This isn’t a wedding update, though I have just paid the deposit for our videographer. No, whilst we’re just over a year away from our Big Day, we’ve decided to do another big, life-altering thing at the same time. We’ve bought a house.
When we moved up north in February, we jokingly said wouldn’t it be nice to own a house by Christmas. Obviously that wasn’t going to happen, but it was a laugh. Then just over 6 weeks ago, Simon told me he’d had a conversation with the bank… and had booked an appointment with a mortgage advisor for the Saturday. He’d been looking on RightMove daily, but it was like his version of Pinterest – obviously it wasn’t realistic. The fact that we’d both fallen in love with a 100 year old house was just another pipe dream.
Saturday, we saw the mortgage advisor, who told us that we could afford considerably more than I’d anticipated. With his usual enthusiasm, Simon showed him the house – the advisor took one look at the property, the price, and us, and said very clearly “buy it.”
On Sunday afternoon, we went around to the house and viewed it for the first time. It needed a lot of work – it hadn’t been sold since 1940 and hadn’t been decorated since probably 1970 at a conservative guess. The vendor was the daughter of the late owner, who was desperate to see her childhood home become the heart of a new family.
On the Monday, Simon put in an offer. On Tuesday 6th September, 72 hours after I’d vaguely come to terms with the idea of buying, our offer was accepted. On Friday 14th October, we exchanged, and on Friday 21st October, we received the keys to our first ever home. A 3 bed semi-detached house, built circa 1890, with beautiful views, huge potential, and a lot of floral wallpaper. We are homeowners.
48 hours later…
So we picked up the keys on Friday afternoon, both took time off work to explore, giggle, and feel a little shell-shocked. My parents came up on Friday night for the weekend. On Saturday I took them into Manchester to show off our local city, and explore the Manchester Science Festival. Simon stayed at the new house to start tackling the avocado bathroom suite with blue carpet and turquoise tiles.
On Sunday (today!), Simon’s parents came up to see the new house, and help start the renovation work. It’s now Sunday evening…
When we walked in on Friday night to see our future home, the walls were floral, the bathroom green, and the place in perfectly liveable condition.
We now have sore backs, dried hands, and slightly buzzing ears. The bathroom suite is in the garden (with the brand new suite in the living room…), the floorboards are bare, the tiles are gone, the plaster has fallen away and we’re left with the raw stone walls. The master bedroom is wallpaper-free, and the upstairs is covered in dust.
The plan is to have the bathroom completely refitted by the time we actually move in a month. Next weekend a friend with plumbing expertise is coming round to make sure the pipes are all fitted correctly, and Simon’s brother and sister-in-law are going to help with the first splashes of new paint.
It’s scary. It’s more work than I was expecting, and I fear that the crumbling plaster is a sign of things to come in other areas. But the place is ours, and we’re going to work damn hard to make it beautiful. It might be a bit wonky, and not quite perfect, but that’s because we’re doing it all ourselves. No tradesmen, no pristine corners. But instead a place that we can call our own, and will likely be in for the next 30 years.
Here’s to another new chapter in our lives… And one that’s much more messy!
The next 5 weekends (including the two book-ending a holiday we booked before we bought) are set to be filled with dust and paint. But I know that at the end of it all, we’ll have our very own beautiful home.