Our Home - A Background

Sunday, 5 February 2017

In December 2016 we bought our home. It had been months of stress, and we were glad to see the back of it. I got to the point where any time my phone rang, I felt a little sick as I was sure it was going to be bad news about our purchase.

We originally viewed it all the way back in early June. It had been on the market for months at this rate, and the asking price had been reduced by £10k. It was being rented out to three students, and had been advertised as for buy-to-let only, but recently changed to "suitable for first time buyers".
Just getting to see the place was a faff. The agency didn't work weekends, just Saturday mornings, and they were "fully booked" for Saturday mornings for 2 weeks. So we both took a day off work to view it on a week day. Less than 15 minutes away from the house we got a phonecall to say it had been sold to someone else and the viewing was cancelled. We managed to persuade them to let us see the house anyway, but they told us the students living there would have to show us around as the agent already had another appointment.

The students themselves were nice and let us in and showed us around. The house was clearly a place that wasn't really cared for. There were patches of damp between the walls and ceilings, a big patch of ceiling painted cream (the rest of the ceiling was white) were some repair job had taken place, and the bathroom had black mould growing on the grouting and ceiling. But we could see the potential, so we made a counter offer that afternoon.

Sadly the offer was rejected, and we had to move on. But we struggled to find somewhere else we liked. We'd been house hunting for months by this point and were getting fed up.

Number Three on the day we completed!Then, one week after Britain's EU referendum (known as "Brexit"), the house popped back up on Rightmove! Even though we'd made an offer before, no one from the agency called us to ask if we were still interested! They just put it back up online. After discussing it we decided to make another offer, only lower. After three weeks of chasing the Agency, who only told us the vendors were on holiday after I'd chased for a response 3 times, we were finally accepted and began the buying process officially!

We got our mortgage offer quickly and arranged a solicitor, but the vendors were dragging their feet. We'd agreed the price back in mid-July, and by August were still waiting. Then at the end of August the agents called us to say that the students were refusing to move out, and were invoking a clause in their contract that would let them stay.

So we called off our purchase. We'd made it clear right from the start that we were buying the house to move in to, not to rent out. After yelling at the agent I burst in to tears, I couldn't believe that we'd come to so close to finally getting the house that it was now out the window. Three days later a very sheepish agent phoned me and asked if we were still interested in purchasing? They'd found alternative accommodation for the students, who would be moving in the next 24 hours, and our purchase was back on.

After that it was relatively smooth sailing. Given the general neglected air of the place we decided to get a full building survey, which came back with lots of little problems (evidence of mice or rats in the roof, an out of date fusebox in the kitchen, minor damp in rooms which would be sorted with proper ventilation) but nothing major. We also had an electrical test carried out, which confirmed that although the plugs were old they were still in working order, we would just need to get the fusebox replaced if we wanted any work done in the future as it was about a decade out of date.

So when we finally got the keys in December we walked in to a house that had been empty since the beginning of September. It had been cleared out by the lettings/estate agents (although one of the wardrobes appeared to have been ripped apart in the process, leaving lots of fragments of MDF scattered across a bedroom carpet) and just left. There was an enormous pile of uncollected post on the floor, a smell of damp in the air, a seriously neglected back garden and muddy boot prints all over the place. But it was ours, and now I can look back on it and see how far we've come :)

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