Saturday, February 04, 2006

Finally ... The Flat Saga

I know it's a bit late, but it's time to let y'all know the story of the flat. It's been quite a journey of delays and aggravation, and I know you'll all enjoy reliving it with me. Journey back with me, won't you to ...

August 2005

The flat search begins. After much internet searching, I realize that I cannot afford to buy a flat in North London. This is a somewhat scary proposition, as I've lived in North London for four years - the entire time I've been in this country. In fact, I can count the number of times I've been south of the river on one hand. (Not counting the south bank, because let's be honest - that's not really south is it?)

So, I begin searching and call some estate agents and going to look at places. The first place I look at is really nice, but I get all "oh, you can't put an offer on the first place you look at, that's stupid, blah, blah, blah", and by the time I decide to put an offer in, it's gone. The lesson? She is learned.

September 2005

The looking continues. I see some gross places, some nice places and some places I could actually live in. And the looking continues.

October 2005

The looking continues. I get involved in a bidding war on a flat that's pretty cute. I lose. It's upsetting. But, I find another flat in the same estate and take a look and it's not too shabby. And, I put an offer on it. And exciting news! It gets accepted! Woo hoo! I assume it will be a matter of weeks before I am able to move. I am an idiot.

November 2005

I get myself a solicitor (or "lawyer" to you North American folks) and a mortgage advisor and get started on the horrifically lengthy process of buying a flat. Seriously, you have no idea. I get approved for a mortgage pretty quickly, which was a relief, because I have bad credit. My solicitor gets things moving on the paperwork front. There is a LOT of paperwork. Lucas, who I work with, told me that it would take three months to get into my flat. I laughed at him and told him to shush because there was no chain and it would all be super quick.

(As an aside, a brief lesson in British property buying. Until you actually exchange contracts which happens right when you exchange money, anyone at any time can back out of the house buying and/or selling procedure. That means you could have spent money on things like surveys and mortgage stuff and if someone swoops in and offers more money for the flat, they can just HAVE it. You've got no rights at all. It's called "gazumping", which is a cute word for a crappy thing to do. If you're in a chain of people buying and selling, if one part of the chain falls apart, the whole thing does. It's weird here people. Weird.)

Anyway, it's all moving along. I tell my solicitor that I want to move in before Christmas. My lease on my flat that I'm renting runs out at the end of December, so if that doesn't happen I'll possibly be homeless.

December 2005

My solicitor calls me at the beginning of December to tell me that there is no way I'll be in before Christmas. I am annoyed. Fortunately, I can extend my lease for a month. Still - annoying. The paperwork continues. It moves ever so slowly. So. Slowly. Christmas comes. Christmas goes.

January 2006

It's the New Year. We're post the "Incident" (which we are still never speaking of again, by the way). I begin packing, in the hopes that I will be moving on the 8th of January. I get a call from my solicitor. I'll complete on the 18th of January. Annoying. But at least I don't have to pay another month's rent. I buy a couch (which is a WHOLE other story of annoyingness that I will get to later). I book movers. I buy a new TV. And finally, finally, finally three months (damn that Lucas and his rightness!) after my offer is accepted, I get to move in . FINALLY. The movers I booked were awesome. Seriously, so amazing. The move itself went pretty smoothly, which was a relief. And now I'm in.

Sigh. Aaaand relax. Now just to renovate a bathroom, get the new carpet and floors installed and paint the whole place. And learn to garden. How long can that take?

I've got a few photos of the place, which you can see here.

Seriously, can you believe it took three months? Madness, I tell you. Madness.

1 comment:

Janice said...

Hi Alice,

Congrats on the new flat! It must be awsome owning your own piece of London!

And it only took you three whole months huh?