When my current employers first informed me that I’d been successful at interview and the job would be mine, Barry and I promptly arranged to head off to the area in question for some house-hunting. We were in the best possible position for would-be buyers – having sold our house the previous year, we had no chain and a huge amount of ready cash, plus my upcoming steady job and salary slip. And, without too much ado, we found the house of our dreams. Unfortunately, the people who currently own it are aiming to break the world record for World’s Slowest People At Completing A House Sale. Everybody needs an ambition in life, I suppose.
So, why has it taken them over three months to make, um, precisely no progress at all in finding somewhere to move into? Because they’re looking for a good-quality house built within the last three years. Since these two conditions are almost completely mutually exclusive, they’ve already narrowed their options almost to zero. Unfortunately, three fruitless months have completely failed to get it through to them that good-quality houses just aren’t being built any more, and they’d actually do a hell of a lot better to look for stuff built, say, ten years or more ago. Not only that, but until a few weeks back the husband couldn’t even decide whether to stay with his current job or go for the new one, some distance away from the first, that was headhunting him, so for the couple of months it took him to dither over this they were limited to looking at houses that were a potentially commutable distance from either job. And, no, they can’t rent. Because last year, despite knowing that they wanted to move in the imminent future (the husband’s job is several hours drive away from where he lives, and he’s currently spending half his day commuting), they took on a mortgage that they can’t get out of for two years without paying a huge penalty clause. They can transfer it, but they can’t pause it while they go into rented accommodation. So renting is out. Which is a handy excuse, since they don’t really want to rent. They want us to rent, so that they can find a house in their own time, at their own convenience, and move into it and sell theirs without any awkward hassle.
As Barry points out, it’s just as well we weren’t in a chain. Our sale would have long since fallen through, and we’d be bloody furious by now.
Anyway, we were strung along for week after week after week after sodding week of this, with promises that the R’s were looking at lots of places, they were really trying hard, they just weren’t finding anything suitable. I’m sure all of that is true – unfortunately, they seemed incapable of getting the idea that they needed to alter their expectations. By the time we faced the fact that they weren’t going to get their act together in time, it was far too late for us to find another house to buy before the date I had to start work, and we ended up in a panicky last-minute dash to get a rental sorted out in time. It’s just as well we got this one, or we’d have been seriously stuck.
So, Barry gave the R’s a deadline of the end of July, and we started house-hunting again.
Last weekend, we saw a place that, with a fair bit of work, could end up being just what we wanted – and since the price is considerably lower than the one we were originally going for, and since we’re now paying for this rented house until late December regardless of what happens, we’d be in an excellent position to arrange the work. So that’s a possible option, although Barry is not at all keen on the hassle of trying to organise the work, and I can’t really say I blame him. But this Saturday, we found the ideal place – same road as the one we’re currently trying to buy, but even closer to the various amenities, and with a much better garden. What’s more, I actually prefer this one – the bedrooms are closer together, which is going to be a damn sight more convenient for the years of getting up for child-related stuff that lie depressingly lurking in my immediate future. Barry still has a slight preference for the original house, but he’d be happy to take this one.
So, the ball is now in the Rs’ court (I’m still trying to work out how to do the apostrophe for that one. Suggestions?). If we hear back from them before the end of July (which would be, ahem, today) with a definite commitment to a moving date, then the deal’s still on. Reluctantly, on my part, but what the hell – we made a promise. If not, then on Monday Barry gets in touch with the estate agents for the house we saw yesterday and starts discussing offers.