Sunday, 9 April 2017

The first house viewings

It's been an up and down week with various things including the house hunt, one of those that leave you feeling wrung out. We viewed a beautiful house with a wonderful garden in a quiet location. It was just what we we're looking for and in our budget. It needed some repairs but once we'd calculated the costs we decided it would be worth it. 

We booked a second viewing then got a call from the estate agent saying an offer close to the asking price had been made and accepted. I was surprised it had gone so soon, having only been on the market for 4 weeks. We were tempted to have the second viewing anyway and decide from there whether to put in a higher offer but after discussing it decided not to get drawn into making a rash decision, so cancelled the viewing. I was disappointed but I think it was the right decision: We're not experienced at any of this and it would be too easy to get carried away.

Not wanting to get hung up on one house I immediately booked two more viewings. Both were for houses we knew we weren't likely to be interested in but I wanted to get experience looking around properties and knew it would be best to keep an open mind and go out and see what's available.

We went for those two viewings yesterday in Leeds and it was educational. They were beautiful houses but in terrible locations. The first house was by a main thoroughfare that was generating a lot of noise, the neighbours looked scratty (I've decided that's a word) and the neighbours but one had a flag pole with a huge Union Jack crammed into ther tiny garden and had decided to block out all sunlight to their house by covering their windows in more large Union Jacks. It was a bit...much.

The second house was on the edge of the countyside, and was a short stroll from this lovely heard of horses that we sometimes visit:

Unfortunately it was on a very rough, run down, dirty street, although when we left and turned out of that one we found that the streets near by looked totally different, so I'm going to be searching that area in the future.

After that we drove to Shipley as we both like the area, it's got good amenities and is close to the countryside. The houses are also much cheaper than in Leeds. I'd seen some new builds advertised so we had a look. They seem to have a lot going for them and there's a community garden next door with small allotments and poly tunnel growing space available to locals. The view was open and bright:

The area looked nice and it's close to two train stations so I could get into Leeds for work, but when I did some research I found out it's Bradford's  most deprived area and it rated very low down in England overall. When I looked at crime statistics though they were much lover that where I'm living now. The housing looked in good condition and everything was clean looking too. The nearest neighbours are an immaculate old peoples home on one side and neat maisonettes on the other.
So more beautiful houses in iffy areas! I'm not snobby (I don't think) but I've spent 8 years living somewhere I don't feel safe, where there's a high amount of anti-social behaviour, drug crime and theft (something else got stolen from out garden last week) and I've had enough. Mr CB grew up in one of the roughest parts of Manchester so we'd both, for a change, like to live somewhere we feel safe. I come back from work worried that something else has been taken. I come back from holiday scared that the house has been broken into. It's a dispiriting place to live.

I think our next step will be to stalk that area in Shipley, find out as much as we can about it, visit it at different times (including at night) and arrange a viewing or two. 

Thinking about it all is exciting but exhausting, so after we'd made our plans we stopped for a coffee in the sun in Saltaire then came home to relax. I put a large sheet on the washing line as my budget sun shade and spent the rest of the time peacefully crocheting in the garden whilst Mr CB watched football and did a bit more house research.

Lovely old Gem spent her afternoon investigating the yard and watching the world go by from the gate, which left her tuckered out - she's not used to that level of activity, or any level of activity! I put a cushion out for her by my chair and she flopped down for some restful sun bathing.

Today I'm planning on mostly having a break from house hunt things, although I want to send off an email to several solicitors for conveyancing quotes, and I know it will feel good to tick another thing off my list. We may also be calling a mortgage broker to get the ball rolling, we'll see. Other than that I'm looking forward to having a slow day and finishing off a blanket I'm working on.

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