Monday, 19 December 2011

Guest Post: Time to move on

Friend and fellow moving-house-a-week-before-Christmas-nutcase Ali Bunn shares her experiences of the house buying process. 

I moved into my horrid little council flat in March 2010. My husband (who was my boyfriend at the time) had been living there with his daughter for just over two years. It's your typical council flat - two damp bedrooms, a damp bathroom (with no bath!), a long damp lounge/diner, a small damp kitchen and no garden. The wardrobe in the master bedroom has been converted into a production studio and there's barely room to swing a rat. The first thing I did when I moved in was paint the lime-green lounge deep chocolate and coffee, but that's where the alterations ended. I couldn't envisage myself living there for long, it has never felt like my place and I hate it. Still, I've been there 21 months. 21 long, horrible months.
I'm lucky enough (if you can call it that?) to have inherited a share of a house in Windsor, which I subsequently sold to one of the other shareholders. This put my husband and I in an unusual position. We had (just) enough money to buy ourselves a house outright, no mortgage, no huge debt. We started looking in September and it was the second house we saw that we fell for. Big kitchen, three bedrooms (one for all the husband's studio stuff) and even a shed in the garden. The kid's favourite part of the house was the glittery toilet seat, I like that it has a bath.

You'd have thought being cash buyers would make things quick and simple. There's no chain either side, we have the cash in the bank, they have somewhere to move to, the survey was fine, the searches were fine, everything seems so easy and simple. No such luck. Our offer was accepted at the end of September, we get the keys on 15th December. A staggering 12 weeks. 

So why the delay? Our solicitors kept saying "We''re waiting for things from the vendor's solicitor". I'm sure the vendor is being told the same thing. It's not to make more money, they get a flat fee for dealing with conveyancing. Maybe they just want their boss to think they're busy?

Still, the end is in sight. We've paid our deposit and on Wednesday the HUGE balance of £112,500 will be transferred and we will be the proud owners of Number 12. We've got our insurance ready to kick in the moment we get the keys (can you imagine not getting it sorted? Sods law says the second you get the keys, the house burns down and all that money would be lost), Sky is booked to install a dish, utilities transferred, council informed, Christmas cards with change of address included have been sent. Totally, utterly, completely prepared.

Oh no, should I start packing?!
You can read more from Ali over at


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