After thirteen years in our little home and many years procrastinating, we finally took the plunge and decided to move. And after fifteen or so viewings spread over four months and a total process lasting ten months, it actually happened. My husband and I bought our first home many moons ago, moving from a rented flat. This was when we both had jobs and no small person i.e. we were young, had money, were care and wrinkle free. The whole procedure, whilst annoying at times, was easy. I genuinely only recall crying once, which speaks volumes as my nickname is, ‘Tiny Tears’. However this time round, it’s been a different kettle (Pond? Vat?) of fish. There have been many ups and many downs. Lots of things I hadn’t considered. Everyone tells you that moving is one of the most stressful things to do, but until you are well and truly immersed in it, you just don’t know what it will be like. This is what I learnt along the way.
Choosing Your Area
Something that took a huge amount of our time was choosing the area we wanted to move to. Initially, other than knowing that we wanted to stay within the borough we were already in, we had no idea where we wanted to go. To help us decide, we diligently drove round various towns and villages, eventually narrowing our choice down to two. We then looked at houses in and around the surrounding areas, slowly working out which bits we did and didn’t like. Obviously a lot came down to affordability too, we were literally priced out of some areas. It took a lot of weekend time so you need to put this aside if you’re in a similar situation.
We spent one sunny day last April going round all the Estate Agents in the two towns we were looking at. Once you’ve done this, Rightmove is your friend. We were told that anything new goes straight on Rightmove, so sign up for as many alerts as possible. Certainly when we were looking, if you weren’t fast off the mark you were being added to viewing wait lists. Every now and again ring the agents again for updates. It’s also worth committing to going round them all again, to remind them of who you are (coo eee) and that you’re still looking. One told us this last bit was worth doing as sometimes people fell off their radar.
Go And See Everything
A useful tip an agent told us was to go and see everything. Even if it’s slightly out of your price range or doesn’t look nice online, go and see it. We found this really helpful. Despite feeling like we were time wasting seeing houses we knew we wouldn’t buy, it did give us a feel of certain areas and confirmed where we did and didn’t like. By seeing three properties in this way, it helped us rule out one area we were really unsure about.
Accept Things Not Going To Plan
You will have to accept that quite simply, things probably won’t go to plan. You might not get the house you want, might have an offer rejected or you may have to compromise. For us, our compromise was the garden size. We also thought we’d found, ‘the one’ quite early on. It seemed perfect but given the ridiculous offers being made last summer, we lost out. I spent five months mooning over it. I’d regularly check in with the agent to see how the sale was going, looking at the photos online like an obsessed ex. However as it happens, the house we have ended up with is, for many reasons, the better house. Ultimately, although it might not seem like it, I am a firm believer that things do work out in the end. You have to keep saying that to yourself and know that things will come good.
Prepare as much as you can. Think battle plans. The night before our removal men came, my husband got norovirus. I kid you not. As I stood watching him shivering in bed, I genuinely thought he was going to whip back the covers and shout, ‘JOKE!’. He didn’t. Since then, the amount of people I’ve spoken to who have told me they broke limbs the week of their move, also got sick or whose partners suddenly had to travel with work (yeah right). These are factors simply out of your control but if you are as prepared as you can be, then you should hopefully be able to take everything in your stride. We spent weeks before our move date cleansing and sorting our stuff. There were trips to the tip and charity shop and treasures were deposited at my mums. We also opted for our removal company to pack for us (THANK JEBUS) so on the day itself there was nothing for me to do. So whilst norovirus was unbelievably stressful (not least because my daughter and I caught it) it didn’t effect our move.