The Forsythe *House* Saga...so farThursday, October 09, 2014
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So here is the story so far - the
I guess our first issue was that we had/have very specific requirements for our next house. Some are my requests, some are my husbands, but most are shared:
- In Ballyholme (Northern Ireland), or as close to the neighbourhood as possible
- A Garage
- Minimum 3 bedrooms (pref with a space that I could use to sew!)
- A Garden (pref south facing!)
- Not on a busy road
- Room to extend and/or a bit of a fixer-upper, something we could put our own stamp on
- No more than £200,000 absolute MAX!
The main issue is that we discovered pretty quickly that Ballyholme is perhaps one of the most sought after neighbourhoods in Northern Ireland and as soon as a semi-decent house would come on the market it would be snapped up, for far more than the asking price, within the week! We also realised that our budget wouldn't get us very far in the area either so we did extend our search area wider, but were never happy with anything we found. We both decided that we would rather stay in Belfast, than extend our area too far, so we would sit tight until we could find the right place.
|'Living the dream' - picnic on Groomsport Beach, around the coast from Ballyholme|
|Tall Ship in Bangor Harbour // Enjoy a dip in the sea at Groomsport|
*Mini Rant: WHY is the Halifax mortgage call centre only open from 9am - 5pm, Monday to Friday?! Do they not know that the majority of their customers WORK those hours??! To make matters worse, the Belfast house is in my husbands name so only he could call - and as he is a teacher he had no way of taking a break to make the call. I don't know how many times he rushed home and started the call, waited in the queue for 45mins+, got passed from department to department until he finally got to the right person only for them to tell him that sorry they couldn't help because they closed 5 minutes ago!!!! ARGH!*
Anyway, we finally got our equity released - yeay!
The very next day the owners of the house called us and told us they had changed their minds and didn't want to move anymore....
I'm not going to lie - I cried, a lot. I was devastated. It had taken us over 2 years of searching to get to this stage and it was heart breaking to have it ripped away from us.
That's when I took my blogging break too, in case you were wondering.
|Sailing boats anchored at Groomsport Harbour|
Well, the first blow came quite quickly - we got out-bid about 2 weeks after our offer had been accepted! We eventually made a counter-offer and became the highest bidder again, but still ran the risk of being out-bid again. But we carried on with the process of getting a survey organised (we decided to pay for a more comprehensive one) and liaising with the solicitor.
My husband fell hard and fast for this house - he had big plans and would spend a lot of time chatting about how he would do this, or do that to the house. I, on the other hand, tried to keep my emotions out of it - it had been too much of a roller coaster with the last house that I just didn't want to put myself through it again. I had to keep telling Robin to calm down and not get too excited, because anything could happen.
And it did. Our survey came back, and it was bad. Really bad. The roof was on it's last legs and would need replaced, there was severe damp, wood worm and various other horrors. All this was kind of expected, but perhaps not quite as bad as it really was. However, all of that was nothing compared to what they found in the garden - Japanese Knotweed. We hadn't heard of this plant until this survey so we had a very fast education in it's horrors. It is an incredibly invasive plant which can grow up to 20cm a DAY and it's roots are so strong that they can crumble concrete and ruin building foundations! Our mortgage lender basically said that they would lend us the money, on the condition that we would have to get professionals in (this stuff can't just been pulled out of the ground - it needs major treatment to kill it) to remove it safely and provide a FIVE year guarantee that it would not come back. We chatted to a few people about this and they told us it would cost us thousands and it would be hard to get a guarantee like that at all!
So, with heavy hearts, we walked away...
And I think that's enough House Saga for now, this has been a very long post. There is more to the story, another house, but I shall save that for my next House Saga installment!