Last time I shared how we nearly turned away from the viewing of the house we now live in. Now for the buying and selling bit. Our sale was very complicated, with more twists and turns than even my weekly running buddy could keep track of. It’s an epic tale with prophecies, unbelievable twists of fate and uncanny timing. I learnt a few lessons too, with hindsight. So I wrote it all down in one go and felt the weight lift…
‘I’ll have sold it before you get back.’ said Mr A confidently. I laughed. We left him to do the viewings and the kids and I went camping with my mates from uni.
And sure enough, the call came as we were winding back through a wheat field to the campsite after floating home made boats along the river. I stood stunned in a field. An offer at the asking price, from a super keen family, within 24 hours of the house being on Rightmove. We were actually going to leave suburbia and move to the country. So fast.
Our neighbours then decided to put their house on the market for 75k more. Our houses were a mirror image, two Victorian semis, so we assumed we’d been a little under valued by our internet based agent*. No wonder we sold so fast. We were still getting viewing enquiries so we decided to reject the offer and put the price up 25k.
A friend texted later that summer, while we were in Wales, to ask was there a particular reason why both houses were for sale, as she was interested. I invited her to come and view. But she meant the neighbours house. Ours was too much work.
But we still got an offer for our new asking price within a couple of weeks. We accepted.
Weeks later we found our dream house in the country.
We returned to school in September and told everyone we’d be gone by October half term.
Then our new buyer dropped out. Luckily our sellers said they could hold on while we found another buyer. Then Brexit happened. Autumn came, the market plummeted.
14 viewings, a stream of infuriating feedback about things we had no control over (like the proximity of the A60). Our neighbours lost their buyer too (after achieving the full asking price) so we helped each other out by sending viewings to each other’s houses.
Christmas came and went. Still nothing.
We accepted the feedback from potential buyers who had viewed both our house and next door; our neighbours solar panels and relentless DIY clearly justified their higher price. People in our area wanted a polished house or a fixer upper bargain, not an in-between house.
Fed up of waiting we dropped back to the original asking price.
January would bring new promise we were told. But it took time to get off the ground.
In the meantime, our sellers accepted another offer. We were gutted.
But we had a viewing that week too. I had a good feeling that day, no idea why. We’d reluctantly given in and done some little bits of work on the house after Christmas. Me and the kids took the dog for a walk along the railway line, Mr A seemed to be the one who got the offers in, I found it hard not to project my emotions into viewings.
Sure enough we got an offer. For the asking price (yep, that same asking price we started with back in July). We were at a Uni friend’s 40th in London by the time it arrived, we lay in our hotel bed composing a strategic email to our sellers. Surely they could still reject their other offer in favour of ours at this early stage?
Monday came, our email poised to go, but then we discovered that our buyers had yet to sell their home. We kicked ourselves for accepting an offer without checking that. We didn’t send the email. Our plans to win back the dream house seemed scuppered.
Then two weeks later we got a call to say our buyers had sold their home. This time we were celebrating another Uni friend’s 40th, again in London.
We contacted the sellers of our dream home. But they are people of integrity, people of their word and had already progressed to contracts. They said no. We bowed out gracefully.
Well for a bit.
We decided, given the circumstances, given that we’d previously had an offer accepted for several months, that offering the full asking price wasn’t strictly gazumping, it was chasing our dream.
It was politely refused. We respected that.
We looked at another 12 houses, heard so many life long stories of 30 years of homemaking, divorces, illnesses, love everlasting. My daughter and I consoled a divorcee who made endless cups of tea and put the Juke box on. We met a rock star who showed us round his holiday let. We ate tea and scones and Creme Egg Scotch Eggs in Peak District tea shops to cheer ourselves when our full days of searching were fruitless.
Then another email came from the sellers, there was a tiny glimmer of suggestion that all wasn’t well with the sale, so with help from our estate agent, I outlined every argument for us I could muster in one last email.
The reply came too quick, grateful and sorry, but they were still continuing with the sale to their other buyer.
I accepted I had done all I could and began to believe the people who told me I would be surprised when an even better property came along. Everyone had a story about someone that had happened to, so I let myself believe it. I embraced all the negatives about the dream house.
I had a very vivid dream around this time, the cherry trees were in blossom, and we were in a strange garden, drinking tea with the sellers of the dream home. There was something utterly prophetic about it, it was unlike my normal jumbled messy dreams, it was a single vision, in glorious technicolour, and the cherry blossom seemed to put a very specific time frame on it.
Sad, I tucked it away and logged back into Rightmove.
Messages kept coming from our buyer, they were very keen to agree a date to move in. They came to visit bringing a baby son the age my daughter had been when we moved in, and parents, all as excited as ours had been when we moved in to that house at a similar age. They were a lovely family and I was thrilled to see how much they were going to love our house.
So we braved Storm Doris to look round 5 more houses. Including a couple we’d completely written off via Rightmove.
The first of these actually looked really promising, although Mr A wasn’t sure about bowing his head under the low door frames. The storm had made it tricky to appreciate it, so we went back, and with our business heads on we could see the holiday cottages were ready to go, the possibilities were endless. Mr A decided he’d get used to ducking. We made an offer and it was accepted. We began to make big plans.
Then, days later, the email came out of the blue, our first dream house had lost their buyers, they wondered would we still be interested?
We very calmly said no, we’d convinced ourselves the second house was the best business opportunity for us. I think we were still sulking a little too.
Then two days later an unforeseen complication with the second house emerged, which meant there was no way we could go ahead.
Fate seemed to have reset our course.
We arranged to Skype the dream house owners and talk about why their sale had fallen apart. It was complicated, but not unsurmountable, with trust, communication and a lot of pressure on solicitors to work quickly we could still buy it, and keep the chain happy.
And so we pulled out of the other house and jumped back into buying the dream house.
Heart over head.
Guess what the trees were covered in that week?
Yes, you guessed it. Beautiful pink cherry blossom.
We learned some lessons on the way, don’t try and keep up with the Jones, greed does not pay off, but sometimes fate and dreams really do come true, with enough determination, hard work and a lot of luck that is. Relationships are everything, people sell houses, as do realistic prices. But ultimately it is just a case of the right people walking through the door. Just as we loved our seller’s lifestyle, we could see lots of our younger selves in our buyers. We worked hard to build a relationship with the sellers of our new home and that paid off in the end.
*Huge thanks to sellmyhome.com who were absolutely brilliant throughout, true professionals, turns out they were spot on with their valuation too. I would highly recommend them on all counts and they saved us a fortune in fees.
Our lovely neighbours moved 3 weeks before us, to a lovely house by the river, we drank tea on the steps the day they moved out, we miss them.