File this one under life milestones. At 42 and (almost) 40 respectively, we (Ted and I) have bought our first house.
I often felt like we both made some strange financial decisions to get to this age with no home of our own or assumed that everyone else just had lots of money? It shouldn’t matter how you buy a home I guess. Inheritance, hand outs or hard work, but it certainly feels strange to know that we have this specific house because we have no parents.
Whilst sharing pictures of the kids and general day to day on my Instagram, I didn’t mention our house hunt. We’ve been looking at houses for years of course, but it’s only been in this year we’ve been in a position to buy. With lockdown and various other hold ups, we found ourselves finally “ready ready” to actually buy a house, only to find we landed right in a big property boom and mega scrum for houses!
Surprisingly, we only viewed four houses in total, the fourth being the one we purchased. I’m not sure I subscribed to the “when you know, you know” school of things before this (for houses). We’ve been around the rental market enough times, where decisions need to be quick and a “this will do” attitude generally works. However, having said we would not get a house that needed a lot of work (because we are not do-ers), we walked around this (very much needs a lot of work) property feeling all the feels.
I knew pretty soon this was a probate property (that someone had died), but didn’t ask the estate agent to confirm. We left and I burst into tears in the car. It just made sense. We are able to buy because our parents died and here was a property being sold because someone had died. There were “World’s Greatest Dad” trophies and “Gorgeous Husband” cards still in the house. I knew what it was like to have someone be gone, yet still have so much of them left behind.
After a nail-biting “best and final offers” battle, we were riding so very high on being the “winners” of our home. We binged property shows, created pinterest boards, discussed nothing more than renovations and the big garden that awaited us… it felt too good to be true. Which of course it kind of was.
So many lovely friends were pleased for us in finding our big family home, saying things like “you guys deserve it” and “it’s about time” and I guess we did look back on our “bad luck” and feel relief that all the cancer, death and house selling was behind us and now we were moving forward with a genuine grown-up long-term family home. Then came the survey….
As first time buyers, we had little knowledge of how a survey is a lot like a Disability Living Allowance form or Educational Health and Care Plan (sorry, one for the SEND families!). Basically instead of it being a lovely report about the potential of a house, it’s a damning report about all that’s wrong with the place. We sat on a Friday night reading an 80 page document that made it sound like our future home might fall down around our heads or suck up all our money trying to stay up. Eek. Suddenly we had that feeling again – of course this was going wrong, things always go wrong for us. I know how ridiculous that sounds, but it was hard not to feel like this was doomed based on experience.
Anyway, after every single person we mentioned the survey to agreed they too had hideous surveys for house they purchased, we picked ourselves up and moved forward.
There is a certain sadness that we now have a big family home, perfect for entertaining with the fact that, the reason we can afford to buy it is because that family is no longer here. However here we are, moving into a big old people house (it was with the previous family for 58 years!), with a lot of work ahead of us… but also… hopefully a lot great times to be had here