Posts Tagged ‘Moving House

Yes, we’ve exchanged contracts on our house sale.  It was in the offing all last week, but nevertheless a considerable weight was lifted from our shoulders when our solicitor rang at 9.05 a.m. last Friday to give us the news.

We have another month before we complete, and you can never be sure of anything these days, but it is still some kind of a milestone and means we have a tiny bit more ammunition for the school admissions officials.

In the meantime, I’m trying to work out what to take with us to the in-laws, what to put into storage till we can move into the new place, and what to sneakily throw away while nobody is looking.

So far my latter pile is far too small.  It doesn’t help that the kids are on school holiday, so I can’t get rid of their junk quite as easily as I’d hoped. The British Heart Foundation are coming to take away a big heap of furniture in a week’s time though.  The trick will be to hack a way through the garage junk to make it possible for them to remove the relevant items.

Maybe once I have access to the dark depths of the  garage I can stealthily donate a few more boxes to charity. I’m messy, but when I de-clutter I’m ruthless.  I’m especially ruthless with other people’s possessions.  Even more so when such items have been gathering dust in the garage for a good five years without being missed.  I say this; loved one has a knack for spotting what’s gone, and very impressive look of outrageous indignation.  I reckon he must have played those visual memory games a lot as a kid.

I had some boxes delivered for packing the items to take to the in-laws. The best ones of all are the wardrobe boxes – particularly fabulous for playing peekaboo with a one-year-old. The cardboard door will swing naturally shut, then suddenly swoosh open with a big ‘beebo’, a huge grin and lots of giggles.

OK, so moving house is stressful, but it’s also fun.

I’m off now to sneak some items into the charity box while loved one’s away. (Shhh, don’t tell.)


I couldn’t help but post a status update on Facebook when our offer was finally accepted (yes, the one I had already re-designed the kitchen for).  So it’s probably no longer a surprise to most of you.  But I have to admit, even though it could all go horribly wrong, it is wonderful to be out of property limbo at last.

It reminds me a little of when loved one proposed to me all those years ago.  He likened it – after the hankies had been handed out – to pressing the ‘go’ button on the wedding plan.  It all began, and didn’t stop till we were married.

And indeed, within an hour of the offer being accepted, I’d phoned the solicitor, emailed a couple of surveyors for quotes, ditto for the removal company, and by 9.30 this morning I’d arranged the mortgage application appointment and been contacted by all three schools within walking distance.  My ear is hot from having a phone surgically attached to my ear and my back aching from being hunched over the laptop emailing non-stop.

Unfortunately, all the local schools are full for the years that middle and oldest ones will be coming into.  We solved the rental issue, though.  For the two months or so, loved one’s darling parents have kindly agreed to have us stay with them. This will save us a couple of thousand pounds. It also puts us in the correct local authority for schools, although unfortunately it won’t get us into the right catchment.

I reckon what will swing the schools will be the attitude of the council officer in charge of our case. If they understand and they are on our side, they will find a way to make it work for us.

If they don’t, well, I might find myself fumbling around the world of home education until a suitable solution is found.  And, as was pointed out to me this morning, a couple of months’ break from the rigours of school life won’t ruin them.

To be honest, if we were trying to rent in a strange new place as well, the concept of home educating would just be too much, especialy when I have my own studies to consider. But anticipating the calming presence of my mother-in-law has made me feel it could be a possibility.

But only if absolutely necessary. Let’s hope the council come up trumps and magic me up a couple of school places.

What, another post about moving house?  Give us a break, Sacha!

Actually, this is more about being a nosy neighbour.

You see, for every house we’ve viewed over the last week or so, we’ve also looked them up on  It’s inundated with advertising, but if you can get past all that, it’s an incredibly useful resource for finding out what your neighbourhood is like.  They tell you about schools, crime, council tax rates, transportation, photographs of the area, and – most important of all – what kind of people live in your postcode.

Have you heard of ACORN classification?  Well, somewhere along the line, some marketeers came up with a plan to segment every element of UK society into 56 categories, ranging from type 1, the wealthy mature professionals in large houses, to  type 56, multi-ethnic communities in crowded flats.  Here’s a nugget of trivia for you: ACORN stands for ‘A Classification Of Residential Neighbourhoods’.

Bet you always wanted to know that.

Every postcode in the country has been categorised this way. (Scotland has a separate ACORN system, and aside from having a category for excessive familiarity with sheep, I can’t see why.  Yes, I am joking.)

We wondered what type we were really likely to be. Loved one thinks we’re a 9 or a 10 (well-off working families with mortgages), but I wonder if we’re more like a 28 (working families with mortgages) or maybe we’re somewhere in between.  Our current postcode has us as a 4 (well-off managers, larger houses), which took us by surprise…our house is one of the smallest in the postcode, though admittedly we are blessed with four cosy bedrooms.  But then we don’t really know our neighbours; they’re too busy working to socialise most of the time. Maybe it is correct and we are 4 people.

Dearie me, I’m spouting numbers at you without giving you the background data.  Well, if you can handle a large download, here’s the most comprehensive thing I’ve seen about it, in PDF format, thanks to  If you haven’t got the luxury of space or fast download time, look at this quick-reference table instead.

Do you have a feel for what category you might fall into?  Do you really want to know..?

We’ve been taking it with a pinch of salt.  At least, we did to start with.  There have been times when we’ve seen a house online, pooh-poohed the low classification and gone and viewed the house.  Every single time, the classification was correct, almost spookily so.

It is a frighteningly accurate system, last updated in 2010.  I wonder if they gathered the data from the latest census, or whether they had alternative sources, but it has hit the nail on the head with every house we have viewed, and surprised us more than once.

Of course, even though it’s a very useful tool for house-hunting, it can also tune you into your inner snob. All of a sudden we find ourselves choosing not to view properties if their classification falls far outside ‘people like us’.  Which is not very nice, really, even it it does save a lot of time paying lip service to a perfectly nice house in a horrible road.

What do you think? Will it lead to a more ‘us and them’ culture?  Or is it just a handy house-hunting tool?

A move date

Posted on: 17/08/2011

That’s right.  We have a moving date.  29 September.  Expect some disruption to your usual service.

Only thing is, it’s a one-way moving date.  We move out on 29 September.

As things stand right now, we become homeless that day. Rental property is like gold dust where we are looking (we’re trying to look in the school catchment that we want so that the kids don’t have to change schools.)  I got in touch with three agents today, who all said that the property advertised has already gone.

Boo. Those were the only ones in the area.

All this on top of not yet knowing whether we’ve got the house we want to move into (which won’t be available till December, hence the homeless thing).   We found an extra few grand after loved one filed his company tax return and discovered he had a rather nice rebate, meaning we could offer what they needed.  But…they still haven’t come back to us.  I believe it’s just a bit convoluted rather than deliberate silence, since there’s the selling agent, the developer, the developer’s agent and the owner of the house we want that’s buying the new home from the developer that Jack built, and all of them have some say in whether our offer is accepted.

Still with me? I think you get the gist.

Do any of you have any nuggets of wisdom on the rental thing?  In spite of my original leanings towards the idea of home-schooling for a short period of time, my realist self tells me I won’t get much education into them when I’m going to be busy (a) trying to move and (b) trying to complete my diploma.

Really not sure what to do.  It’s a bit of a headache really.  (Mind you, loved one seems fairly chilled out about it all.  He nipped out for an hour this afternoon (he’s on leave this week) and came back with a brand new iPad. I refuse to be jealous. As long as he lets me use it regularly, that is.)

But no! A brainwave! Perhaps…the answer is not to rent there but to  North Bedfordshire will be an awful lot cheaper than South Buckinghamshire. Local friends will be delighted (I hope) to see us for a little longer, and we won’t disrupt the schooling.

Need to consult with loved one about it – assuming I can prise him away from the new iPad long enough to have a conversation, that is – but I think this may be the answer.

Hooray!  I love blogging.  I always seem to get a solution. 🙂

Yes, we offered on that house I was going kitchen-crazy about yesterday.

They refused, asking for another £5,000.

We expressed disappointment.  We really, really can’t stretch any further. We left the offer on the table, but pointed out that we would not wait more than a week, since we would be homeless in October if we didn’t get a move on finding somewhere to live.

The agent, who is one of two marketing the property, would appear to have been fighting our corner.  After all, he doesn’t want the other agent to walk away with the commission.  At half past five this afternoon we got a call from a new agent verifying our buying credentials.

The owner of the house would appear to have deferred all authority to a well-known developing company, who, after hearing what the first agent passed on, would appear to be re-thinking the offer. Since they then contacted their own selling agent, who then rang us.

I don’t dare believe that we have it in the bag.  Yet.  But I can’t help hoping.

So we have to hold our nerve.

(I have no fingernails left.)

We saw a house we liked yesterday.   We are considering offering.  So, in my usual way, I’m running away with creative ideas: the kitchen in this house is in desperate need of a makeover.

Inspired by mood boards in the design blogs I’ve been reading, I  spent an hour or two putting together something for the kind of kitchen I would like and could see working well in this house.  Take a look.

And then it struck me.

This is exactly the same colour scheme as my mum chose for her kitchen back in the 70s.

Picture this: Green cabinets with pine trim,  cork flooring, green table, green walls, white counter tops, and to top it off, pine tongue and groove ceiling (though I suspect that came with the house).  I wish I had a picture I could show you.  It was a great kitchen, but so green I couldn’t ever see me wanting a kitchen that colour.

And now here I am, thinking how soothing and inviting that green would be.

Oh dear.  I guess that’s why it’s not recommended to start visualising kitchens in a home you haven’t even made an offer on yet.

We are now officially ‘Sale Agreed’!

Our buyer, who seems like a really nice and genuine person, has offered at a price we find acceptable, and his own buyer has already completed.  Solicitor’s details have been exchanged, and it is the furthest we have managed to get in the almost six months that we have been on the market.

Of course, any number of things could go wrong. Someone could lose their job. Someone could pop their clogs (the buyer’s buyers are in their eighties). Someone could change their mind. Someone could have got their numbers mixed up.

But, for now, I’m just looking forward to seeing the sign outside our house change from ‘For Sale’ to ‘Sold’.

And finding a home of our own, of course.  All the ones we adored have long gone, but no doubt there’ll be something out there for us, waiting to be our home.