Is this the house for us

Still trawling Rightmove…… I think I genuinely am OCD over searching on the website, I look probably 3 times a day just in case something new gets added and I miss it 😂

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< ure this is The One. It's got nearly 1/2 acre✅ It's already had an extension to make a large kitchen ✅ The old garage has been demolished and a modern one built ✅ The garden is a blank canvas ready to go ✅ Ok the kitchen needs remodelling, and an en-suite needs adding but otherwise it's got all the basics. Unfortunately it's a bit out of our price range whilst we still own our Oxford house but..... I need to be resourceful! I've booked a viewing for Saturday, in case someone comes along to buy it under our noses (again) Let's see how that goes. We viewed the house and loved it, trouble is 2 other people have viewed it and one person has had a 2nd viewing already! Hmmm I find the whole thing so stressful, now we’ve got to see if we can raise the extra finance and get an offer in ASAP if we want it.

To be honest if someone does put in a full asking price offer, I’m not going to get into a bidding war with them, the asking price is really what it’s worth so I wouldn’t be prepared to go any higher anyway.

So we’ve had our offer accepted 🎉🎉🎉 now to pay for a valuation to finalise our mortgage offer. That’s the nerve wracking bit …..what if another seller pulls out!

Back to the drawing board

Sunday – We’ve picked ourselves up after the last disappointment and have got back onto Rightmove with gusto, the only trouble is I don’t think there is anything there in our price range in the area we want. It doesn’t matter how many times a day I go on to look, no new houses that match our criteria are being added! Are we really that picky or do houses with good size (I really big BIG) gardens not exist?

Monday – Ooh wait, I just spotted a possibility, hmmm I’m rather put off by the artex ceilings and the property seems to be surrounded on all sides by well manicured but clearly hard work to maintain, conifer hedging! That would be two expensive items we’d have to get rid of before we start.
But on the plus side the garden, without the encroaching conifer hedge, is massive and already contains 2 very large greenhouse and a poly tunnel, they get big ticks from me, you can see where my priorities lie!

It would need a big extension and completing remodelling with a new kitchen and bathroom but that’s fine.

Definitely worth a view, just a question of when. The evenings are too dark now for an evening viewing and travelling next Saturday would be a long way from Oxford.

Tuesday – I rang the estate agent to arrange a viewing, the property has already sold within hours of it going on the market apparently! I’m starting to get the distinct impression things are not going our way, oh well good luck with the artex whoever has bought it, not that I’m bitter.

Another super one came on the market today, so as soon as I saw it, I thought I’ll ring the agent and arrange a viewing clearly this area is popular and things are selling fast, only to be told after placing her house on the market for 2 hours the seller has got cold feet over the timings and has withdrawn her property for sale.

This is definitely not my week, but what is it with sellers getting cold feet, this property buying and selling is turning out to be the most impossible job! I would just leave trying to buy all together for a while but we continue to pay ‘dead money’ for rent on the weekday flat which I’d rather not, so I’ll continue looking, let’s see what gets added tomorrow.

A house move is planned….

First job when looking for a new house, once you’ve set a budget, and fixed on an area, is to get on to Rightmove. The bible of all houses for sale everywhere.

Our budget was fixed +/- £20,000 and our area was decided on within a 10 mile radius or so of our jobs. We also took into account where our family is located and areas we were already familiar with. We had our list of requirements; location, proximity to shops, big garden, potential to extend, at least 3 beds, decent amount of off-road parking. Pretty much everything else would be addressed once we had extended and made it our own.

Perfect, we narrowed down potential properties to …………one! The only one which ticked all the boxes.

A viewing and 2nd viewing confirmed it was just right with potential, it even had planning permission for an extension, albeit not quite as we would want it but at least it was there.

A search on the internet revealed the sellers had tried to sell a number of times before (Zoopla historic data) so clearly were keen to move out. They were buying a property with no upward chain so we fixed an ideal completion date of the end of our school term in December which meant we could all aim to a common point which everyone was happy with.

Solicitors were appointed, the mortgages, both buy to let and porting on the existing mortgage were agreed, all we needed to do was to pay for a valuation/ home buyers report to get the mortgage finalised. But suddenly everything went very quiet, the sellers had changed their solicitor and would need to restart the process.

With their new solicitors in place, my solicitor wanted money upfront to conduct the searches, ‘just as soon as their paperwork comes through’ We started to get nagging doubts, why was everything quiet, where was their paperwork? So I asked the solicitor to let me know as soon as the paperwork arrived and I’d send the money over for the searches, my nagging doubt meant I didn’t want to spend money if anything fell through. She understood.

Pressed by our mortgage provider though, we paid for the valuation just to get the process underway. That came back satisfactory and our mortgage company rang to say everything was in place and the paperwork would be sent to our solicitor. It was all systems go…… or so we thought!

The following day, the dreaded phone call arrived, the seller had decided not to sell after all, apparently they were having some problems with buying, I fully suspect they couldn’t get a new mortgage. He was self-employed, she was part-time it was never going to be straightforward. However we think they had known this from day one, but were ever hopeful! I wish we had known about the ever hopeful optimist before we had even got started on the process and not only paid out money, but had invested heart and soul in the property.

How deflated do we feel right now, and cheated of the opportunity we had planned for. Back to the drawing board seems a hard task to contemplate now.

Not Such a Great Idea – the ongoing saga

So what was the plan going to be now the market had fallen flat and we were paying to live in weekday accommodation. Too late that we already had new jobs, in a new area too far to commute to our old house.

Of course Mr OCG had said we’d done it the wrong way round, he thought we should’ve sold and moved house and commuted back to our old job until we found new jobs. But as always it’s a chicken and egg situation, what if you’d relocated everything only to find the perfect job didn’t exist in the area you’d moved too. Hmmm no doubt it’s a real dilemma, but no doubt once everything is sorted it will have been worth it! Famous last words!

So back too the drawing board, what about taking extra mortgage against our existing property loan, we have plenty of equity in the Oxford house and we only want a ‘cheap’ house in the Midlands, that might work. But no! Contacting our mortgage provider they were winding down the product gradually and whilst they were happy for us to port our mortgage to a new property they were not offering any new borrowing. Transferring to a new lender entirely wouldn’t work as you need to show you can cope with your normal mortgage for 6 to 12 months before extra borrowing can be arranged.

A google search on options revealed a ‘new type of mortgage customer’ Let to Buy. It seems a whole host of people out there are in the same boat as us, a need to sell in order to move to a new job, but unable to, quick enough. So clearly a new market has emerged, let your house out while you buy a new one. Of course there are conditions attached, the main one being the amount you can ‘release’ from your property to buy your next one is based on the amount you can rent the property out for.

Fortunately for us, Oxford area commands high rental values so our house would potentially rent for high enough to release enough money when combined with our ported mortgage to buy a house (in need of extension and modernisation) in our new area. Perfect, we now have a budget to buy somewhere in the Midlands the additional monthly cost for which is going to less than the cost of our weekday rental. It also means we can start putting down roots in our new area and although the new house wouldn’t be great, after all we still need to wait for Oxford to sell before we can do the big extension and renovations we have planned, at least we are getting started.

Not Such a Great Idea 


So Easter holiday was a blur of getting the house ready for sale, deep clean, sort out all those odd jobs that have been waiting to be done and so on and finally we could get an estate agent on board to sell. The For Sale sign went up, estate agent details were produced and we were on Rightmove and then suddenly…

Brexit negotiations were announced;

A snap general election was called;

Plans to build 4000 homes on land around our village were announced!

All of which, according to our agent, meant “the market has gone very slow” or should I re-phrase that ‘stopped altogether’ but as the agent said, stay calm, be patient the market will pick up as soon as the election is over. So patient we were, and despite the lack of viewings really felt the house would sell and we would be ready to move to the Midlands for September for the start of our new jobs.

Oops how wrong could we be and by the July summer holiday we had to re-think at least the short term. I had heard of where people would list rooms to rent in their homes. Perfect I thought, until I realised after ringing a few adverts that no one wanted couples! We persevered checking the ads daily until finally the perfect advert came up. Someone’s ‘granny flat’ above a garage was available Monday to Friday on a short term basis. It was in a lôvely village conveniently placed for both our jobs and with lovely views!

We signed up and looked forward to the start of the new term. In the meantime we had a couple of viewings but nothing serious. You realise how many people have a hobby of looking round peoples home even though their own house isn’t up for sale. Others who sell their own house then view houses they can’t afford as they are at least £100,000 more.

Still, with no sign of the market in the area picking up, we still were in need of a plan

To be continued……..

#interiors #interiordesign #home #houses

A Good Idea

Have you ever had one of those ‘great ideas’ and are now beginning to re-think it was ever great!

A couple of years ago after much discussion with Mr OCG we decided we just couldn’t bear to have to work until we are 67 so it would be a great idea if we could semi-retire or at least go part time by the time we are 55. We also realised that our 2 adult sons, having moved to the Midlands to go to university were in fact settling down there. Perfect we thought, we can move to the Midlands, where we grew up anyway and where our extended family still live. So we will be able to live closer to all our family but particularly our sons. To make this happen we hatched a grand plan.

Within the next few years we will,

Cash in on our, relatively expensive Oxford house, pay off the mortgage and buy a relatively inexpensive house in the Midlands.

Find new jobs in the Midlands.

Move house with the intention of going part time /semi retirement by 55

What could go wrong?

Haha just 12 months later who would’ve known…….

So thinking that anyone on the wrong side of 50 would struggle to get a new job, last September I began applying thinking I was in for the long haul. Little did I know the first job I applied for, I got! Head of Physics in one of my first choice schools. Oops that threw a spanner in the works, fortunately the job didn’t start until this September so that gave us almost a year for Mr OCG to get a job and for us to sell the house and move.

Mr OCG patiently waited for a DT job to come up in a Midlands school and of course, typically not one came up, hmm what were we going to do…. wait and be patient, thats all we could do.

Then of course all of a sudden just before Easter this year, a great job came up, he applied and got it, hurrah things were dropping into place.

To be continued……..