We knew this would be the year we would be putting our beautiful house on the market – after 11 amazing years here it was time for a new challenge and something bigger so we could start a family. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that the whole thing has been the most stressful thing we have ever done in our lives!
The estate agents came over to value the house in the middle of April – although we weren’t planning to move until later this year, I’ve always had an interest in houses and the property market so I had been watching prices on houses similar to the one we have now, to make sure I had some idea of what ours was valued at, and so I had evidence to back up what I was going to ask the estate agent to put it on the market for.
I must have done my research well because the estate agent advised to put it on the market for a mere £50 more than the price I was going to suggest! He suggested putting it on the market for a round figure because websites such as Rightmove and Zoopla have search criteria which utilises round figures, and you don’t want your property details to fall outside the search criteria for the sake of £50!
My request to the estate agent was to have an open house. We have two big and boisterous Shar-Pei dogs who are not very well behaved, and the last thing I wanted was for them to get stressed out having loads of people walking around the house day after day. I also didn’t want the potential buyers getting annoyed and frustrated at the constant barking! If you host an open house then you can frantically clean for a couple of days, then get yourself, the dogs and the hubby out of the house for a day to let as many people view it as possible, and hopefully by the end of the day you will have an offer on the house (or more than one!) An open house always reminds me of America and their attempts to sell real estate – balloons outside, cookies in the oven to give the house a more homely feel, and plastic fruit in bowls for display!
Anyway, a week or so after the valuation, and before they had even been out to take the photos to prepare the marketing material, I had a phonemail from the estate agents saying they had a couple who had been told about our house, they had recently sold theirs and were really keen to come and view ours! They made an offer the next day which we accepted and things started to move forwards!
Unfortunately our lovely buyers had problems trying to sell their house – their first set of buyers withdrew five weeks into the transaction and their second set of buyers withdrew after seven, so they had to put their house back on the market at the worst time of year to sell – the six week school holidays.
We waited for a further few weeks for them to re-sell but to no avail – we desperately wanted to be in our new house by Christmas time so we had no choice but to put ours back on the market and to host an open day as we had originally planned. It was very sad as our buyers had done all the paperwork and the sale was ready to go, but we just couldn’t wait any longer.
The open day took place the first week of September, so still a relatively quiet time of year. We had a few viewings and then two asking price offers so we were really pleased, as things were getting back on track. By this stage we were absolutely desperate to move, and after packing all of our winter clothes a couple of months before, (as I had assumed we would be moving in the summer), I had to begin unpacking things again once the weather started getting cold.
During the time we were selling, I went around the house and had a good think about all the hard work we had put in over the years. One thing I regret doing was not taking more “before” pictures of the house to compare them to after all the work was done!
This is our little box room and is pretty much the only room I can keep clean because its not used all that much! Books, photo albums and all our paperwork are stored in here – I would like another small room in the new house to turn into an office – I’ve seen some great ideas on Pinterest for a home office!
This was our spare room – even though this room is almost identical in size to the master bedroom. We had a lot of plastering done because the whole house was COVERED in artexing and we gave up before we got to the two bedroom ceilings but I do wish we had taken the time to do them both. In hindsight I also wish we had added coving to all the rooms – it looks really effective doesn’t it? I’ve added it to the next house “to do” list already. We fitted the wardrobes ourselves – they were from Very and are really good quality and were also in the sale – it will be a shame to leave them behind but they won’t do too well being taken apart and then re-built again.
We choose this one as the master bedroom because it overlooks the back garden instead of the road but the road is so quiet it probably wouldn’t have made much difference. These wardrobes are from AHF – they were more expensive than the Very wardrobes in the other room but still far, far cheaper than the quote we received from Sharps. They’ve lasted well and I even have a specially built shoe wardrobe which I will really, really miss!!
We put loads of work into this room! The old bathroom was completely stripped out, the hot water tank was removed and a new boiler put in down in the kitchen and then a separate shower unit was put back in the place of the hot water tank to make a four-piece bathroom suite. There’s three aspects of this room which I particularly love – the whirlpool bath, the chandelier and the beautiful black glittery marble tiles. We even put some LED lights into the bath panel for added effect.
What could I possibly have to say about the stairs in my house? Well check out the beautiful bannister and chrome rails we added. The bannister was a set of thick dark wooden planks when we moved in and these made the hallway and stairs look really small and narrow, but the chrome rails really open it up and make it lighter. The only problem with this design? The dogs can fit through the rails and sneak upstairs to the bedrooms when the baby gate is closed….
The lounge is an odd shape – long and thin – so I thought I would struggle to get furniture to fit. When I came across this white leather sofa (again from Very) it was as if it was made for this room! As you can see I am a bit of a minimalist – less things to keep clean and tidy – but this is most definitely the room we spend most time in. Light a few candles, get out a couple of fluffy throws and fill the coffee table with snacks and nibbles and you are set for for the next boxset binge!! I just hope I am able to fit our massive sofa into the lounge of the next house!
When we started looking for our first home I said one of the absolute musts was to have a separate dining room with enough space for a big table and at least six chairs, so I could host my dinner parties and have enough space at Christmas and Easter when the family came over. The lounge and dining room were once one big room so we put these lovely french doors in to make the spaces separate. Even with these rooms as separate rooms I still managed to get a huge extendable dining table in here which fits eight chairs around it.
This room is my fait accompli! It is a good sized room but is an unusual L shape so we had to design it in the best possible way to make good use of the space. When we bought the house, the oven and all the cabinets were squashed into the smaller section of the L shape whilst a huge long breakfast bar ran along the entire length of the room where the oven now is. It was such a waste of space – we pulled the entire kitchen out and started again. We fitted as many base and eye cabinets in as possible and had a huge built in American style fridge freezer fitted into the alcove. I even had enough space for a beautiful range oven and a smaller breakfast bar down the other end of the kitchen. I will really, really miss this room. I think it will be hard for anyone to find another three bedroom semi-detached house with a kitchen this huge! Bye beautiful kitchen!
Another aspect of this house which is hard to come by on a three bedroom semi is a utility room. We have an integral garage which was a tandem garage (normal width but double length) so we sectioned it off and converted the part of the garage which joined onto the kitchen into this brilliant utility space! Room for washing machine, tumble dryer, extra freezer, base and eye units and even space to hang wet clothes to dry – I don’t think I could be without such a space on the next house! Just a place to throw all the dirty clothes so they aren’t taking up room in the kitchen is a god-send!
We didn’t design the best looking garden but it had to be practical – we both work full time and don’t have the time to look after a huge garden full of plants and flowers. Having two dogs made it difficult having grass – it was ruined within a few months and during the rainy months (most of the year!!) it turned into a giant muddy puddle which was then run all throughout the house! To make things easier we gravelled everywhere and it really made the difference. We still had a patio area and a decking area and a small flower bed to give the garden different textures but overall it was a very low maintenance space which suited us perfectly!
The only part which took up some of hubby’s time was his pride and joy – the fish pond! He amassed a lovely collection of Koi Carp which we very sadly had to leave behind. Luckily our buyers really wanted them so I’m really pleased they will be well looked after. Hubby is already looking at new pond ideas for the new home though so watch this space….
I hope the new owners have as many happy and fun-filled years here as we did!! Bye beautiful house, you’ve helped us create some life-long memories!