Greetings from my parent’s spare room!
Hello and greetings from my parent’s spare room! Because yes, this is now where Mark and I currently reside. Incase you missed the news then check out my recent YouTube videos which details what’s been going on behind the scenes for the past couple of months; but the long and short of it is that we’ve sold our flat, are part of a chain and are waiting it out in the meantime with my extremely generous and gracious parents in their office/our ‘new bedroom’. The possibility of seeing the new year in on sofa bed wasn’t exactly what we had in mind for the end of 2020, but we feel extremely grateful that we were able to sell our flat in the first place and #blessed to have parents that were happy for us to invade with about four car-fulls of stuff and a van full of plants that have slowly turned their front room into Kew Gardens.
In our grand plans we’d always pegged this year as THE YEAR to move. We’d had our flat for around five years, had renovated it to a place that we felt super chuffed with, and we were ready for the added bells and whistles that a house brings. A garden! An entryway that was our own! A parking space?! Hey, a girl can dream. So we kept the year pretty clear of plans in order to hunker down, save and get to it. Turns out we ended up putting our flat on the market approximately two weeks before lockdown officially began in the U.K. We got an offer pretty much straight away, but it was understandably removed from the table 24 hours later as things shifted dramatically across the world. So the housing market closed and we stayed put (and my daily Rightmove habit was put on hold).
When the housing market reopened in the U.K people were chomping at the bit for a move and we found new buyers pretty speedily. They loved the place, got their ducks in a row in record time and were ready for a speedy sale. Here’s the catch. With things super hot right now, it’s pretty much impossible to get an offer accepted on a place (or sometimes to even get your foot in the door for a viewing!), without being proceedable (a.k.a having buyers for your home, or being a buyer with nothing to sell). So up until that point, even if we had seen a place we liked, it was snapped up by proceedable buyers and we didn’t stand a chance. With buyers under our belts Mark and I turned into a marathon version of Location, Location, Location and saw ALL. THE. HOMES. Homes that needed renovating. Homes that didn’t need renovating. Homes that we previously would have written off for whatever reason. Homes that were miles out of our desired area. Big Homes. Small Homes. ALL THE HOMES. After seeing what felt like 27869 properties, we finally saw one we liked.
Seeing as it’s place that we’re still in the process of (fingers crossed!) buying, I’ll save that part for a later date, but the cliff notes version of the story is that we are currently part of a chain. And with our buyers eager to move, and us eager not to lose the sale in this unstable economy (and after losing an offer before) we decided to complete the purchase on our flat without having the onwards link in the chain also completed. We will be forever grateful to my parents who have allowed us to lodge at theirs since with extremely short notice and have been so dreamy to live with and supportive throughout the rollercoaster moments of the process so far. They love our cooking, we love their company. It works and for that we cannot put into words how lucky we feel. Because of them we’ve been able to save on extortionate short-term rental fees, and they’ve saved us from loosing our buyers. THANK YOU PARENTS.
So that brings us up to speed. The plan is to wait it out here with my parents until our new place completes. In terms of timings – how long is a piece of string?! Buying, selling and moving is never a stress-free task, but doing all those things right now!? It’s on a new level and I’m sending all the positive vibes out there to everyone whose plans for the year have gone off piste. I’ve popped some things that we’ve found helpful so far down below and I’ll do a more detailed post on our advice on selling the week after next (pop any questions you have in the comments below and I’ll try my best to answer them in that post). But in the meantime I’m signing off to go and eat a slice of my Mum’s homemade Lemon Drizzle Cake. Maybe that chain can take a little longer….
SELLING OUR FLAT: THREE THINGS WE’VE FOUND HELPFUL
Make the Estate Agent’s job as easy as possible. Anyone who is involved in the property market right now is B-U-S-Y. Chances are they have more properties on their books right now than they have done in years. Help your property stand out by making your own brochures to leave out for viewings. Instead of focusing on things already mentioned in your online listing, note down the local amenities you find useful, your favourite parks, cafes and restaurants, or things you like about the place, like friendly neighbours and easy 24/7 parking.
Be super, *super* flexible. I know that we’re extremely privileged to have the option of moving back into the Airbnb of Mum and Dad, but being as flexible as you can – and just being honest and open about your situation with your buyers if not – can really help the process along. Out of the three friends I know who are also selling their properties, all three are breaking the chain and moving back in with parents, or into temporary rented accommodation. It’s a strange time for selling with the market constantly tipping between favouring buyers, then sellers, but being as flexible and as ‘go with the flow‘ as we can be has helped our situation massively.
Communicating with our buyers. We actually met our buyers face-to-face pretty early on. We were nervous given our previous experience with the pulled-out offer, so our Estate Agent reckoned that it was good to all meet so we could all see that everyone was on the same page. It gave us a huge amount of relief to see how much they loved the property and a huge boost to our confidence that it would all go through. We even ended up on a WhatsApp group, which meant that whenever they had a question that wasn’t a legal query they could just come directly to us. It might be everyone’s cup of tea, but I don’t think we would have gone from offer to completion in nine weeks (that’s deemed an extremely speedy sale in the U.K) if it hadn’t been for the communication between us.
We feel extremely grateful that we’ve able to move during this tough time and all YouTube Adsense from my ‘We’re Moving’ video will be donated to YMCA Downslink Group who help vulnerable people with accommodation, advice and support.
Photos by me & Mark Newton