House-hunting

Dear blogging friends, things have moved on considerably since I last posted. We’ve sold our house (finally) and have now put in an offer on another one. The offer is being submitted today to the owners (who live in Canada) and I’m really anxious about how this is going to work out. I don’t know if I’ll be more relieved if we get the house or if we don’t.

I also have a sneaking suspicion that we have sold short and bought long. I tend to over-think these things but ‘buyer’s remorse’ is a real possibility here. Our prospective new house has a lot of potential but it also has some glaring flaws. It needs a completely new kitchen to start with and it also has only one bathroom. There are other numerous little irritating flaws and the house needs a lot of TLC.

It will be exciting if we get it but there has been so much interest in this house in a very short space of time that we practically had to beat the other buyers back just to get in the door. When we first arrived to meet the agent, another buyer was camped out the front gate with a child on one hip, her cellphone clamped to her ear and another child sleeping in the car. As a result, we felt bad about taking too long with our viewing since we knew that one of us (or the agent) would need to wait outside while she went in to have a look. I eventually kept watch over the sleeping child while the mother (with the other girl in a backpack) made her inspection. Her ruthlessness in leaving her daughter with a complete stranger did make me wonder how cunning and calculated she might be in the house-buying stakes as well.

Returning to the house, we were pleased that it has a much bigger garden than our current house with space for a pool. It has some nice period touches, solid wooden floors and ‘good bones’ (as the agent tried to spin it to us). There is also the possibility of turning the single garage into a practice room / study for me. On the downside, it has an absolutely awful kitchen and only one bathroom. The ceilings and built-in cupboards are in need of some serious paint and in total we are probably looking at about two months of work before we can move in.

But one step at a time. Submit. Wait. Then plan.

I’m both confident and unsure at the same time. The agent is submitting at least one other offer at the same time and we’ve lost out before so we are pretty worried. The agents’ expression when she heard how much we were prepared to pay was definitely one of surprise but the words she used were “very fair”.

The part of this that makes me sick to my stomach is the comparison between this house and some of the other properties that we are seeing. Admittedly these houses are a bit more expensive but the finishing in some of these places is immaculate. The pools are gleaming, the wood is polished and we find ourselves totally charmed and entranced. These homes purr and prance by comparison. They also have flaws or aspects of them which are not quite right for us. And this new house has a cheerful garden and puts on a brave face on a sunny day. But it’s been badly neglected and I wonder if we aren’t being seduced by the challenge.

Another time I should tell you about our experience of the “wheeler-dealer” estate agent that sold our house. We fired her after she broke our trust but she managed to wheedle her way back into the picture and then cleverly shoehorned both us and the prospective buyers into a deal. On the night that we finally signed, Leah told her to “stop talking” and then put her finger to her lips with a loud “Sshhh!” But that’s another story. Have a good weekend.

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4 Responses to House-hunting

  1. Corri says:

    Aach buying and selling houses: not sure which one is the most nerve wrecking. Good luck!

  2. Charlotte says:

    Good luck with the offer, Pete! Hope to hear good news soon.

  3. Pete says:

    Thanks Corri and Charlotte. Yay, we got the house!! Now for the difficult part … the renovation. But today we drink a toast to a successful house-hunt!

  4. litlove says:

    In our VAST experience of buying houses (we’ve bought precisely two of them), we’ve always found that replacing the kitchens and bathrooms is going to happen anyway, because that’s where the thought of other people occupying the space before you becomes a tad repellent. Then there is huge pleasure in making a house your own and transforming it into a home. It does take time, and we used to rope all the family in (best way to see them, in fact, when there were jobs to be done) as it really helps to have more hands. Congratulations! on having purchased it and the thought of you being able to have a private practice right by your own home is pretty exciting, no? I look forward to the renovation stories….!

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