Tuesday, September 13, 2005

House discord

I don't know whether anyone remembers the story so far of our house-hunting troubles, but here is the latest less-than-thrilling instalment.

We knew there was several thousand pounds worth of work we wanted done on the house we bought, and we'd borne that in mind when bidding for it. Unfortunately, the survey showed up several thousand pounds worth of more work that needed doing. As in "If you don't get this done pronto the house is likely to burn down/blow up/fall apart."

Since the agreed price on the house, plus the price we had already anticipated paying for the work we wanted done, took us to our limit, we decided to ask the vendors to reduce the price by the amount needed to cover the cost of the stuff that absolutely needed doing just to get the house into liveable condition. We thought this was fair enough - quite apart from the small matter of what we could afford, the house simply wasn't worth what it would have cost once the extra repair costs were figured in on top of what we'd already agreed to pay. (It would also still leave us paying more than that amount out of our own pockets to cover work that we really wanted to have done, like getting a decent hot water system and a good quality driveway, but that wasn't absolutely essential). Strictly between me and this blog and the entire Internet, I will admit that we'd even have settled for slightly less of a price reduction than that.

That last is, however, a moot point, since the vendors are not prepared to knock anything off the price.

So, once again, we are house-hunting. And this time, with very little in the way of options. There just isn't much on the market at this time of year. Because of this, we haven't yet officially withdrawn from the sale, and did in fact seriously discuss just going ahead with it and getting the extra money from, um.... actually, we haven't worked that out yet. Taking out an even larger mortgage and busting our butts trying to pay it, I suppose.

I do not want to do this. It isn't just the practical aspect of not wanting to be stretched that far on the repayments, although that is a not inconsiderable point. It's also that I'm damned angry about their attitude, and do not see why they should get away with it.

On top of this, today I finally got round to ringing the local La Leche League leader (whose number I finally got from the health visitor) to get the details of the local meetings, and discovered that there was one this morning which I'd missed. And I checked the blog of a friend of ours to see what she and her SO had been up to lately, and what they had been up to, it appeared, was a trip last weekend to a town within driving distance of where we are now living. Not only that, but one of the attractions they went to was the same place we went to on Sunday. And we didn't know and missed a chance to meet up with them. We haven't seen them for more than a year, and probably won't get a chance for another several months, and it would have been lovely to go see this place together with them, if we'd only known.

(I don't think they were deliberately intending to ignore us. Though I suppose I can't be sure of that - maybe they think we'll have turned into boring parenting-oriented people who can't discuss anything other than the offspring, and they want to steer well clear. Hey - I might have done that, but Barry hasn't! Honestly!)

So, all in all, much of today fell under the general heading of 'Bah'.

Positive points about the day.... well, after the events of last week, I suppose that positive points about the day should include the fact that we're safe and well and in no danger of going hungry or thirsty or losing our entire worldly goods to rising flood waters. And I do indeed count my blessings on all those points. However, more mundane and specific positive points about the day include the following:

1. There is one available house that looks like exactly what we want, and that we've arranged to go and see Saturday. So it's possible that we could be sorted out by this weekend. (As a bonus, the house is available very quickly, and we would in fact have it before we'd have had the other one, so we might end up benefitting.)

2. It seems the house we are now renting, which we have on a six-month contract with option to renew, will definitely be available for the next six months as well. So, even if Saturday's house doesn't suit us or is sold before we get there, we could just go on renting and find somewhere next year, with the pressure off.

3. As far as the LLL thing goes, Jamie is apparently now at an age where the leader feels I could quite reasonably attend either the babies' or the toddlers' group, or both. So that means there are two meetings each month I could go to. And they're on my day off. So that's something to look forward to.

And, you know - Barry and I went for a walk into town today to post some letters, and just enjoyed the late afternoon sunshine and walking and chatting and being together, with our son. As cheesy as this is, I really do feel that the main thing is that the three of us are together and healthy and doing all right. I'm pretty darned content with the way my life is going.


At September 13, 2005 5:51 PM, Blogger Trista said...

Having just bought a house in the states last year, and having absolutely NO knowledge of the housing market in the UK, I feel totally qualified as an arrogant American to give you advice. Don't buy the house that needs so much work to make it livable, not to mention the extra work to make it enjoyable, unless you are absolutely, positively desperate. You could end up in misery, with no money and no way out of the debt. Have you seen the movie "The Money Pit"? I'm certain there has got to be a British version of it, and I'm certain the British version is tons better.

Anyway, advice over.

I wish we could get our local la leche league chapter to call us back. I told my partner she should leave a message saying that she was giving up on breastfeeding and forced to feed the baby cat food since they had never returned our messages. She said telling the truth like that would just be hurtful...

At September 14, 2005 3:31 AM, Blogger DoctorMama said...

House-buying is so stressful. I do like having a house that is cheaper than we could afford -- much less anxiety-making. That said, I find it depressing to live in a place that doesn't make me feel good. I find the bargaining to be a fascinating study in human nature -- when I'm not the one involved.
I'm curious, what is it that happens at the LLL meetings anyway?

At September 14, 2005 5:21 AM, Blogger Lisa said...

Isn't it awful. We are trying to move at the moment and have been since January. Very fed up of the whole process.
I went to a LLL meeting once. I never went back; they scared me (and I am a mad old hippy). I'm sure all groups are different though! And to be fair the group was very friendly - I just ended up sat between two women I had met and disliked on previous occasions, who then bent my ear for the entire session. Not fun.

At September 16, 2005 3:30 AM, Blogger Kitty said...

Oh god, what a nightmare the UK market is.

My advice (if you wanted it, which you probably don't but I'm going to give it anyway, so there!) is DON'T DO IT!

It has all the hallmarks of a situation that will just end up making you miserable. When you move into a new house you want that 'Wow a new house to pretty up, ooh where am I going to put xy&z' feeling, not a 'Oh god all the thing's we have to do, and unpack too, but we can't unpack that room because there's stuff to be done in there...' feeling.

Fingers crossed that this next one works out for you.


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