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Thursday, 3 January 2013

Finding a house

So, my husband, Kenny, has a new job, and we're moving house.  I started looking at the housing market in the area as soon as he applied for the job.  Just because I love looking at houses!  I'm the kind of person you'll find peeping in your window if you've not closed your curtains yet.  I sometimes regret it (sorry, fat naked guy), but I just can't help it... so having a nosey at houses that are for sale is much more socially acceptable.

I used some local searches to find houses, but found that the most useful one was my favourite - Rightmove.  It's fab, so easy to use, and it keeps you updated, although the android app is rubbish, but that's OK, you can just get it on the internet.  Rightmove has got even better since last time I used it - now you can draw a search area, and make all kinds of specifications about the kind of property you are looking for, which is fantastic.  Then you just sit back and get emailed when new properties which match your criteria come up.  Which is troublesome if you've got a smartphone because you're constantly looking at pictures of houses!

I wanted to find a house which was big enough, and affordable for us.  I also wanted to make sure it was within cycling distance for Kenny's work, and walking/scooting/buggy pushing/cycling distance for the kids' school.  This narrowed down the options considerably, which is always a blessing.  It was important to me that we could all get to work/school without petrol because everyone feels happier if they get to use up a bit of energy before having to sit down for ages.  It's good for the environment too, but I can't wave that flag as I will happily jump in the car if it's raining!  

Here's a picture of the boy on his bike.  At the moment we usually scoot to school so the little girl can scoot or cycle to school, and then get pushed in the buggy home.  I can't keep up with the big kids on bikes!  I'm always at the back with the bags as it is.  Poor Kenny has had to drive to work for the last two years, and that means he's had to find other ways of doing exercise (like running lots), which means he's away from home more.  We do not like that :-(

Also narrowing down the choices were the schools in the area.  My background is in sociological research, and I'm a big fan of reports and statistics.  In Scotland schools are not ranked by the Government, so there's a newspaper that does it instead.  It's not perfect.  Nothing is perfect, but it's a pretty good indicator, especially if you are academically inclined, which we are, so I went for a secondary school that was high up on that table.  Then there were primaries to choose from, and so I had a look at their most recent inspection reports on the Education Scotland (formerly HMIE) website.  In the case of the big town we're moving to, of the two potential primaries in the same town as the good secondary, one had a great report, and the other needed to improve quite a bit.  Again, our choices were narrowed.  Hoorah!

So, when we got the confirmation that Kenny was getting the job, I had a look on Rightmove to see what was available.  There was a house I liked the look of - a good size, close to the school, great views, and Kenny went to look at it.  He liked it too.  It was nearly great.  But only nearly, and we couldn't afford the work it would need to make it great.  We agreed we could make a compromise, and as nothing else was coming up on my search, I had a look at things that weren't quite right, and that's when I came across the new estate that was just being finished.  The postcode for it on Rightmove didn't work properly on Google maps - because it isn't on Google maps yet, and the location was coming up as outside my drawn boundary, but it wasn't!  Another contender!  I had a lot of looks at pictures of the property, and the layout of the estate.  I tried not to get excited...

The only time we could go to look at the house was when we were all going up to the area to visit the grandparents.  So we all went.  We went for a sneaky look the night before, and the kids were running about in the park next door to the house (that's right, there's a park next door to the house, and it's got safety gates!).  The next door neighbours were having a party, and people smiled at us as they went past.  The next day we went to have another look, this time with the saleswoman.  The children were bickering about which would be their room, and I was wondering if we'd need to buy a dryer.

This is a new build, pretty standard house.  It's not the kind of house you fall in love with.  But, it will be pretty easy to look after, it's in a great location, and it looks like we could make some friends there.  We took the kids out for lunch to decide if we'd go ahead with buying it.

Reader, we decided to go for it!  Over lunch, bedrooms were chosen.  Big girl is going to get the biggest of the kids rooms.  The boy has no idea why he shouldn't get the bedroom with the ensuite.  As we are paying for the house, we have an idea ;-)

So we went back to the saleswoman, and did lots of paperwork, and put the deposit on it.  Seeing as we were all there we chose the curtains and carpets we wanted too.  It took ages.  It felt great.  The kids got bored silly.  We could reserve the house until Christmas Eve, and would need to get busy sorting out mortgage and solicitor, with the aim of moving at the end of January.

Today is the third day of January, and I took the bin out this morning.  It's not raining!  Yet.  It's still totally grey, but it's not raining.  It's not just me that obsesses about the rain, the boy had a good old moan about it just yesterday.  I'm pretty sure it doesn't rain as much in the new big town!  Fingers crossed.  We are still aiming to move at the end of the month.

Next time I will tell you about getting the solicitor.


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