House-hunting progess report

Well, today we certainly viewed some houses. ‘We’ being Jane, myself and our neighbour Yvonne, whom we introduced as our Interior Designer.

It was actually a joke, but the lady showing us around three of the five properties must have believed me because she kept asking Yvonne’s opinion on what she would recommend in terms of decor. I think Yvonne managed very well to blag her way through those questions, but really came into her own when she entered the bathroom of the final house of the day and gently ranted about the green and yellow … EVERYTHING!

As a little aside, I was downloading photographs from my Nokia 5140i phone this evening and thought I’d share with you the view from the top floor of a property we viewed in West Forth Street on Friday evening. The property was simply too large, and in need of too much modernization and decoration for us, but the view was quite special, and quite unexpected.

View over Cellardyke in the evening

The house, from which you can obtain that view for a handful of notes short of £200,000, felt sad and neglected. Like a bronchial, pale old man, with an 80-a-day habit, sitting vacantly in an old folks’ home hundreds of miles from his family waiting for death to come as a merciful blessing. But nothing that a good lick of paint wouldn’t fix.

The house, not the old man.

You know those shopping trips that you go on to accompany your sister where you spend the whole day looking all over town for the perfect pair of shoes / dress / trousers / blouse / etc* (*delete where applicable) and end up going back to the first shop visited to buy the first thing she tried on? Well today was a bit like that.

We fell in love with the first house we saw, another house in Cellardyke, a short walk from where we are currently living. But then everwhere in Cellardyke is a short walk from where we are currently living!

It was one of those “this is it” moments. And that was before we even stepped into the place. In fact, it was while we were still sitting in front of my PC looking at it on the world wide interweb. “Awww….!” we exclaimed in wonder when I clicked to view the photographs.

We said much the same while we were removing our shoes to view the property in person. And just in case you’re wondering if we want to live inside a Buddhist Temple, it was a new property. A new build. Here it is:

Jane standing outside a particularly nice house

It was a complete rank outsider as we’d been focusing almost entirely on old properties, something with character and history. But to be honest I loved the architecture of this house. It wasn’t just a functional box, it had some great shapes and angles and now I’m sounding really sad…!

Discussing it with Jane later we realised that this house seems to tick all the boxes that we have for a house just now. We want somewhere comfortable, functional and easy to move into. We want something that will allow us to get on with our lives easily. We want something that will allow us to settle quickly and enable us to focus on trying to start a family. The IVF path is going to be stressful enough as it is without having to worry about whether we have to be perfecting our DIY skills for the next twenty years!

Now we simply need to sell Kadesh as quickly as possible, and find out if we can secure a deposit on this new house. Jane will be doing the negotiations tomorrow. We’re trying not to get too excited but we’ve not been this excited about buying a house since we bought Kadesh. Which in truth was the first and only other house that we’ve bought. But it’s still exciting.

Please pray that if this is the right house for us then we will be able to secure this house and sell Kadesh for the right price soon.

How to look for a house

Lumber house with a grass roof

In 1984, shortly before he died, James Hopewell, an American pastor and theologian completed the third draft of his first and only book called simply Congregation. In it he observed that people when chosing to which church and congregation to belong approach the task in a similar way “to the way that a family examines a house … in which [they] might [live]” (Hopewell, Congregation, p. 19).

Typically, he says, when househunters are looking for a new home they look at properties with a mixture of four broad perspectives:

  1. househunters look not only at the house in which they are interested but also the surrounding ENVIRONMENT. They ask questions such as is this house and neighbourhood both suitable and secure? Could we see ourselves living in this area?
  2. houses are also viewed from a FUNCTIONAL (or mechanical) perspective – that is, does this house (or congregation) offer shelter and protection from unexpected external forces? How well does this place do its job?
  3. the third factor is what Hopewell calls the ORGANIC perspective—the househunter tries to tie their family’s story to the property, envisioning how they might use this dwelling. “Will this be a happy home for us?” “Does the story of this place resonate with my story?”
  4. the SYMBOLIC perspective—househunters look at the capacity for a potential house to reflect their character. “What does this place suggest about who we are?”

I suspect that Jane and I are going to be looking for a house in which we might live in much the same way that people look for a congregation.