Monthly Archives: August, 2013
The game I purchased to treat myself, I have a feeling over the next few months I may have some internet-less times so I’ll need a few things to keep me occupied once the packing/unpacking is done (or for when I’ve had enough of it!lol)
The books I have absolutely no idea where they have come from, they both sound good so I’m really pleased to have them but I would love to know who sent them so I could thank them 🙂
I won this camera from the Sony Pictures UK Twitter feed when they ran their ‘After Earth’ competition
These are the rest of the goodies from the Maille BBQ hamper which I won from the Fussfreeflavours blog 🙂
After doing all that research finally getting to look around the houses felt a bit of an anticlimax, especially on some of them! Before we went Dave had done a lot of research online and found what he was supposed to be looking for (traces of damp and odd lumpy walls) but I was more interested in if we would be able to live in the houses.
We have a couple of things here which are very bulky but we had already decided that if we couldn’t fit them into a house then we were prepared to get rid of them which made it easier to find properties to view. If I’d had to fit them both in, the list would have been 1 or 2 houses right from the begining!lol One thing I was concerned about was the kitchens though, it’s probably quite obvious but I love to cook so a small or badly planned kitchen just wouldn’t work for us and so this was the main room I wanted to see in each house!
We did the viewings we have done so far over 2 days, 4 on one and 3 on the other. We said that we’d try to not buy the first house we saw and when we went to see it, it was actually very easy to stick to it. The kitchen, which looked great in the photo’s that the Estate Agent had taken, was actually very tiny and I really don’t think it would hold even half of the gadgets I own let alone give me space to work as well!lol The next one was much better, it was actually very easy to see us living there but that wasn’t surprising really as it was one of the 3 houses we were viewing that was above our budget but this one would be affordable under our extended budget!lol
On to our third house, with this one, it was very nice but the agent who showed us around didn’t seem to know much about it and it was positioned on a very steep hill, all I could imagine the whole time we were there was the number of times I would fall down in the garden (you know how clumsy I am right?lol) and the fourth on this day was another one above budget and it was very nice, it again had everything we were looking for and even had extra rooms that would come in handy somehow and after leaving there we had a lot to take in and process before our last 3 that we had arranged already.
We both had our favourite of those we’d seen and felt pretty much the same way about all 4 but both of our favourites from what we’d seen online were still to come! We started in the one which was Dave’s favourite and this one certainly taught us a lesson. If Estate Agents don’t include a photo of a kitchen, there’s a real good reason for it! This one was tiny, other than the sink unit there was one other base unit with a wall cupboard above but that wasn’t what put me off the most, having the boiler above the cooker did that for me! There was no way we were buying that house, no matter how nice the rest of it was, extending the kitchen out and refitting it would just cost way to much. The next house had a much nicer kitchen but it was still small and I seriously debate the use of the word ‘utility’ to explain the dark store room behind the kitchen!lol
Finally we were off to see my favourite house but this was also the most expensive of them all, it was right at the top of everything we could afford but Dave decided it was worth having a look at anyway. It was lovely, everything we expected it to be from the pictures but …. the Agent really must have used a fish-eye lens on this one, it really wasn’t as big as we were expecting it to be and when compared with the other 2 which were only a little above budget, it didn’t really stand up for itself so we totally ruled that one out.
So this is where we are right now, we’ve viewed some houses, met some Estate Agents and learned a bit more about how they market the houses. Now we just need to find our home and I’ll keep you updated on what happens next 🙂
Once we felt we had enough saved up again this year we did the calculations again but this time we had a few different figures in mind. We knew how much we really wanted to pay due to increases in Stamp Duty due to increased purchase price but we also had in mind a price above that which we were prepared to go to IF we found the right property. Finally there was the all in, every penny we can afford value, well, it was nice looking at that sort of house for a while but realism kicks in and we decided we’d really rather have a nice safety net in case of future interest rate rises, surely they can’t stay this low for much longer, can they?
So with that in mind I set up a couple of searches on Rightmove, I mostly used their Draw-a-Search facility, I drew round the areas we would most like to live in and saved that with an upper price a bit above what we could afford (you never know, they might come down!lol) and I also drew a bigger area including areas we wouldn’t mind but probably wouldn’t be our first choice. After doing the searches up popped lots of different types of houses, with a few clicks you can remove types you are not interested in and save ones you like the look of to investigate further.
We knew that we wanted detached, 3 bedrooms & easy parking for us as well as friends/family who come to visit so as you can see to start with we weren’t very fussy about what we were looking for, the main thing was that I didn’t want Dave to have a big commute into work each day, I’ve done a 2 hour commute myself in the past and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy (well, OK, I might) but I really didn’t want Dave to have to do it!lol
So how did we narrow down the vast array of choices? By looking at the houses that were on offer is how but not just what they look like, really studying them and we were quite surprised by some of the things we found! After knocking off any houses that didn’t fit in with our criteria already we were still faced with many so we started making other choices and knocking houses out that way. First went any without drives, then ones that only had one toilet (well, it’d be nice to have one each!lol) and finally for this bit, out went any houses on or too near main roads/shopping areas. This really narrowed it down a lot for us and by now we had around 30 houses to have a look at but this still felt too many so we decided to investigate some more!
The first thing I did was to look at each house on Google maps and Streetview, this helped me rule a few out due to their location on the road they were in and one due to the huge lorry thundering past just as the streetview camera was!lol My next port of call was the Office for National Statistics, Neighbourhood Statistics page, just by entering the postcodes of each house we could look up general information about the area but there wasn’t anything too scary in any of the areas we looked at so that didn’t narrow it down any for us. Finally after the last few years we decided to look at the Environment Agency’s Flood risk maps and we did decide that we wouldn’t go for a house on a flood plain. We’ve seen the devastation that flooding causes on the news and would hate to go through that ourselves and this did actually knock quite a few houses from our lists.
The last method we used to get our list of houses to view was to drive by them a couple of times. Just to get a feel for the areas and how people live in them at different times of the day. I was surprised by a couple of them as they turned out the roads were a bit of a ‘rat run’ even though it didn’t look like it from the maps, sometimes you can’t rely on google I guess!lol So now we had a shortlist of around 10 houses, next we had to actually view some!