I've been dying to write about something for weeks
now but was afraid to, in case something fell through. But now I believe it's safe to tell you what's been going on with us since January!
Regular readers of this blog have sometimes seen photos of the great house I leased when I first settled into this part of Oxfordshire. And when John and I got married, he moved in here with me. It's a barn conversion and therefore very, very
charming and full of character. But it's a little small for the two of us...especially given that we aren't kids and have a lot of "stuff" between us (although John would no doubt argue that most of the "stuff" is mine...!)
The owner of the house had thought he might sell it, and we would have had a decision to make whether to buy it or something a bit more spacious. However, soon after we got back from our trip to Texas in late-December/early-January, he advised us that he wants to move back into the house himself when my current lease expires in April.
So our househunting began.
Within a few days of starting to look, one of our favorite neighbors told us that a house very nearby (in the same village...in fact, even on the same side of the village we're already in!) was on the market. I was teaching in London at the time, so John arranged to go see it. He thought it was a good prospect. He arranged for us both to go back the morning after I got back from London. And the very next day, we got into a bit of a bidding war with a couple of other potential buyers...but John's skillful negotiations eventually won us the deal!
advantage we had was that we have no "chain" -- in other words, we had nothing to sell before we were able to buy. John had sold his Hertfordshire home last year, and of course I was renting over here. The seller is the estate of a deceased woman; she died last November, after living in the house for several years. The estate's executor appreciated our chain-less position as well as the fact we have timing flexibility -- in fact, getting the house several weeks before we needed to move in would enable us to be able to replace carpeting, get the house repainted, get minor repairs done, etc., etc. before
moving in. So the sellers accepted our offer. This all happened within about week of hearing that the house was for sale...at the very end of January.
Getting through a house-buying procedure in England isn't as straight-forward as it is in the States, and only when "contract exchange" has occurred is the deal itself really done. And that only happened last week.
If any of you are interested, from this link
you can read through the steps toward what's called "completion" here. Our completion date is this coming Friday -- that's the day that all the monies flow and we get the keys!
So now I'm confident enough to share our purchase with my readers...and you can click on any of the images for a larger version.Our new home. It's on a lovely little cul-de-sac...in a small development containing around a dozen houses. They are about 12 years old. In comparision, here's a shot (from February '03...the morning we first met the home leasing agent) of the barn conversion I've been in since April '03. My part of the building is right in the middle of the photo, and you can see the village's parish church in the background.
Here's part of the kitchen in our new home...and by the way, we'll be changing the color of the paint!
Now, many of you have commented about the beautiful kitchen in the barn conversion I've been leasing...and here's a reminder of the difference, as here's a shot I took last Thanksgiving...
We will definitely miss that lovely kitchen!
The view from the front of our new home. While very nice, let'e compare it to the view we've had from the barn conversion....
And last but not least, here's a photo to give you an idea where we'll be located in the village in the new house. This is a shot from the end of our cul-du-sac, and that's the same parish church in the background. So you can see that the house's location is just terrific!
There will be a lot of things about our current home that we'll miss. However, we're buying a terrific home which has more space and more features which are better for our lifestyle. And we didn't have to leave this lovely village, which we love more and more every single day!
I'll keep all of you updated as we take possession on Friday, start our redecorating, and eventually move in! John and I will finally have a real home of our own, a home which will truly be ours! And you can imagine how excited we are!
PS HAPPY BIRTHDAY LARRY!