house in Tooting Bec – my house was under offer at the time when the woman I was buying from pulled out, and in the end I had no choice but to go into rented accommodation to make sure the sale didn’t collapse. It worked out OK in the end (and is how I came to live in my current flat), but it was literally a year and a half of hassle and aggro, and I remember that trying to find somewhere to rent with a week’s notice was one of the most stressful things I’d ever had to deal with. I suppose I should be grateful that this time we’re not homeless at least.

Anyway, you’ll forgive me for this slightly sombre post. I am so so sick of house hunting now, it feels as though we’ve been doing it forever, and it’s constantly two steps forward, eight steps back. I just want a home, godammit, and somewhere for Daphne to sit outside in the summer! I know in comparisons to millions of others we’re lucky to have my flat but we’re just so on top of each other all the time, especially as we both work from home, and there’s just simply not enough space.

So yes. Boo. Sigh. Sob. Onwards. Etc.