Revisiting the road that got away…

The London property market is crazy and despite the ‘crash’ in 2009 it would appear that house prices in the city and surrounds have recovered, some now exceeding their pre-crash highs.  Though some reports express concerns about the impact of new and tighter lending rules, as yet there has been no visibly significant effect on prices.  [1]

In the last post I wrote about the first house I loved enough to try and buy.  That was about 5 years ago.  The house was on the market for just over £200,000, received asking price offers from 3 separate interested buyers (according to the agent) and eventually sold for £225,000.  That same house is now ‘worth’ in the region of £330,000 according to Zoopla‘s growth tool.

You might remember from the pictures in my previous post that the house was in need of updating/renovation.  There is currently a house for sale on the same road which has been renovated entirely and the below pictures show what you can achieve with these houses with a little work (though they have made the space look much, much bigger than it is in reality).

Front of House

 

Looking at the living room you can see how similar the house looks to the one I viewed but the work that has been done makes the house feel lighter and larger.

Lounge

 

The kitchen is still small but the space is being used more efficiently and the light coloured units make it appear less cramped.  I also think in this one they’ve extended into the garden or across the back of the house a little.

Kitchen

 

Front Bedroom

 

Now for the shock…

This house is for sale for £475,000!  I’d like to believe it was a misprint or a fluke, but there’s another house on the same road for sale for around the same.  It’s astonishing what a coat of paint and the passage of 5 years can do.   Except in London, this is becoming the norm – the bubble doesn’t seem willing to pop.  Of course, it won’t while people are willing to pay almost half a million pounds for a 2 bed terrace in one of the less desirable postcodes.

Talking of less desirable postcodes, I’ll be following this entry up with a look at some of the houses that have sold on my own road since buying the Cloud.   Again, it’s a case of what a difference 5 years makes…

 

[1]  Business Report ; Reuters ;  BBC ;

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The One That Got Away…

One of the best bits of information I heard from an estate agent when house-hunting was to buy the sort of house that was most common in the area you were looking in, or to choose an area where the types of houses you like are the prevalent ones.  Anything that was unusual for the area would attract a much higher price and you would get less value for your money.  So in London, in most areas this will mean a terraced house.  Bearing in mind London house prices and their tendency to spiral ever upwards at a rate which can put a house you have been considering out of your budget within months, I was happy that the estate agent thought a whole house would be within my reach!

This is a picture of the first house I loved enough to make an offer on.  It was a 2-up 2-down terrace, just outside my preferred search area but that was new on the market and the asking price was well within budget.

house 10

Front of House

 

Look at that front door!!  ♥

As the process of buying a first house is a bit of a rite of passage, I wanted to document it and I kept all of the pictures from the listing so I could look back at the house that got away.  The main thing I remember without looking at the pictures was how ‘homey’ this house felt, it was the first house I viewed that didn’t feel like a ‘for sale’ house, it just felt like the people who lived there had popped out for a while and would be back soon.  It had a really good feeling to it that wasn’t present in every house I saw, like the family in it had really enjoyed their lives there.  You’ll see from the following three pictures of the living room that the sellers were breaking one of the cardinal rules of achieving a quick sale (well, according to Kirsty & Phil) by not decluttering and as a result, it was really obvious that they had outgrown the house.  However, it didn’t really matter as, to me at least, it just added to the feel…

house 1

Living Room (Front)

 

I loved the shelving in the recesses above, and the ceiling lamp in the picture below!

 

house 2

Living Room (Rear)

The folding doors between the two halves of the downstairs are a really good idea that I’m considering for the Cloud, I think they would make heating the living space much easier and mean that the room can be used in more different ways than currently.   The flooring was lovely throughout this house, wooden floors all over apart from the hallway which was tiled in black and white.  The old carpets are still down in the Cloud, but I hope to find at least one room that has good original floorboards which I can sand and varnish 🙂


house 9


The kitchen was one of the only disappointments in this house.  It was tiny.  The picture below actually makes it look a bit bigger than it was but it must have only been about 8 feet by 8 feet.  You basically would stand in the middle to do everything as the units formed a ‘U’ shape around you.  That bit of work surface in the picture…that was it for useable surfaces.  You can see that they have managed to have a kettle and toaster on there, but what about my food processor, coffee machine and various other implements!?  There was space to extend sideways across the back of the house though, which is possibly what I was thinking when I made an offer on the house.  Though, knowing what i know now about how little money you are left with post-purchase and how many other ‘essential’ things would have likely got in the way of a new kitchen, I think I would have been living with the tiny non-fitted kitchen of awkwardness for a lot longer than anticipated.

 

house 3

Kitchen

 

One of the real advantages to buying a terraced house is that you usually get a little garden and this one was lovely.  The overgrown plants in the surrounding gardens made this one feel really private and it was such a lovely space on the bright day we viewed the house. Big enough for a shed and a table with chairs but small enough to feel tucked away and like you are in your own little space.  

house 4

Garden

 

When I look back, I know that this house would not have been the best choice for a lot of reasons…especially not if I had paid the price it eventually reached (which, in case you are interested, was well above the asking price, such is the London property market).  It was too small and that would have become very apparent very quickly.  The lack of a proper fitted kitchen and lack of space to really put one in would have been a growing frustration.  The second bedroom (not pictured) had a sloping ceiling which meant half the room would have had to be used ‘creatively’.  Also, it was a much longer walk from the Tube than I would have preferred.  So on reflection, I actually prefer to remember it as the one that got away and it remain a lovely house in my memory, rather than an inconvenient one in reality.