3.14.2008

Buying a House in Mo-Fo England (much anticipated update)


(Fig. 1. These people are not us. But they have just bought a home, and so have instantly become more Attractive and Fulfilled. This, therefore, is a representation of What We Will Become After We Have Been The Bastard People)



Way back in January, just easing ourselves out of post-Christmas malaise, and wondering what we might do with ourselves that might not involve eating, drinking, or buying stuff, we embarked fresh-faced and enthused into the whole House-Buying business. What better way to spend a weekend than to set up a series of appointments and tramp through other people's houses, escorted by owners who looked upon us with rapt expectation? Initially we felt an instant bond with such owners, we had been in a similar position just a short period ago, of course -- trying to sell our precious house in Michigan while the economy went down the toilet. We understood.

We would not be the types of people to parade through someone's cherished home and then sharply reject it because a hallway was too narrow or a bathroom not palatial. We were not Bastard People. Even if we did not especially like a house, we would at least be respectful enough to let the estate agent know in a timely fashion, and not leave the owners dangling.

Fast forward a couple of months, and witness the path of devastation and dashed dreams behind us. To become a homeowner in this day and age, especially in holymother-of-effing-god-HOWMUCH?? England, one must become The Bastard People.

Pretty soon we were doing dash-and-run viewings, cramming appointments in between nap times and descending on the freshly cleaned homes with two kids in tow -- one of whom drools in copious amounts. Sure, they just spent the last couple of hours making their place spick and span for us, but did it have a third bedroom that could actually be a third bedroom? (lady. a 4ft by 5 ft room does NOT a bedroom make). Sure, mister, you may say that the noise from the train tracks at the end of your garden are 'hardly a bother because trains are electric now' but when the 10:56 am to Manchester went by, we all smiled at one another over the din, our teeth chattering politely as we pretended it was not that big a deal. I think it took your estate agent about 5 days to finally get me to return their call after our visit, desperate for our 'feedback.' "Try a thundering train at the end of the garden" I said.

What I meant to say was "It's a great house with lots of potential, but we've decided to keep looking." Maybe my not-so softly softly approach was kinder in the end, anyway.

Then, one day, the Bastard People found a house that might just work. A fixer-upper, for sure, but decent sized rooms and "original period features" (beneath a century of paint, wallpaper, artex, 1950s tiling, and cigarette smoke, but there all the same). A kitchen the size of a postage stamp, but 'potential to expand.' Right now it looks like we might just be getting this one, but until I know for sure I won't post a picture (also, don't want any of you shitholes to gazump us or anything, because I know what you're like). My husband's home improvement skills are going to be seriously put to the test. But I have faith, and I will be there by his side to support him -- offering whatever advise I can on colour schemes and fabric combinations (actually, I have a feeling I am going to seriously know my way around a wall-paper steamer-offer by the time we're done, but don't tell him that).

Turns out, after nearly 6 months of living in an urban-ish area, we realise that while in theory we are Country Mice (lulled by the idea of stunning views of the Peak District outside our charming cottage home) we are, in fact, City Mice, who like the idea of the country as a place close by to visit on weekends. We like our ameeeeenities, you see.

So please, wish us luck, and know that the Bastard People period was just a mercenary phase that should hopefully soon pass.

27 comments:

Eleanor said...

Be a bastard. Your 'state agent will love it because you will be voicing all those things they've been thinking but aren't allowed to say. "The hallway is short and stumpy and grey like old knickers" you say. The estate agent thinks 'yep, totally. I'd hate to walk through there every day!' and says, dutifully "I understand". "The garden is a dump which just shows how lazy the fat owners are. Don't they have a mower?" The estate agent thinks 'my God! I KNOW! Some serious weeding would not go amiss' and says "mmm hmmm. I'll feedback to the vendor".

Oh, and Joy, keep being a bastard so that when the vendor of the property asks the 'state agent "do you think I should hold out for a higher offer", whilst the agent is thinking 'I haven't got a clue, love' they'll be saying "no. Don't wait for a higher offer, you might be disappointed." Done and Done.

Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah said...

So, be a bastard person. Think of the moment when you will become more attractive and in love in your new home.

Kelly said...

Those people on the stairs need a smackdown. They should be clutching their pained heads in their hands, such is the awful pain that is moving...even into one's dream house, if that actually exits.

Her Bad Mother said...

I am all about being Bastard People. Bastard People (the ones who are really only BPs when the circumstances call for it) are happier people. And they usually like their houses more.

Mimi said...

Oh God. Amen to everything, sister. Amen. Here's to regaining our kindness, and basking in that special glow that only a Final Decision on the Goddamn House Already can bring ... :-)

flutter said...

want I should fly out and be a bastard for you?

mothergoosemouse said...

If being a BP is what it takes to find a home you love, then do it.

Redneck Mommy said...

How fun is it to be a Bastard Person?

I could totally do that. That sounds like fun.

Good luck with the house my friend.

Jenny, the Bloggess said...

Mercenaries are awesome. Way entertaining and usually have the best booze.

Fairly Odd Mother said...

Can I be a bastard person even if I am not looking for a home at all??

I hope you get news on this one!

The End of Motherhood? said...

I think the ideal living situation is country mice for a long weekend, city mice the rest of the time. Good luck!

Marmite Breath said...

I'm on the other end of this one, Joy. I'm just about to wilt at the thought of somebody not falling in love with my gorgeous, clean home. I don't think I could be here while anybody was looking at it. That sounds awful!

Virtualsprite said...

It's okay to be Bastard People sometimes... just sometimes. We all are. Especially when it comes to real estate.

I have to confess, I can't wait to see pictures, though!

Expatmum said...

So - are you viewing these houses with the actual owners in your presence? Even though I'm English, I only ever purchased property in the States, and thank god, the owners clear out, so you can be a BP without feeling like a real shit!

Rock the Cradle said...

Fellow bastard here. Only our house hunt is way the hell up in Maine. So far that we can actually get something beautiful for the price of the shit-hole we currently occupy in Mass.

So in the end, I really can't be too much of a bastard. More like bastard lite.

But still, the whole house buying process just makes me want to take a looong hot bath. At a spa. In Iceland.

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I do not want to walk there every day! and said, dutifully,I understand.The garden is a landfill that shows how the owners are fat lazy.

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