At the age of 33, adulthood is finally catching up on me after years of denial. Myself and my girlfriend are buying a house.
I've never owned a house before, instead living in a variety of house share situations, so this is a big move. Currently we both live together in a rented house, but that's sharing one room in a house with four other guys.
Also, the housemates are all good at the moment, but you never know when the next nutjob is going to turn up. The worst I've had here was a guy from the Ukraine who was a chef. Most nights, he would get in late from his job but, apart from hearing the front door and his bedroom door opening, you wouldn't hear a thing. However, when you did him, you REALLY heard him.
About once or twice a month he would come home absolutely off his face and make a load of noise until 3-4am. When we had to take him to task over this, the landlord tried to help by buying him headphones for his TV. However, it wasn't the TV or his sound system that was the problem, it was him.
He would come home and rap to himself in English. A mixture of aggressive swearing and nonsense, mostly revolving around the phrase "shut your fucking mouth". Which was ironic.
Headphones cannot help here, because it was him making the noise. There's no device that cuts off noise from the vocal chords and transmits it straight in to your head, because that's called an internal monologue, AKA thinking. No-one gets wasted on a night out, comes home, and spends a good few hours getting high and thinking!
So we started looking at a house we can buy together, and at the same time trying to work through the myriad issues involved in the process, such as mortgages, insurance, buying furniture, etc.
For a start, it's quite something getting my head around the sheer cost, and the pressure that will bring. I remember how upset I was when I wrote off my first car in an accident, because it cost over £1000. A house will cost 100 times that (yes, people in London reading this, I am saying around £100,000 for an actual house. Please don't cry). That said, I'm unlikely to accidentally smash it into another house when I'm not concentrating, but still...
First of all is the issue of actually buying a house. Sally has been there before and had bought a house, so was expecting to look at a load of places, spend some time weighing up the options, then perhaps arranging a few second viewings where you could bring family with you to canvass their opinions. That kind of time is not possible now it seems. The first house we had any vague interest in, there was an offer accepted on it that day and it was gone.
This happened time and again, the market was moving so quick. We found a fantastic house that had just gone on the market and arranged to have a look at it on the Thursday night. It was the owner, Steve, who showed us around, as the estate agent wasn't available, as they had arranged viewings for the Saturday, making us the very first people to look at the place.
We loved it as the owners were a family and had made this house their home, taking great care with it. Most of the places we had seen were empty shells, bought cut price at auction by developers, given a few basic repairs and a cheap carpet, and being re-sold for a profit. This was different.
We talked it over and contacted the estate agent on the Saturday before the other viewings were to take place to put in an offer. He revealed that someone else had already put in an offer above the asking price before they had even seen the property!
That's what we're dealing with here - a market so quick that people are offering to buy places before they've even seen them. It might as well have been put on Ebay!
However, the owner said that as long as we matched the price that had been offered he would sell it to us and take the house off the market. Needless to say the estate agent wasn't happy as they were hoping for a bidding war, or at the very least the chance to organise a naked gladiator tournament. But no, he liked us, and that was that.
We were elated!
However, that was back in November 2015, and here in February 2016 we are still waiting for the purchase to be finalised and to be able to move in.
Whilst we are not in a chain, our seller, and indeed their seller are. Not that the sellers are the problem here. Steve and his family found a house to buy and had an offer accepted within 2 weeks of seeing us. Also, their buyer soon moved out of the house in to his parents so as to not hold up arrangements.
The problem now, is solicitors. Not our solicitors, I'm happy to say. Yes, I'm annoyed we paid our entire deposit to them back in December when it could have stayed in our bank account accruing interest (and, frankly, it was just fun to log in occasionally and look at our bank balance), but overall they've been great.
No, instead, it's a case of the other two sets of solicitors trying to out lie each other as to who is waiting on information from the other for things to go ahead. Essentially, they have both dragged their backsides despite all the actual human beings involved being super eager to get everything done.
It's strange, it's almost like they don't want us all to move. We've already gone through the necessary, although mostly pointless, checks, such as finding out if the HS2 high speed railway is planned to go through our lounge. Apparently, it's not. Thank you very much legal people, have £20.
After much cajoling, going on threatening, of the different solicitors, it appears that the completion date will be with us very soon. Hopefully by next week.
After that the real worry will being. We've already sent ourselves loopy looking online and in stores at options for furniture, beds, white goods, etc. But in the end, it will be our own house. Even if we mess it up, it will be ours. Yikes!
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