Monday, 30 March 2009

Home truths

Why is moving house such a messy and frustrating business? We were all set to move to what looked like a lovely house a few streets away, until the surveyor pointed out rather too many faults and defects for our liking.

The owners offered to put right most of the defects at their own expense, but we still weren't happy about the general condition of the house and spent several weeks asking them awkward questions and wondering whether to pull out or not.

Today we went back to the house and took a really searching look at it, only to find even more flaws that the surveyor hadn't noticed. So we reluctantly gave up on buying it and we're house-hunting once again.

Moving is always a fraught business one way or another. When we moved to Belfast from London, the woman buying our flat (who was from Belfast, funnily enough) kept procrastinating for so long we wondered if she was really serious about buying. We practically had to force her to go ahead at gunpoint.

When we moved into that flat, having spent virtually our last penny on it, we immediately discovered that our neighbours downstairs were totally anti-social and held all-night parties several times a week. It took us nine months to get them out, Environmental Health having taken them to court.

The very first flat we bought in London turned out to be badly insulated and freezing cold because the heating system was inadequate. In the depths of winter we would get ice and rivers of condensation on the windows. We were mighty relieved to get into somewhere warmer.

So my advice is - don't move at all unless there's some really big benefit at the end of all that upheaval. The problems are enough to give you a few grey hairs and sleepless nights. If you like where you're living - just stay put and enjoy.

PS: We've had a furious email from one of the house's owners, berating us for pulling out. I hope I don't bump into him on the street, he might give me a kicking....

12 comments:

Caro said...

We're hunting for a house to buy at the moment - I found the perfect little house on the internet which was just a bit over our budget but when we went to the agency on Saturday we discovered we'd have to add on an extra thirty grand for taxes and fees that we didn't know about, so that's scuppered that. Back to the drawing-board...

Hullaballoo said...

Sorry to hear of all the house hassles you are facing, Nick. We are selling just now and it's quite a minefield.

Wisewebwoman said...

Oh sorry to hear this Nick for you and Jenny both. We tie up future dreams in the 'new' house and it can be painful to let it go.
There will be the perfect house around the corner.
I speak from experience :^)
XO
WWW

Nick said...

Caro - An extra thirty grand, that's incredible. We were reckoning on moving costs of around £20,000, about two thirds of that being stamp duty (i.e. purchase tax).

Hulla - It's certainly a minefield. Tread carefully or something will blow up in your face....

www - A perfect house around the corner? I sure hope so. I must say I'm an optimist deep-down.

Grannymar said...

I thought of moving a few years ago I saw my dream bungalow it was new fresh and just what I wanted. Health issues raised their ugly head so that put a lid on the idea.

Might be here till I'm carried out. Could be a lot worse!

Suburbia said...

Sorry your prospective house was not to be. Hopefully you will find something loads better soon.

Baino said...

Oh that's disappointing Nick but you're right, best to move forward rather than inherit a load of structural problems. It's not the moving that worries me, it's working out what junk to keep and what to toss! We've been 'for sale' for over 4 years but no takers yet. Then we're looking at a developer rather than individual buyers . . anybody want 22 blocks down under?

Nick said...

Grannymar - That's a shame that health problems scuppered your ideal home. But my impression of your present house is that it's quite comfortable enough.

Suburbia - That's what we keep telling ourselves, something much better will come along and we'll be glad that one fell through.

Baino - Sorry, 22 blocks are rather more than we had in mind! Fortunately we don't have that much junk to dispose of, we have regular clear-outs of stuff we don't want any more. But then our house isn't as big as yours!

Nicole said...

The homeowner will get over it. Better for you to pull out than end up unhappy over your decision. And now, they can find someone who's interested in taking over a "fixer upper". Even when you build your dream home, there's always a drawback; the trick is finding a place that makes you happier than it does frustrated.

Nick said...

Very good advice, thanks for that, Nicole. Finding somewhere that makes us happy rather than frustrated is exactly it. We absolutely do not want to do any fixing-up, we are not DIY buffs!

Suburbia said...

Internet phantom indeed! No I'm really here, honestly!!

S x

Nick said...

Eeek, there's a ghost on my blog! Hmmm, how do I know you're real? Come on, prove it, prove it.