Stunning! Once in a Lifetime Opportunity! Highly Sought after Location! Upgraded and refurbished to an Exceptionally High Standard!
No, this isn’t my blog (and I am truly sorry there has been such a stunning hush this end, at least as far as my blog is concerned).
Dispensing with excuses – and this may explain slightly – I’ve spent the morning researching chartered surveyors, and yes, you’ve guessed it, we are hoping we may have at last found a house of our own to buy after nearly a year happily ‘resting’ i.e. recovering after the sale of Orchard Farm, see below, in our very pleasant rented cottage in Parwich.
‘Resting’ included stirring ourselves from time to time to search for a house to downsize (yet again) into. We have looked round at least 14 houses in the last six months. Several would have been perfect except they were in the wrong place. Others were in the perfect place but too big/small/expensive/hopelessly awful.
We risked turning into the local estate agents’ nightmare with a list of essential requirements that never seemed to be met. And, I must confess, several of these essential requirements – four bedrooms and offroad parking amongst them – haven’t been met in the tiny but very charming cottage we finally set our hearts on.
Talking of which, we have had our offer accepted. That took a month. As we embark on the next stage of the property purchase process: solicitors, surveyors, searches etc we’re not expecting things to be over quickly. Having not bought a house since 1983 – and that was by auction – we have found the whole process of house hunting an area fraught with disillusionment, dismay and delays, with the final outcome unknown until the very last minute. We will all watch the story unfold together, with no-one knowing how the story ends…
While searching we have learnt a new language. It has been amusing to learn to read between the lines in all the rave descriptions of many of the really rather ordinary houses we have been sent. Have you noticed how houses are always ‘nestling’ often ”twixt’ two rather more attractive localities. ‘Carefully landscaped’ gardens are inevitably ‘laid to lawn’, which actually probably means someone has planted a border and there is a small patch of grass.
The house is almost inevitably stunning. The locality – however modest or even worse – is always in a ‘highly sought after village’. ‘Upgraded and refurbished to an exceptionally high standard’ probably means that a new bath has been put in, and a new – possibly budget – kitchen installed. You learn to read what has not been said. An unqualified ‘house’ will be semi- detached or terraced, a ‘family bathroom’ usually actually means there is only one bathroom. Beware the ‘Elevated position!’ or ‘Wonderful view across the surrounding countryside!’ unless you fancy living up a mountain.
*You also learn a bit about current fashions in interior decorating. Absolutely de rigueur seems to be large decorative lettering on the wall or mantelpiece declaring ‘LOVE‘ or ‘HOME‘ or ‘FAMILY’ or even more helpfully reminding one with a sign over the kitchen stove which says ‘KITCHEN‘ just in case it’s not obvious. Also a lot of people seem to have one wall in every room papered or painted in a very bright colour.
Finally, and one can’t help feeling rather sad for the owners who want to sell, in the time we have been looking we have found the same nearly unsellable properties keep popping up in new guises, advertised as ‘New!’ by a fresh agent because in desperation the vendors keep trying different ones. With new photos, taken from different angles, it can take one a while to realise that actually, we have seen the advert before, many times.
It would be wonderful to discover an agent who used the unadorned truth. I wonder if it would put people off, or the opposite?
*P.S.I have just been old that ‘HELLO BEAUTIFUL!’ is selling well for Christmas…