We’re about to move into our first house!
First, a little bit of backstory. Max (my boyfriend) got himself a flat around the same time we got together, in December 2014. We met at art school, and at the time I was commuting two hours a day from my parents’ house and back, so I started staying with him until June 2015 when I was officially added to the tenancy and had officially moved away from home, from Wales to England.
So, come May 2017, we were both about to hand in work for our final deadlines, and wanted to start looking to live somewhere new. We were set on Bristol, because the illustration scene there is amazing, without it being London. Because neither of us are quite ready for London.
We started looking into different areas of Bristol and decided we wanted to and could probably afford to live in Clifton/Redland area. We kept looking, with the intentions of moving in August, as we had our degree show in June, New Designers at the beginning of July, Graduation and then a two-week trip to Sweden at the end of July, into August.
The more we looked, the more we realised that we wouldn’t be able to get much for our money in Bristol itself, compared to towns just outside. We started to fall in love with Clevedon – on the Severn estuary, with sea views and only 20 minute drive into Bristol. And so much cheaper.
The time came, between New Designers and Sweden, that we could start viewing places. We found what looked like our dream flat, arranged a viewing for it for a couple of days time, and chose a couple of alright-looking places to go and see as well since we were driving an hour and a half each way anyway.
The three alright-looking places were first up, and all seemed very bleh in real life too, we were a bit disappointed but got to spend the day in Clevedon because our other viewing wasn’t until late afternoon. It is a beautiful town, would definitely recommend a visit if you can.
We had a look at our dream flat, and it was beautiful. Beautiful views, beautiful floors, beautiful everything. We loved it. The estate agent who showed us around said he had another viewing booked after us and if we wanted it we needed to go to their office in Portishead (15 min drive) ASAP and put our names down. So we did. But we didn’t think to bring passports and bank statements with us so we were told to bring them the next day. So we did. 3 hour round trip so they could photocopy our passports and bank statements. And, as soon as we got home – we got a phone call saying the other people who viewed it also showed an interest and the landlord picked them over us. Three. Hour. Drive.
So then we sulked for a bit and went off to Sweden, during which Max convinced me that moving to Wales might be a good move for us. I was previously adamant that I didn’t want to live where I grew up or anywhere to close to it. I wanted to live somewhere new and exciting. But we looked at some properties and there was such a massive difference in price, for example the two-bed top floor flat we looked at in Clevedon was £750/month. In Monmouthshire, there were quite a few houses in the £550-£650/month range that came with gardens and driveways and all sorts of good things.
And, wise as he is, he said that he’d rather live in a nice house somewhere not so cool than an alright flat somewhere cool. And I agree.
I mean, there’s still beautiful scenery in Wales.
We started arranging viewings while we were in Sweden and the first one (well, two) to come around were these semi-detached cottages that were stuck together and both happened to be up for rent at the same time. They were properly in the middle of nowhere, in a hamlet three miles from the nearest town. But they were so nice, it was hard to choose which one we like more but we chose one and applied for it. We were supposed to hear back the next day.
In the meantime, another viewing came up for another cottage and we weren’t sure whether to go or not since we’d applied for somewhere else, and we started panicking about being offered the other house before we’d seen this one because this one might be nicer, and we’d already applied for the other one but what if this one was nicer, but also the other one was in the middle of nowhere, and was that going to work for us etc. But we did go and look at it and I’m glad we did because it wasn’t for us and it confirmed to me that I would definitely be happy if we got the other one.
So four days after we viewed the first cottages, we got an email from the estate agents saying the landlady had some questions regarding us being self-employed. (Oh yeah, another thing I should point out is that being a self-employed recent graduate is a nightmare for convincing people you can pay rent. Get a real job, don’t be an illustrator. … I’m kidding. Maybe?)
We answered the questions, and heard back the next day – she was willing to offer us a six-month initial tenancy if we paid that six-months rent up front. Woohoo!
It is now almost two weeks since we first viewed the house and we have completed referencing forms and handed in our months notice at the flat we’re currently in. We’ve packed around half our stuff and are very excited about having a house together (with a garden!) Hopefully referencing goes ok, and Max isn’t some kind of bankrupt ex-pirate with a criminal record and he just hasn’t told me.
I’ll just finish this post off with a list of things I’m excited about now:
- Seeing the house again now that we know we’re going to be living in it.
- Needing a laundry basket because we have a garden to dry clothes outside.
- Having more space for house plants.
- Having a separate studio room to make sure our work/life balance is good.
- Getting a fridge freezer where the freezer section can hold more than three peas and a chip.
- Having cupboards! Cupboards for clean bedsheets and towels! Oh, the joy.
- Being able to eat at a table.
- Having more space for nice rugs.
- CHRISTMAS IN OUR NEW HOUSE.
And if you are in a similar situation, or just want to take something from this blog post so you know you haven’t just wasted ten minutes of your life, I think it’s to remember that, cue cliche, everything does happen for a reason. It really does.
Thanks for reading, will update you on the move when it happens! Eeep!
(cover illustration – www.amyvale.com – @amyevale)