Moving house!

After deciding to move house in early 2008 we’ve finally exchanged contracts!!! So instead of writing blog posts, I should be doing this…

Our house is looking decidedly less organised at the moment- it’s going to be a fun week!

Photo © carla arena (CC BY-NC 2.0)



At the risk of stating the obvious, I’m having a short summer break from blogging, mostly due to an ongoing project to buy a new house. That’s not exactly been going smoothly, so when we do eventually move I’m sure there’ll be a few posts on the subject! Until then I’m wondering whether to blog at all, and perhaps stock up a few posts for a new season, or just stick to the odd short ramble. Here are a few bite size updates from the last few weeks for example…

It seems a bit like I’ve spent every spare minute on Rightmove but investigating house locations has been the perfect opportunity for a spot of mapping; after initial success with Open Street Map, I’ve made a few more edits. I did think the map was pretty complete where I live but on closer inspection there are actually quite a few details missing.

I’ve also spent a bit of blogging time playing with Google+ instead. Meh. I think the most interesting thing has been the discussions around using your real name, but that issue is not exactly unique to Google+.

Exploring the Android Market looking for apps that will work on the Joggler has been a welcome distraction. Need to add a few more to that list, including my new favourite clock. I’m impressed with how well the Joggler has taken to it’s new life as an Android device, but it is somewhat tied the wall, so I’m seriously tempted to buy a ‘proper’ tablet. I’m sticking to my dumb phone so I want something portable enough to make it out of the house on a regular basis. For a budget option the Andy Pad seems like it might be worth a look, except that I’d want to try before buying, and now there are rumours about a Samsung Q mini tablet/giant phone, except that’s not going to be cheap at all!

And we’ve been on holiday to Germany, which was much more fun than any of the above.

Need another holiday already though!

Not moving house

We’ve been trying to move again the last couple of weeks, with even less success than last time if that’s possible. Ok, so the first problem was of our own making: sell before you buy. Ok, we knew it was probably a bad idea, but we had a look round a pretty good house in the road next to ours and decided to give it a go. To stand any chance of getting a buyer in time to put an offer in we used the same agent, which was also the agent we’d used last time so they already had all our details ready. Sadly we just missed out, with two other people offering above our maximum. Bother.

By some amazing coincidence a house we’d been interested in before came on to the market almost the same day as we lost out. After having a look round we still liked the location but weren’t quite so keen on the house, but in another strange twist an almost identical property came on the market in another road which was much nicer. So nice house in worse road, or worse house in nice road. We put an offer in on the worse of the two houses, based on a fair bit of investigation on what it’s really worth. Sadly that offer was rejected to today; we’ll be keeping a look out for what it sells for in the end… if it ever does sell that is.

We weren’t actually planning to try and move quite so soon anyway, so unless something new materializes in the next couple of days, I think we’ll have to let our buyer go and take the house off the market again. There are just too many problems trying to move at the moment:

We live in a really nice house in a very good location

Well of course we would say that when trying to sell our house! It’s true though. Even houses costing far more don’t offer that much extra apart from the tiniest of extra rooms. Surely floor area should make more of a difference to house prices instead of simply the number of rooms. Thanks to Eastleigh’s absurd planning rules for parking spaces, which seems to be just over one space allowed per house, our current house has better parking than a lot of bigger houses. Of course that reduces traffic enormously… erm, not.

There are no first time buyers

Despite putting our house on the market slightly below the estate agent’s valuation, there was practically no interest. Only a couple of first time buyers and some investors. First time buyers can get mortgages, but they need deposits again which, as Sarah Beeny points out, is a good thing over all. I still think house prices are a touch too high as well (it looks like I’m not the only one). Interest rates can only go one way from here and the only thing that seems to be keeping prices up at all is…

There are no houses

There is barely anything coming on the the market. Well, apart from the house we originally wanted, and the house twins. Even so, one of those was probate and the other has been on the market twice before recently. Since we have a buyer, we’ve been looking around for other places to buy but what’s out there is either not much better than the place we’ve got, or is over priced.

Estate agents are a pointless as ever

In some cases I think they are actually making things worse in their current role. A percentage commission is little incentive to get the best price for a vendor at the best of times, but with such a low turn over it’s even less important than getting a sale. They also do all they can to get money through other services; despite already having an independent financial advisor, I had a pretty hard sell from one estate agent which it turns out was actually enticing me to borrow more so that I could make a higher offer, instead of just telling me that our first, best, and final offer had been rejected. Isn’t that the kind of thing that got us in to this credit mess in the first place?

Many of the things I mentioned the last time I questioned estate agents are now possible using Sarah Beeny’s free Tepilo site. It’s still pretty new and I don’t think Tepilo will sell your house on its own just yet. If you do want to market your own house though, I think it provides a very professional looking place to host your details. While your property won’t appear on Rightmove, it will find its way on to other sites like Nestoria. As far as we know, we didn’t get a single viewing through Rightmove anyway, which is actually pretty surprising. If we don’t end up moving this time, I’ll certainly be using Tepilo again, and hopefully it will have gained even more momentum by then.

So, does anyone have a three bed house to sell? If so, get the details on Tepilo and send me a link!! If not, I think we’ll be giving up and enjoying our current house for another six months or so.


Local pub

Still trying to decide where to live so, with the ideal ideal excuse of a friend’s birthday, I did some important research on one possible location: the local pub! Now my current local is a disaster, so it’s a pretty low bar to beat, but the Bunch of Grapes was a bit of a revelation- if only I hadn’t been driving!

So on the plus side: same distance to work, a very nice meal there on Tuesday, and a great local. On the minus side: it’s a little out of the way (I would definitely miss my station) and I’m not from round there :)

It’s on the (not so)short list.

Location, location, location

I discovered a very nice alternative to Rightmove for finding houses on the web this weekend. As the saying goes, the three most important things to take in to account when looking for a house are location, location and location, so using a map to find properties for sale seems like an obvious choice:

I like maps anyway, so I’m hooked. It also beats Rightmove with support for RSS feeds. How can Rightmove not have a feed? Maybe I’m just missing it. Still, there is one tiny problem with OnOneMap: it doesn’t have as many properties on it. Even our house isn’t on there, although I’m planning to pester the estate agent on Monday to see if I can persuade them to give it a try.