They say moving home is one of the most stressful things you’ll ever do. We also know it significantly changes our mindset, and with it, spending habits. A member of our Propagation Hub, kept a diary of her recent home moving experience. Here she shares her story, thoughts and feelings as she packs up and moves… a mile across town.
April 2nd 2018: I start my new job (Cogent!). In ten days time, my partner starts his. We can now officially apply for a mortgage!
April 5th 2018: We have our initial phone called with our IFA. We don’t even consider going it alone, too much lingo. Our IFA takes our details and explains the process to us. We understand it (I think). He advises we do a bit of research, get a feel for house prices in the area, what we can get for our budget, what to expect, what’s reasonable… what’s not.
April 8th 2018: I sign up for Rightmove Alerts and we view our first house. A beautiful Victorian terrace in the centre of town. Red brick, grey painted door. From the outside it’s idyllic, but the inside is a tad too small. And by small I mean tiny. It’s a no-go.
April 22nd 2018: I spend my evenings scrolling through Rightmove. I come to the conclusion that: 1. I am fussy, 2. I don’t want to have to decorate when I move in and 3. I hate blue carpets.
May 1st 2018: I get a Rightmove Alert to my emails while I’m at work. I see the thumbnail image of the exterior of the house and dismiss it. It’s not until the evening I explore the interior imagery in a desperate attempt to find a house I like.
I love it. And the panic hits.
Must. Book. Viewing. Now.
May 5th 2018: I’m nervous. Not quite sure why, but I have butterflies as we sat-nav our way a mile across Stratford-upon-Avon. The Estate Agent meets us at the front door. I can see through the front window and immediately fall in love. We didn’t really need the tour of the two-bed, semi-detached, centrally located house before we made our minds up. We want it.
We decide to make an offer, despite not even having an Agreement in Principle yet – we keep this to ourselves.
The sellers come back with a counter offer, one that we accept, as long as the oven and reclaimed timber shelf in the kitchen are included.
I need to pinch myself. You hear stories about house hunts lasting months. Ours didn’t.
May 6th 2018: Back to normal life. It’s going to be months before it’s all confirmed and that’s assuming it doesn’t fall through.
May 7th 2018: I take regular trips to Matalan, picking out the colour of the towels I will eventually get when I finally move in. I opt for grey. I create a wishlist on my phone of all the things I’d like to buy.
May 9th 2018: I receive the quote from the solicitors (£££). I change my mind about the above… that can wait for now.
May 15th 2018: I have my first negative thought. We will no longer live directly opposite Aldi. I can’t make evening trips for chocolate and spontaneously decide what I want for dinner. We’ll have to start doing weekly food shops.
May 22nd 2018: It’s a waiting game. I feed my house hunger with Pinterest boards and home interior Instagram accounts.
May 23rd 2018: I start researching a new sofa. A corner one, preferably grey, please.
Bookmark, bookmark, bookmark.
I’ll come back to that later.
May 25th 2018: I spend the next few weeks looking for little decorative bits for my new home, with a precise interior in mind. I’m not that interested in making big furniture purchases yet. It seems too premature, we need measurements (and money). So I satisfy my home purchase desires with trinkets and vases.
May 27th 2018: We head to Studley car boot sale to find vintage bits and bobs that might look nice on a windowsill. My partner buys things for a pub. Yep, a pub. He’s decided he’s turning the new garage into an ‘old man’s pub’ (his words, not mine). We leave with a car full of beer mats, second-hand pint glasses and a table that “he doesn’t quite know what he’s going to do with, but it was a tenner, so why not?”.
June 1st 2018: I must be in a spending mood – a let’s-replace-everything, I-want-it-to-be-perfect mood. We don’t have a TV, we have a projector. I consider replacing it. I see the average cost of a 50” TV and opt to replace the bulb in my projector for £70 instead.
June 3rd 2018: The heatwave begins and I CANNOT wait to finally have a garden. I daydream about BBQs and reading my book on a sun lounger before the realisation sets in that I’ll actually have to do some gardening (I can’t even keep cacti alive!).
June 24th 2018: We have a second viewing. My parents are visiting the Midlands so they come along too. They love it as much as we do. We measure up and get a chance to speak to the sellers about prefered exchange dates etc. We realise there’s a loft and get embarrassingly excited about the revelation of extra storage (when did we get so old?!)
June 26th 2018: We hand in the notice on our rental property. It’s a two month notice period.
June 27th 2018: Believe it or not, we finally get our official mortgage offer. Up until now we only had a Agreement in Principle. On reflection, it seems strange to have done so much prior to receiving an official offer form the bank.
June 28th 2018: We’re excited!
June 30th 2018: Wow. There are lots of people to email. Lots.
July 9th 2018: We have our pre-exit inspection at our rental property. The estate agent makes her concerns known regarding the No More Nails we’ve used on the walls.
We head to B&Q to buy some filler, paint and a roller brush. Turns out the decorating process starts before we even move into our new home…
July 21st 2018: We buy our first piece of furniture. It’s second hand from a local Items for SaleFacebook group. A lovely black metal bed frame for our soon to be the second bedroom. It matches our current bed nicely. Bargain.
July 30th 2018: Our expected completion date gets moved forward by two weeks! Better get packing. So far all I’ve done is folded (screwed up) a duvet in a black bin bag and announced it as ‘packed’.
August 1st 2018: I get the final paperwork through from the solicitors.
What? Do? These? Mean?
August 2nd 2018: After a lot of phone calls, excessive Google-ing and a panicked trip to the bank I finally transfer the deposit funds, sign the paperwork and send it off. A few days behind schedule, but it shouldn’t be the end of the world.
I buy another small purchase for the house. An overly expensive stainless steel pasta bowl which I’ve decided I’m not going to even eat out of. Nope, I’m going to make it the dog’s water bowl. The things we buy when we’re striving for the picture-perfect-Pinterest house, ey?
August 4th 2018: We start to upload some of the belongings we no longer want onto Facebook For Sale groups: an armchair, a foldable pool table and a clothes rail. We take our dining table to the charity shop. We’re going to pool the cash to buy our new sofa.
6th August 2018: Who knew, the Help To Buy ISA we’ve been putting money into for the last two years, we are in fact not eligible for. We now have to cough up and extra £1000 to make up the whole deposit. What a faff.
Finally, we exchange – everybody breath! It’s a done deal. The excitement grows (as does the packing chaos in the flat).
I spend the evening buying new furniture online. BBQ, check. New corner sofa, check. Mattress for the spare room, check (it’s a toss-up between Ikea and Dreams, I opt for Dreams as they offer selected delivery date – thank you!).
7th, 8th 9th August 2018: Packing, organising, cleaning, packing. Phone calls made to utility suppliers and well… more packing. All the boring stuff.
10th August 2018: We wake up at 6am, there’s no lie in for us today – the excitement is too much. It feels like forever as we wait for the phone call.
Everything is packed and we have no food in the fridge so breakfast consists of potato waffles served on a ring binder folder as a plate. Yep, really.
Unpacking. Lots of it.
The doorbell rings. It’s a delivery, in a box decorated with tropical fish. What on earth is this? Turns out to be a surprise hamper from our mortgage provider, Nationwide, full of all the things you might need in the first few days of your new home. What a nice touch!
We complete. The house is officially ours! PHEW.
The Estate Agent hands over the keys (along with some cupcakes and a bottle of champagne).
The next few days consist of a lot of unpacking, multiple trips to B&Q, painting (arguing over the colour of our bedroom wall – I win) and trips to the dump. We have lots of paperwork to sort out and bills to calculate. Our sofa delivery is delayed by two weeks, so we make a den in the garden instead. We spend 18 hours cleaning the old flat to a ‘professional standard’ with plenty of coffee shop stop-offs for wifi in-between. There’s still a lot to be done, but that’s all part of the journey…
Read more from our very own first-time buyer over on The Huffington Post.