Andrea Mara

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Diary of a House Hunter

If you’ve done this, you know the drill. Saturday morning is house-viewing morning. Particularly so when the clock is ticking, because the old house is gone. And every time, you get your hopes up. We certainly do. This could be the one. Sure, it’s not quite the location we want, and it looks a little cramped in the photos, and they haven’t included a picture of the garden, but once we walk in the door, the magic could happen. The “oh wow” moment. The tingle, the hopeful smile spreading, the eyes meeting – this is the one.

Except of course it’s not.

There was the do-er upper that was a doing-up stage too far for a family who need to move in right away. The kids were in open-minded mode, looking around a room that clearly hadn’t been touched since 1962, nodding sagely at how it might look if you pulled out all the carpets and painted the walls, their eyes telling me they couldn’t really see it, but they know the drill. Or maybe they just knew they were on safe ground – we were never going to buy it.

Then there was the gorgeous house that’s just too far away – in the estate where all the kids go to the other school. It was a house that spoke to us – three kids, their footprints visible in their books (“look Mum, they read Wimpy Kid too!”) and their toys (“Look, a fairy door, just like mine!”) and their school photos (“They look like they’re our age, but they go to the other school.”) A feel-good house, owned by people doing what we’re doing – looking for a smidge more space. We wished them well. Not for us, but I hope they found a buyer and a seller.

There was the show-house condition, chandelier-wielding jaw-dropper: the one that was back on the market having fallen through twice. This could be it, we told ourselves, walking across the pale wooden floors through light-filled rooms. This could really be it. Now, the kitchen’s a bit small and the garden is tiny, but sure we don’t really need a garden, and we could extend to the side. Couldn’t we? Of course you could, said the estate agent. Until her boss told us we couldn’t – no, sorry, there are pipes underground and it’s a leave-access (or some such) to another development, you have to leave it uncovered and accessible in case something goes wrong. Oh. Bye bye almost perfect house.

There’s the quirky one – gorgeous, 1930s style on the outside, unusual room layout inside. Eclectic decor, and a bath in the garden. Instantly appealing says the blurb. Not sure at all say the kids. I can see past the layout and the decor and the bath, but not the busy, busy, busy on-road location. No matter how hard I try. Goodbye quirky house.

Then there’s the perfect one, the dream house, the ticks-all-the-boxes house. The hope-against-hope fingers-crossed house. The first one all five of us loved. The is it too good to be true house? We’ll see. What will be will be. (Cross your fingers for me?)





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