Perfect home: oh where art though?

Posted on 25 January 2004 in House (No comments)

Next to the computer is the 'no pile' - a pile of paper giving details of a pile of properties. Each has the estate agents description of the place, photograph and dimensions. Stapled to that are some scrawled notes listing my views and opinions of the place. Elsewhere in a notebook are Catherine's views and opinions.

All but one have been discarded because there was something not right about the place. The final one put aside not because the place was bad (on the contrary) but because it's now under offer.

Since Saturday, 11 January, we've seen eleven properties in the Colliers Wood and Tooting areas. And now I'm knackered and fed up. And we've not even found anywhere yet.

Colliers Wood = insane.

Colliers Wood seems to be out of the equation. Mostly maisonettes and nice ones, everything is going like mad. One we saw was on and off the market in a month. Unless you're phoning the estate agent every five minutes, you've missed it. It's on and off the market before they've even managed to put the sign up.

And then there's the price. To be able to afford one of these masionettes, we would have need to reduce the price a little. The lowest price is £185,000 and we can't go above £182,000. It's simply not affordable for us and I simply refuse to stretch our finances to the limit.

But with property going like hotcakes, who is going to take a reduction in price when, five minutes later, they'll probably get the full asking price from someone else.

It's scary. We saw a place that was in desperate need of a lot (and I mean a lot of modernisation and that was just £3,000 less than a place in perfect state of repair. And someone will probably pay that.

So Colliers Wood seems unlikely. There's a large development of flats which hold a maybe on the price, but few seem to be on the market. A keep your eye on place, but little more.

Tooting = too few good pubs?

And then there's Tooting. Which seems fine overall apart from the aparant lack of pubs that don't insist on foisting football on you all the time (well according to the reviews I've read anyway).

It's cheaper in parts but the nicest place we've seen was a bit of trek to the station, and with no shops or amenities nearby. Just a large patch of grass and lots of suburban houses.

Travel is a bit messy as well - I'd have to change at Oxford Circus to get to White City (hmm) whilst Catherine would have to do Clapham Junction (double hmm).

But should we have been looking a bit nearer?

And then on a whim, I looked at some of the prices in the areas around Ealing. Not Ealing itself, but areas like Northolt, Greenford, West Drayton, Hounslow, Hanwell. And they make you wonder if perhaps we'd be better looking at those areas - see what they're like. See if they're a possible place we'd want to live.

For reasons I can't even remember, everything was discounted round those areas, yet we've barely looked at them to see if they're worth it. We've seen small bits in the past, but very little. And from my point of view, they'd make life very easy getting to work when we finally move to White City later this year.

So that's the plan. Next weekend we'll tour these areas - get the feel of the land, and the estate agents. See if they're worthy of a look.

If they are and they're equal to or better than Tooting, then Tooting and Colliers Wood will be off the radar. If they're not, we'll have wasted time.

...or is that just wasting time?

But I have to know. I'll be annoyed if we didn't even investigate it. They're close enough to the benefits of Ealing town centre and its nice cafes, pubs and restaurants, but cheaper in price. They're perfect for me getting to work And some of the property sounds looks in okay nick from the photos on the websites. Not that you can tell just from the photos of course.

Either way it's going to have wasted some time. If we go with one of those areas, we'll have wasted time looking at Tooting and Colliers Wood. If we discount them, we could have missed something good in Tooting.

...or have we just wasted a lot of time already looking in the wrong place?

It's an impossible situation. But. Well. We've got to find out. We're about to spend a hell of a lot of money, and we need to ensure we spend it rightly.

But at least we have a good idea of what we want now...

It has to be said that seeing the eleven places we've seen now has given us a much better idea of what we want, and indeed what we may get.

It would be nice to get two double bedrooms - space for desks and a double sofa bed in the second. But if somewhere is perfect otherwise, we can drop the sofa bed and replace it with an airbed in the living room for what we'd use the sofa bed for.

But we need a good sized kitchen. One with room for a fridge freezer and a washing machine. One with enough worktop space.

And we need space for a small dining table - either in the living room or in the kitchen. But it needs to be there.

And we need space for storage.

We just need to find the bloomin' place.

Somewhere out there is a place that's right for us. But finding it is another place, and it's annoying that we may have been looking in the wrong place. And it's annoying that we may have been looking in the right place but we're being temporarily distracted by the wrong place.

Glerk, I hate the thought of doing this... Spending yet more weeks wandering around houses making notes. Twice in the week and on Saturdays. No wonder I feel tired and fed up - I've hardly had any time to relax. And when I do, all I can think about is how fed up I am doing this whole process.

Well. One day we'll find it. One day we'll buy it. One day we'll move in. And it will be ours.

I just wish it was that day already.

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