Finding A House
- Try and narrow down your area by what you are looking for. Do you want to improve your social life? Have a countryside retreat? Have neighbours or become a hermit? If it is the latter your best bet may be to buy a caravan, tent or even a wigwam and purchase a field in the back of beyond. We didn’t want to be hermits just yet and went for to a mix of country and social. Therefore, we have decided on a location that not only has fantastic countryside walks but it is rumoured to have twenty-nine pubs hidden throughout the little village. I think it is safe to say we will never go thirsty.
- What will your commute be like? What would be the point in buying your dream house if it takes you hours to get to and from work? Unless you have a supercar or you wanted to avoid cooking, cleaning and your house mates (I won’t mention any names but we do not have a supercar and one of the LuLu’s has a much longer commute, sometimes from a different country, and no, it is not me)
- Which estate agents do you want to go with? Pushy, condescending, welcoming ? We thought welcoming was the best bet and thats proved right so far, fingers crossed!
Looking At Houses
- Make sure you have a mix of houses to look at. We looked at an old, high ceiling, upside down ex-schoolhouse that was in front of a graveyard. We then looked at a lovely little cottage with lots of nice and much more ‘alive’ looking neighbours. The cottage, and the land of the living, won. The only positive side for the first house would be that it would be fantastic for a halloween party but that might not be the best reason for buying a house.
- Decide if the houses you are looking at will be big enough (everyone needs their own space) but not so big that you will never see other household members! However, that could be a bonus depending on who you live with.
- Make sure you know what you need. If you have a car where will you put it? No one likes having to carry a ton of shopping, for miles and usually up some form of hill, just because they chose a house with no parking in an area where it is the survival of the fittest. In situations like this it is usually either the zippy city cars which are fine and can park in spots that no one else would dare to, or the big 4×4 which muscle their way in to secure the prized parking spaces.
- One important thing my Nana taught me – always have a nosey at the neighbours houses and in my Nana’s own words ‘ I didn’t like the house as the next door neighbours had dirty milk bottles on their doorstep’. In other words, if you are house proud then make sure your neighbours are to. No one wants to spend a long time on their house if they live next door to a mini tip or a house that appears to be auditioning for a set of a horror film.
- If you have pets make sure you scope out the neighbours. If you bring , for example, a cat and the next door neighbours have a chicken coup then I can envisaged there being a potential problem. This could end up lots of strewn feathers and a scene from neighbours at war.
Knowing When It Is The Right House
- Does it feel right? Is it a nice atmosphere? Can you call it home? If you answered no to these then turn around and leave. However, do this politely as there may be your dream house on the same street and the people you are about to offend may become your new neighbours. Now, that could be awkward every morning when you collect your post.
- Can you see yourself living there or does lots of work need doing. If your first reaction to the kitchen and bathroom is one of horror, or you instantly reach for your sunglasses and a neurofen, then unless you are a keen DIYer – STEP AWAY FROM THE HOUSE!!
- Are you already dreaming about where to put your own items and what themes you would use? This is always a good sign although, even if it is tempting, try not to voice any big changes you would make. Proclaiming you would change everything in the house might not portray you in the most favourable light with the present homeowners, especially when it gets to the negotiating part and you realise you do really need those curtains you had informed them you would tear down. Sometimes, silence really is golden.
- Finally, we knew it was the right house when we left when were able to breathe and contemplated where we were going to put the Christmas tree.
- What can I say but thank goodness we are part of the Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet royal family. I now have a spreadsheet for furniture in every room, meal plans, house essentials, any modifications to the house, what to do in the local area and amenities. This is the fun part of the house buying process. The other essential lists of solicitors, surveys, deposits etc can be very stressful. My coping mechanism – hot chocolate (or something stronger) and a good nights sleep. Hopefully the other half is dealing with the not so fun things. I think. Otherwise we will have no house to move into. I definitely had the offer accepted because I was the one who did that bit but prehaps I should check the other things? It would be a shame if we discovered the house was melting after neither of us arranged a survey.
- Here is when you discover just how much stuff you already have, don’t need and definitely do not want. Who knew I had a random coat stand and a poster of an antique map? I certainly didn’t but I fully intend to use them to save my car remaining like a temporary cloakroom and to try to increase my alarmingly poor Geography skills. Well, the latter might need more work. A lot more work, but it is the thought that counts. Although, maybe a n antique map isn’t the way round as I think it still portrays the world being flat.
- Bubble wrap and old newspapers are great for wrapping glass just make sure you put ‘fragile’ on the box otherwise it will be mildly upsetting when you chuck the packed box into the car only to hear the dreadful peal of shattering glass. It will also help avoid any arguments between the culprit of the box throwing and the person who lovingly packed each individual item.
- This is a great time to dust of the cobwebs, quite literally sometimes, and have a cull of everything you don’t need. If you find T-Shirts you havent worn for years then you are not going to start wearing them now just because you are in a new house (unless they say ‘ I have just moved into a new home’). Either take it to charity shop or if it is beyond wear turn it into a cushion or duster. Perfect!
- If you can, do it in stages and try to decorate before you move all furniture in.
- Make sure you know what is in each box and where it is going. It can be frustrating unpacking a box you thought was for the kitchen only to find lots of shoes or gardening tools. It will also save time on the usual rummaging through every box until you find the things you want to unpack first. Typically, it always hapens to be in the last box you check.
- Make an effort to say hello to your neighbours. Don’t just move in, close the curtains and turn your stereo on loudly. That might see your invitation for a possible New Years Party revoked. Conversely, they may think you are a party animal and turn up to your house on New Years Eve expecting a party.
- If neighbours introduce themselves try to remember their name. I find it helps if you write down their name after you have spoken to them. Don’t write it down as soon as you have introduced themselves, and whilst they are still there, as you may as well give everyone a name badge! It is also useful to write down their house numbers by their name then they will be amazed when you send them a Christmas card that is actually addressed to them and not just to their house.
- If all else fails, try to win over the neighbours by inviting them over for a cuppa. My stellar plan of attack shall be to make a mass supply of my secret weapon to serve with tea or coffee. That is right. Bring on the Gingerbread men.