House or Home

You know when you live in a house and it doesn’t quite feel like home.  There isn’t really anything wrong with it and on paper it is exactly what you are looking for but it just doesn’t feel like home.  Well, we lived in that house.

In 2008 we moved into that house.  At first we (or maybe just I?) loved it.  We came from a really small place that had almost a townhouse feel.  If I stood at the back door I looked into the people next door’s bedroom.  My front door was about  2 metres from the upstairs front door.  So when we saw this house and how big it was and all the space we loved it.  We loved the 5 bedrooms (although in reality it was only 4 real bedrooms), the 3 bathrooms, the huge yard, the double garages.  When it came up that she might sell the house we thought it would be fantastic to buy it.

In hindsight I think the appeal of not having to move again is what really made us think it was a good idea.  We asked for more time, knowing that we weren’t quite ready financially to think about it.  So we had a deadline.  Lucky for us there was a twist.  In one conversation with the owner she said a few things that really made us think.  She was determined that she wanted a specific amount and was not willing to drop.  She had loads of sentimental attachment to the house and in her mind the value was much more than it actually was.  W and I decided to start looking around to see what was out there in the price range we were willing to look in.  We had never even looked at houses.  To be honest, I never thought it would be US buying a house.

So we started to phone and look around.  We were quite surprised to see what was out there.  I am not going to lie, the process was a little painful.  Dealing with estate agents can be tricky.  The biggest thing I learnt was that if you are not happy with the agent move on to the next one.  We didn’t have huge requirements but those we had were important.  Something silly was that we mentioned very clearly that we had dogs and the property HAD to be fenced.  One agent took us to a house.  The first one. No fence.  At all.  It was a nice house and if it had a fence/wall/whatever it might have made it onto our “to consider” list but gosh, what part of “must have fence” didn’t she understand? Oh well….

We then promptly made the decision that we would NOT be buying the house we were in.  The houses out there in our price range was just as nice – if not nicer – than what was out there and it often had a few things extra here and there.  So then we had to make it official and really start looking seriously.  It was tough.  One saturday we went to look at 7 houses.  After seeing all of them we started making lists, comparing, trying to picture our stuff in the particular house.  I had a first choice, Willie had a first choice so they were 1 and 2.  We pretty much took the others off the table because we really thought it would come down to one of those two.  We kept going back and forth.  We both loved both houses but one had something he liked more and the other had something I liked more.  We went on for hours!!! trying to make a decision.  We drew pictured of the houses and where our stuff would go, what the rooms would be.  After hours, literally, it seemed we would be compromising either way.  For some odd reason we took another look at house number 3 on the list (actually it might actually have been 5 or 6 because we had a run-in with the agent the day before).  We drew the pictures, we made the comparisons, we listed the things we really liked.  We looked at each other and thought “Why did we take this house off the table?  It’s PERFECT”.  So we looked through the pictures again.  We realized that we had judged the house based on the feeling towards the agent at the time. Going through the pictures again we really fell in love.  The biggest problem was the price.  It was WAY out of our price range.  We were told that they were desperate to sell so…. we phoned the agent.

It was saturday afternoon and we phoned her to tell her we wanted to make an offer.  We made arrangements for her to come see us on Sunday morning to sign the papers. Sunday morning we signed, made a much lower offer. The agent put a deadline on the offer. The seller had 24 hours to give us an answer.  The agent was seeing them later in the afternoon to give them the offer.  That was the LONGEST few hours of my life.  As we were having lunch we were discussing wether the agent had been and left yet.  If they would give us an answer before the deadline.  Torture.  Literally minutes later my phone rang and it was the agent.  She said she gave them the offer and we wouldn’t have to wait the 24 hours for an answer.  They accepted it.  We were shocked, happy, excited and a little afraid.

From then on it was one nightmare after another.  It was draining.  One stumble after another but it was the walk we had to walk to get our house.  One of the requirements we had was that there would be place for my dad.  He has always lived with us and our feeling was that there would always be a place for him in our house.  While we were waiting for transfers etc was when my dad got sick.  He had not seen the house yet even though he was very excited about it.  About a week after he came out of hospital the first time we arranged to go and show him the house.  He was so excited.  He kept asking when we were going.  When we got to the house we helped him out of the car. He walked as far as the front door and said he needed to sit down.  I quickly took him to the pool area chairs and he sat down.  He couldn’t make it any further than that.  He loved sitting by the pool and commented on how big the yard was and how nice the pool was.  He said he was looking forward to swimming in it in summer time.  We helped him back to the car and he said when he was feeling a bit stronger he would be back to see it.  Well, he never did see the inside of the house but I knew he would’ve loved it.  SO much of the little extras in this house was stuff we knew he would love.

So now we have been in the house for about 7 weeks.  We are loving it.  We had a lot of work to do.  Willie’s parents came down for 2 weeks where his dad literally worked every day, from the minute he woke up to the minute he went to bed.  Late!  We were exhausted.  We love our house.  It’s huge for just the two of us but we still have hopes of filling at least one of the rooms.  The yard is even bigger than the old house and we didn’t think it was possible.  It has a much better layout.  We have a real life study/office.  I love my kitchen.  It really is home.  It is a dream come true.  We love our home.

**I have posted loads of photo’s on FB but here are just a few**

 

From the patio

 

Our fountain

 

Pool at night

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