We've opened a bottle of Bubbly!

Tuesday, 20 April 2010
I believe that as of today we are officially the owners of two properties!

So, we've had a bottle of bubbly with our chilli tonight - not a bit weird.

I can't help feeling that it is a bit of an anti-climax, probably because it has been going on for so long! Hopefully it will be more exciting when we get to the "moving in" stage.

It was strange to look at out bank accounts today and see a mortgage there. We've been used to not having one for 3 years. But it seems that money will be leaking out of our pores for the foreseeable future.

Almost There...

Saturday, 17 April 2010
The property at Carnhill will finally pass into my hands on Tuesday!

It has been a long and arduous process made all too complicated by typos in wills, pernickety probate officers and long-winded insurance applications. But the purchasing process will be finalised on Tuesday. Funds are already buzzing around in the ether, contracts have been signed and invoices have been submitted.

It has been a good week for invoices. Not for me, of course. I've just sent through the funds for the deposit on the house. I've written a cheque for the Stamp Duty. I've been presented with the solicitor's bill. I've just received an invoice from the architect for Stage 2 of the design process. I have to send a cheque to the Council to cover the building control application process and I will soon receive an invoice for the building inspections.

If we remember how things were before Christmas, there was quite an expenditure on the house clearances covering labour and skip hire.

In short - it seems that many thousands of pounds have been spent and no builder has set foot on the property yet. Funding the remainder of the process will rely on borrowing and cashing-in investments and ISAs! Thankfully, money grows on trees, doesn't it?

To ease the pain of seeing these invoices, we've spent some time looking at more fireplaces, bathrooms and doors. Doorways, Northumberland Street, seemed to have a great range of doors which looked very appealing. Unfortunately, the doors I was drawn to seemed to retail between £150 and £200. With 16 internal doors required, we may have to revise our budget up to ~ £3,000. My penchant for walnut doors may require revisiting!

And finally.... I'm quite sure that I have spent the last 10 years writing maybe 2 cheque a year on average. In the last 6 months, I've exhausted one chequebook and am making serious inroads into the current one. And they say the chequebook is almost obsolete!

It Feels Like Traction!

Wednesday, 7 April 2010
It seems like the planning process for the redevelopment of our house has taken a long time (which it has) but finally we are starting to get some movement.

The working drawings are now underway and should be complete by the end of next week at which stage we can get finally get a builder involved.

The first meeting with the architect to discuss the finer details of our requirements seemed to go quite well. We are aiming high and are hopeful of being able to achieve everything that we want within our budget. So far, we have:

  • Lowered suspended ceiling in the sitting room with feature lighting above
  • Wood burning stove in the sitting room with air ducts to heat the hall & landing
  • Eye-height inserts in the dining room (lit from above) for display purposes
  • Concertina doors in the sitting room opening up into the garden
  • A smaller larder (but consequently, a larger utility room)
  • A gas fire in the lounge
  • Underfloor heating for the hall and the kitchen/sitting room/dining room
Velux windows in the roof of the hall

The beam vacuum system that we wanted looks like a non-runner just now!

Our biggest issue is the builder selection. The recommendations we've received so far aren't strong enough recommendations for our liking. They've either been 2nd hand (or even 3rd hand) recommendations or the builder has been quite rude once we met them. Rudeness won't win this particular contract!

Of course, we've had a number of letters from builders keen to win the contract on the back of seeing the planning approval process. Everyone's advice seems to be to avoid builders who tout for work this way so those letters have been filed appropriately (with a special file for those with typos, spelling mistakes and basic grammar issues).