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