We’re 10 days into 2018. How has is it been for you? For me it has been like being a passenger on an out of control diesel locomotive, all because of a conversation Mrs Adams and I had at the very end of last year about putting our house on the market.
For some time we have been muttering about moving house (I even wrote about it last February). We’d spoken about it a lot, but never quite got around to making it happen.
There just seemed to be too many small, outstanding DIY jobs to be done. There was a wall to be painted, some architrave to be placed around a doorway, a small piece of flooring to be fixed in place. To put our house on the market would be a mistake as it simply wasn’t in good enough condition. That’s what I thought anyway.
In the dying days of 2017, more like the dying hours truth be told, Mrs Adams and I decided to get our house valued. Who knows, those small DIY jobs might not be the stumbling blocks to a sale. If we didn’t ask the experts, we’d never know.
With the decision made to get the house valued, I just wanted to get it done. The second day of Janaury couldn’t come around quick enough. I simply wanted to hit the phone and find out what the local estate agents thought the house might sell for.
If there’s an aspect of my character that drives my wife to distraction, it’s the fact I can be a bit spontaneous. She really wasn’t prepared for what happened next.
Mrs Adams, you see, had taken several days off work. She was in holiday mode and went to bed on 1 January with every intention of having a lie-in the next morning.
That’s exactly what she did. While she busied herself dozing, I was speaking to estate agents. When Mrs Adams eventually surfaced at 9.30am, I informed her the first valuation would betaking place 90 minutes later.
Even by my standards this was a bit too spontaneous and it didn’t get the warmest reception from the mother of my children. She made the blindingly obvious observation that we’d only just returned from visiting her family in Scotland and the house was a tip. I conceded I’d been a little cavalier and re-arranged the valuation for 3pm the same afternoon with a couple more the following day.
When the figures came back, they were a bit lower than we were hoping for. Even so, all was not lost. The houses we’re looking at buying have also come in priced lower than we expected so there’s a very good chance we can pull this off.
You may be curious to know what we are looking to buy. We want a house that has at least three bedrooms so Helen and Izzy can have a room each. We also want a room I can use as an office. Crucially, we want a house that doesn’t need any work doing to it.
This, for me, is quite a big change in mindset. In my younger days I bought, did-up and sold property a few times. When we bought this place, our intention had been to do it up to a high standard, maybe even extend it.
Mrs Adams and I are not child-free and in our late twenties or early thirties. We’re in our forties with two young kids. While it goes against my inner most thoughts, reality dictates that we simply do not have the time or inclination to take on a massive property development project.
There’s one further thing on my wish list. I want a garden that is easy to maintain. Our present garden, while massive, is very high maintenance. It has hedges, it has some fencing, it has crazy paving, it has different levels and the lawn has always been a quagmire despite my attempts to keep it in good condition.
In our new place, I want fences, a simple lawn, a small vegetable patch and nothing else. That will make me happy.
Our house isn’t on the market just yet. Nonetheless, since 2 January there have been discussions with a mortgage adviser and we’ve driven out to locations where we’d like to buy. We’ve been querying the fees charged by estate agents and I’ve reserved us a place at a storage facility in preparation for the move. I’ve also arranged for tradespeople to come and do a few of the bigger tasks that simply must be taken care of before we sell the place.
It’s been a very demanding start to the year. I simply hope we finish the 2018 in our new home, a tidy home with more space and a low maintenance garden in a great location.
The touch paper has been lit. My mind is set and I simply want to get on with the job and move. I just hope it can happen quickly.