Mum Muddling Through… a house move in less than twelve weeks

I’ve been pretty quiet on the blog front of late. Mainly because all of my energy has been focused on another project; project move house.

The last six months have been a whirlwind on the back of a passing conversation Dad Muddling Through and I shared, over our work-from-home lunch break number three million and twenty seven of 2020.

I’d never been one to believe we would move again – in fact I snubbed any suggestion based on the belief happinness lies in the here and now, not chasing dreams of a better tomorrow.

But something changed – maybe a pandemic shift, a realisation that we only live once, or a vision of growing old that somehow didn’t feature our home as it were.

So, we hit the fuck it button. With a mutual agreement, we decided to put our house on the market when the schools reopened (kids+lockdown do not equate to viewing ready houses) and began to so some subtle preparation after Christmas 2020 (aka project declutter all the crap!).

By the time March 12th came round, we were ready to go. Estate agent lined up and negotiations on marketing complete. The photos were snapped on Friday, and the house went online Monday morning.

We didn’t expect things to go off quite as quickly as they did, but we had our first viewings booked that day, the doorbell started ringing the next, and by Wednesday we had a full price offer on the table. Crazy, seeing as we went with the highest valuation by agent – on the belief we may as well take a punt (and had been offered a cracking deal).

Well the gamble paid off, and less than a week after going live, the next chapter – find a new house was up and running.

The search started off slow, and we soon realised we would need to cast the net farther to really know what it was we were looking for; a rural idyll, a do-er upper, a period property, a walk to school or a relocation.

Some of the areas we believed we would love just never felt right, and in contrast, some of the houses we didn’t love a la Right Move blew us away in the flesh.

We fell in love with two houses and lost them in the weeks that followed, and at the time there was little sleeping or eating going on. The stress was unbelievable, even though I’d told myself it wouldn’t get crazy.

The problem is, when you get to a place you can imagine your future, it’s just so hard to leave that destiny in the hands of someone else. And often, that vision just was not meant to be (although at the time it’s painfully difficult to appreciate that perspective).

So after two heartbreaks we took a rest and paused all viewings for a week or so, taking time out as a family so life could briefly not revolve around calls and viewings in a pandemic situation.

After the break, we headed straight in to a mammoth viewing day, looking at eight different properties across the range of prices, locations and states of repair, believing we would find something if we didn’t give up.

As it were, we did find a house that we felt a sense of magic in – a good 20 minute drive from the kids school in a semi rural location. The girls ran around the garden and we all started to think we could definitely make the logistics work, get a second car, a dog, live happily ever after…

Having agreed we would sleep on it and make our offer the next day, fate threw us a curve ball. A house we had seen at the very start of the journey, the home of a friends grandparents, opposite the school, became available. Through a twist of fate and coincidence, we were able to view the property that evening, just if, to anything, rule it out…

But we weren’t to do that. In fact, it felt like the house had chosen us – with the garden of our dreams, this beautiful old cottage just felt like it was meant to be.

So with a first time buyer, and a private sale to contend with, the question was, could we get this over the line in time for the stamp duty holiday ended?

The short answer, yes. By hook or by crook, making myself (probably) hugely unpopular with the solicitor and agents, my Project Management became invaluable. No stone was left unturned, no detail missed or coerced along. My emails were checked approximately three thousand times a day and the solicitor was on speed dial.

And as it was, we exchanged contracts on my fortieth birthday – a final gift from the universe to let us know it was on our side. We moved in two days later, in the week we had already booked off for birthday / half term celebrations, and by the weekend had unpacked and called it home.

Eleven crazy weeks. One end goal. And a miracle that felt like it was meant to happen.


Ten tips for getting your move over the line…

  • Believe it WILL happen (Visualise the future)
  • Understand your budget
  • Negotiate on estate agent fees
  • Invest in a decent local solicitor
  • Use the reccommended services via your estate agent – the links will pay dividends in the long run
  • Be on the case – first name terms with your progressor, agent, solicitor and mortgage broker
  • Be present in the process – follow up on commitments and set the expectations to do the same
  • Hand deliever documents if possible
  • Choose a buyer based on their credibility as well as offer
  • Don’t give up!
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