We own a house!

Man slumped on desk, sleeping, with cup of coffee nearby.

This morning I felt a bit like the chap in the photograph. Having woken around 04:30 and listened to the US mid-term elections for a while on the BBC World Service I fell soundly asleep once again only to be rudely awoken by Jane, nudging me and saying “Gareth! It’s 08:15!” Just goes to show that this packing-up-a-house business is tiring work.

However, this afternoon Jane and I sat in our solicitor’s office in St Andrews and signed the final piece of paperwork which means that at last our new house is finally ours! Hoorah and praise the Lord! Jane picks up the keys in Anstruther this afternoon.

This last week has been emotionally tiring as we’ve charted the progress of the transaction, being told one day that it might not complete in time to being told the next not to worry and everything is on track. And then picking up an unpaid-for item of mail from the sorting office to discover that it was a vital form that needed signed and returned two days previously! And then the house deeds didn’t come through until Monday, and they usually need about a week to process.

Yesterday we were convinced that we wouldn’t get the keys until Thursday rather than today. So imagine our delight when the solicitor confirmed this morning that everything has gone through okay and we’d won a house! A big hand to Pagan Osborne and The Royal Bank of Scotland who’ve pulled out all the stops to get us our house on time: thank you.

And a big hand to God too, who has led us each and every step of the way. It’s been incredible seeing everything unfolding gradually and in the right order. One of our concerns was that we’d not be able to get out of the lease (which we can’t unless someone else rents the house). This past week I’ve showed the house to three parties and there has certainly been some interest from each of them. That in itself is an enormous answer to prayer.

So expect some photographs from inside the house on this blog soon. We start moving our belongings in on Friday, but the Big Move™ will be on Saturday when to celebrate my 35th birthday we have invited 14 friends and family over to help us move. You’ve heard of a progressive supper, well this will be a progressive party. I’m looking forward to it already.

We’re buying a house!

45 Lindsay Berwick Place

At the moment Jane and I now have our metaphorical property fingers in three metaphorical property pies. Today it was confirmed that our offer on 45 Lindsay Berwick Place (pictured right) was accepted. Our move-in date is Wednesday 8 November.

So now we have to ensure that our furniture is out of Kadesh before 17 October, when the new boiler is fitted, prior to the handover date of 25 October. Quite how we will fit two households-worth of furniture into this house that we’re struggling to fit one-load into I’m not entirely sure, but it will be fun trying. And we live on the second and third floors!

Then we’ll have a fortnight of living in “Steptoe’s warehouse” before we can start ferrying our belongings ten minutes up the road to our new “dream house”, as Mum called it on the phone today.

Feeling a little flat

The only disappointment today was discovering that our shorthold tenancy in the rental house we’re in just now will not permit us to give notice before the end of the tenancy. In our case that is April 2007. So unless Rollo Davidson McFarlane can find another tenant before then we will also have to pay the full rent for the next five months in a property that we’re not living in.

Both Jane and I have been involved in Assured Shorthold Tenancies before and have never encountered a situation, until now, whereby the tenant was not able to give notice to leave. Reading through the lease again I can’t believe that we didn’t notice that this information was missing. It would appear that the point of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy is to protect the landlord. The landlord can ask a tenant to leave with two months notice, but seemingly it is out of the question that a tenant might wish to voluntarily leave the property before the lease expires. It seems utterly crazy.

Please pray…

Anyway, dear saints of the Internet, please pray that someone will want a lovely house by the sea from mid-November. God has provided for us this far, we need to trust that He has this bit in hand too.

In the meantime here are some more photographs of the new house (lifted from the estate agent’s website):

Kitchen Dining room
Kitchen (left) and Dining Room (right).

Living room
Living room with double doors through to the Dining Room.

Main bedroom Bedroom 3
Main bedroom (left) and Bedroom 3 (right).

The new house comprises:

Ground floor:

  • Entrance hall
  • Living room
  • Kitchen and Dining Room
  • Utility Room
  • Office/Family Room
  • WC Cloak Room

First floor:

  • Main Bedroom, with en suite
  • Family Bathroom
  • Bedroom 2
  • Bedroom 3
  • Bedroom 4 (which we will use as a music room)
  • Two massive linen cupboards
  • (Floored attic space)

Garden:

  • Front garden with monoblocked drive
  • Rear garden with lawn, drying area, BBQ-area and garden shed

God has blessed us so much. Praise God!

Not all four-letter words are bad

Sold sign
Kadesh has now been sold.

On Monday 25 September we sold Kadesh, only eleven days after we put it on the market. It was truly an answer to prayer; praise God!

Having been so disappointed that we couldn’t afford to extend the house in the way that we envisioned it we quickly set about putting it up for sale. Jane’s negotiation and bargaining skills with the three local estate agents was second to none and we soon opted for the un-Christian-sounding Pagan Osborne who have been excellent.

One thing that has really impressed us with Pagan Osborne, other than the quality of service, is their schedule. Rather than making do with double-sided, colour A4 sheet Pagan provide — for a fee, of course — a very professional-looking colour booklet that really presents the property (or “subjects” according to the blurb in the schedule) in a very good light. We’re going to keep a few as souvenir of what we acheived with that property.

Property schedule
The schedule for Kadesh.

One really nice feature of the Pagan Osborne schedules — other estate agents please take note — is the floor plan on the back page. Having been looking for a new property ourselves, we know how easy it is to forget the ins and outs of each building so the floor plan really helps to remember how it is laid out. A very simply but highly useful feature.

The first week that Kadesh was on the market was very quiet. We had no viewings the first weekend it was on, and only one viewing midweek. The following weekend was a different matter: we had seven, spread across the Saturday and Sunday. Saturday was a glorious day, which really showed off the newly renovated garden; Sunday was a miserable, grey downpour of a day — the one viewer (at 09:30) spent a total of around 5 minutes in the property and didn’t even look at the garden.

Anyhow, we’d about sold it by then. The first viewers on Saturday morning, Mr and Mrs T, fell in love with the place and first thing on Monday morning we received a call from our solicitor saying that we’d received an offer for the asking price, would we accept? Of course!

So we now need to find space for a house-full of furniture by the last week in October. Not to mention somewhere else to live.

WARNING: blog plot spoiler ahead. If you don’t want to know the possible contents of a later blog posting stop reading now.

But you know what? That might not be as far off as you may imagine.