When we moved in to our last house in 2007, the garden was just bare patches of grass. After years of effort, with support from my Mother-in-Law, it had really matured and came back looking stunning every spring with minimal effort. When we finally moved in September last year, the thing I felt the most gut-wrenching about leaving was the garden; Many of those plants I had nurtured from something as small as my hand to fully matured and established plants. I would have loved to have taken them with me, but that garden was their home.
2015 has been another challenging year, but more for happy reasons that sad, especially when compared against last year. Whilst the losses of 2014 are still very much felt, the arrival of H at the start of the year brought a bit of sunshine back in to life again. It’s pushed me to many extremes but it’s ultimately been a wonderful year so here is the summary!
Two weeks ago most of our possessions were in boxes and the rest were haphazardly strewn around after being loaded in to a big truck (I didn’t think we had enough to fill it, but apparently we did!) having moved from our house of 8 years to our new family home. We are now pretty well settled in and it’s already feeling like home, but it’s been a hectic and tiring fortnight. Moving is difficult at the best of times, but with an almost-eight-month-old it was even more so. Fortunately she isn’t mobile yet so it could have been a lot harder, but she also won’t just lay passively in a buggy anymore and needs reasonably structured meal and nap times.
Every time I have sat down at my computer to write some blog content over the last week, I have quickly found myself struggling to think of what to write or getting distracted looking at furniture. The reason… my mind has been completely pre-occupied by moving house. My mind has been occupied with ‘logistics’ such as how I will feed H and make sure she has the opportunity to nap. But as the big Moving-Day approaches (on Tuesday, a mere 4 days away. Eeek!) I’m now starting to look round the house, realising in a weeks time we’ll have left forever. After 8 years of living here, it’s really quite sad!
So after the moving trials of 2013, we re-started the house buying / selling process earlier this year. This resulted in the usual expected frustrations of negotiations, mortgage applications and all the other tedious and trying activities that come with moving. However, we finally exchanged on our sale and purchase yesterday!
After the weeks of anxiety and stress, I’m feeling a weight off my shoulders knowing that this is as confident as I can be that the move will go ahead. I won’t be completely relaxed about it until we’ve actually moved in, but at least nobody can pull out now!
So now begins the process of preparing to move. Even with a removal firm packing for us, I’m still already trying to work out the logistics of packing and moving day and the impact that will have on H. I am sure she’ll take it in her stride but I have a feeling that I’ll be very thankful for Grandparents and Ella’s Kitchen pouches over those two days!
Sam and I are trying to move again. We’re still slightly burned by our experiences a couple of years ago: On the move – or perhaps not. But we’ve been doing our best to put that to the back of our mind and approach this new attempt with fresh enthusiasm.
One thing which is certainly true about moving home is that ‘what will be will be’. I keep reminding myself of this. But it’s really hard to not get frustrated about things even when you have no control over them. There are so many variables in the house buying process, and so many dependencies on other people. These are things which upset me a lot.
What’s more, the housing market really has gone mad – even more so than when we last tried to move. There is a lot in the press every week almost about how there is a real lack of supply for first time buyers. But I would say the same is true for those trying to move up the ladder in to family homes. In my view it’s a self-perpetuating problem because if we can’t find a family home to move to then we don’t free up an ideal first time buyer (or down-sizer) house.
What’s more, anything decent seems to come on the market and go within days because people are worried that someone else will take it if they take a moment to stop and think. It seems bizarre to me that people don’t have the opportunity to properly think through the biggest purchase of their lives. But then again, rash spending seems to just be the culture these days…
Back in May, Sam and I decided to put our house on the market and look to buy our next house. We started the process at the start of June and I blogged about the process along the way to act as a ‘reminder’ of everything it took. However, being the private people we are, I held the blogs back until such a time as the process was complete.
Just when we thought we were getting close to exchange, something we weren’t quite expecting happened: our vendors took their house off the market. It was a horrible shock, not least because we’d had no indication (and the signs were their Estate Agent hadn’t mentioned it) and we thought we were so close. We considered renting and even went to view some places; After living in your own home for over 6 years though, the thought of moving in to some of the places we saw was just too depressing. The Monday after our weekend viewings, we decided to take our house off the market. It wasn’t a nice feeling doing to our buyers what had been done to us. But as Sam put it ‘that’s the rules of the game’ when it comes to the English conveyancing system and ultimately, it was our house!
So this blog finds us in the same house but happy about it. Things really do happen for a reason and buying and selling a home is one of the most inefficient and stressful processes I have seen. But what it has given us is a renewed appreciation for our current home and a lot of lessons learnt for when we eventually try again!
So, from the beginning:
On the move – part 1: We’re selling-up
On the move – part 2: Viewing some houses
On the move – part 3: The Open House
On the move – part 4: Viewings
On the move – part 5: Progress
On the move – part 6: A considerable amount of paperwork
On the move – part 7: Feeling out of control
On the move – part 8: And it drags on…
It has been a while since my last update and we are now well in to September (Thursday 19 September). Things have progressed but perhaps not as fast as we might have liked. After the survey came back, we found there were some damp issues with the property. So, we requested a follow-up survey which identified some work that needed doing. After some to-ing and fro-ing, we agreed a price reduction and it felt like we had reached the final stretch…or perhaps not.
We tried to put some timeframes round it to put some pressure on everyone in the chain to complete. Our vendors seemed to have a similar idea so we said we wanted to target exchange by the end of September. Only then our solicitors ‘server’ went down meaning they were without email (this has happened twice before already) or access to any of our files. Very, very frustrating. It has now been almost two days and the response to our sellers was due to go back at the start of the week.
It is getting quite tedious and it astonishes me how slow this process can be. Of the four groups of people I know going through this process, only one has got through the process in only a few weeks. My sister has just bought a house with absolutely no chain and it took about 6 weeks end-to-end. For our neighbours and our friends Lou and Graham, the process has taken even longer. It astounds me how a process that has to happen so often is still so incredibly slow!
We are now in to August, Wednesday 7 to be precise, and things are ticking along. Our house (as in our current home) was surveyed on Monday as was the house we are looking to buy. This resulted in an ‘acceptable valuation’, thus allowing the mortgage to be confirmed. There is something weird about being happy that you can borrow a scary amount of money which you will pay back a gut-wrenching amount of interest on, but anyway…
We’ll have to wait for the survey to come back so we can see ‘what the deal is’. But, as an aside, I did follow-up with our solicitor to see if they’d had any enquiries from the buyers yet about the contract. After a couple of days of to-ing and fro-ing, including getting the Estate Agent to help (which they didn’t seem to really!), we have established that they have ordered searches and plan to email queries shortly.
So, to sum up, they are doing it but are just a bit behind where our solicitors are by a couple of weeks. Sure it’s not the end of the world. But, I cannot help but get frustrated in any situation by this sort of delay. There may well be a valid reason but it has furthered underlined something which has been unsettling me for most of this process: we have no control. Over anything. At all. The last bit is a slight exaggeration I suppose but the ability to ‘nag’ people isn’t really control. We are just in a process now and we have to just wait for it to play out. I hate this sort of situation..!
A couple of weeks since my last moving related post (18 July) and the chain on our sale is now complete. Last week we got all of the forms from the solicitor and I spent numerous hours over a few nights, with help from Sam of course, completing them and collating supporting documents. Tedious but necessary of course. The purchase forms were much shorter and easier to complete. Of course, the purchase will come with a lot more reading.
We went on Wednesday to deal with the new mortgage. We had forgotten how long it takes to go through the process. We had done an awful lot of prep. work but yet we were still lacking information that was necessary! However, it was done in just over two hours and we then headed off to work (at home for me) a bit later than normal. Next step is to book in a survey – need to do that tomorrow. Oh, and I need to try and get some removal quotes.
I had a bit of a ‘meh’ moment on the way home though. A combination of the heat, being busy at work and all of the paper work and money starting to go out have made it quite real but in a very ‘high risk’ way. I don’t like risk, it upsets me greatly. But, this is how the moving process works so I just need to grit my teeth and keep getting through it all. It’s something Sam and I both want so all of this stuff is a necessary evil!