We knew that moving house would be long-winded, emotionally stressful, probably not straighforward and yet, full of surprises.
What we hadn’t anticipated was that as time went on, the whole process would become so much more complex, with many more links in the chain, and so many more bodies involved.
We found a place to buy. Our seller has an estate agent and a solicitor. We can pay for it with the proceeds from selling our house.
We put our house on the market, someone made an acceptable offer quite quickly, so we accepted it. Our agents told us she was in a position to buy. We all thought that meant she had the money available in used fivers in a suitcase.
But then it transpired that she needed a mortgage. So we had the house surveyed by her mortgage provider. A very long time later, we learned that the mortgage had been offered.
An even longer time later, we learned that she is having an existing property re-mortgaged so that she can raise some cash for the deposit. That means the mortgage provider is having to conduct a survey at the old property too.
All these surprise are annoying because they’re holding up the whole process by adding more links to the chain. And all being done serially, not in parallel. Many more bodies are involved too.
We have to deal with two estate agents (our own and the one selling us our new abode) and a solicitor. We might deal with the seller’s and/or buyer’s solicitor, but not necessarily so.
Our buyer is living in east London and planning to rent out our house. That’s not a problem, but there’s no sense of urgency on her part. To now be dealing with a broker and another mortgage provider is really disappointing.
It leaves us wondering what other steps we’ll have to go through that we’re not aware of at present. Out agent is (or says he is) confident that the sale will go through. But if the buyer changes her mind for any reason, we’ll have to start all over again.
The most worrying thing is that one day, our vendors may get fed up with waiting for us to sign the contract. We can’t do that until our buyer pays a deposit for our house, and we can use that as a deposit for our new place.
We’re trying to keep our vendors up to date and fully informed, but that’s not easy when we don’t know what’s happening ourselves. We have to call the agent for an update when we think that for their fee, their commission, it wouldn’t hurt them to call us every few days, even if only to say there’s been no further progress.
What we want to do is start packing up, even if the moving date is still several weeks in the future. We dare not bring all that stuff down from the loft because if we have to prepare the house for new viewings, well, that would be so frustrating, to say the least.
More importantly though, we want to start making detailed plans for our travels, booking flights and accommodation and so on. It’s hard to get really excited about all that while we’re still in a state of flux.
There are some things about this house that I will miss, though, some quirks that we might leave as a surprise for the next occupants:
- The bathroom hot tap that supplies hot water for a few seconds, then turns to a trickle, so you have to turn it up more.
- The shower that, if you turn it to its limit, causes some water to also come from the bath tap. The solution is to turn the main control back a notch.
- The bedroom door handle which works by pushing up rather than down. I’ve tried many times to fix it, but if I put the handles in the other way round, they don’t move at all.
- I don’t think we’ll leave the washing machine, because it leaks, but if we did, the new user would notice the on/off switch is permantly on.
- We won’t be taking the old stereo system with us. Nor can we leave it. The record player went many years ago, the cassette players’ buttons are broken, AM reception is ropey, FM reception requires the stereo option to be turned off, any CDs played will jump and worst of all, only one of the two speakers works.
- In one of the bedroom windows, there’s a patch of what looks like grease, that can’t be removed. It’s in the cavity between the two panes of glass.
- We like our garden but we do the bare minumum, just maintenance work, in it, and I won’t miss the guilty feeling I have when I can’t be bothered to do any gardening, because we won’t have a garden.
- I will misss the view of The Shard from the second bedroom. But since that tree has grown an extra few inches over the last couple of years, it’s not as easy to see, except an night when its lights are on. The loss of this view is the main reason we’re moving, of course.
We won’t miss the neighbours: rude, inconsiderate, disrespectful, loud.
- The stench of fish curry on a Monday, a cauldron of thick, pink gruel that might be fish or it might be offal, boiling away outside on their patio.
- They and their visitors parking on the shared drive preventing us from driving into our own garage.
- Their almost daily coming back from somewhere late at night and slamming car doors over and over. The record was 19 car door slams one night, from one, two, maybe three cars. Nineteen. You may well be shaking your head in disbelief too.
- Talking very loudly outside their house (and therefore just below our bedroom window) late at night.
- The pile of rubbish that they leave in a pile at the end of the shared drive, outside their garage, until such times as they take it somewhere to be fly-tipped. They take it to the correct facility, surely? Not in the middle of the night, they don’t. And don’t call me Shirley.
No, we won’t miss them at all.
But that’s all in the future. How far in the future, we can’t say. Meanwhile, here are a couple of nice things to look back on.
On this day in 2004, Liesel and I saw ‘When Harry Met Sally’ on stage in Haymarket. We’d known each other for less than a year at this point, so it was maybe a bit risky going to see a story that discusses whether men and women can just be friends. It was very good though, great fun, and the famous scene in a restaurant was very well done.
One of the attractions for me was that the leading lady was Alyson Hannigan who we knew from playing Willow in ‘Buffy, the Vampire Slayer’.
On this day in 2011, we went into London for the London Marathon. I could lie and say that both Liesel and Mick ran and both did so in the best times ever. But really, we were just there to cheer on Adam, along with Helen and some of their friends. Liesel and Mick used hire Bikes from Waterloo to beyond London Bridge to see Adam as near the start as we could reach. We then we watched from a bridge near the Tower. His time was 4h37m, not bad with not much training due to dodgy knees thanks to some unfortunate footballing injuries.
Adam so enjoyed the experience that within a year, he and Helen had moved to Sydney, Australia, so that neither of them would be tempted to enter again.