Did you compromise on anything when buying your forever home?

(65 Posts)
Piemistress Sat 17-Nov-12 10:19:15

I am having a dilemma. We have sold our house and currently searching for our long term family home (we are in Scotland). There are 3 contenders and I just don't know what to do as each one has something that the other house doesn't IYSWIM. Unfortunately we can't really wait and see if anything else crops up as are having to rely on the kindness of family and friends for accommodation in the interim (we are 2 adults, 2 young kids).

House A is the smallest but has the nicest garden. It is huge, sunny and totally enclosed. It also has a big flat driveway with lots of parking space. There is no en-suite or space to build one (itself not a huge deal as have never had one). It has a conservatory off the lounge and we could use the dining room as a playroom. The downstairs windows would need replacing and there isn't masses of storage. The plot is nice and open and doesn't feel hemmed in and has a nice views front and back.

House B has a lovely feel inside. There is lots of space and a nice open plan kitchen/diner/family room and separate playroom off the lounge. The bedrooms are all big with a huge family bathroom and en-suite and all with built in wardrobes. It would need a lot of work though, the boiler is over 20 years old and both bathrooms need replacing. The front has lovely views but the garden is very overlooked and the back of the house feels very close to other houses. Because the village is on a slope there is a house immediately behind this one which is why it feels so overlooked, it's a big house and sits above this one if that makes sense. The garden does face south and east though.

House C is randomly the house I grew up in! The family that bought it from my parents are moving. I don't know if this would just be too weird or not. It has a lovely south facing open garden, conservatory, lots of storage and an en-suite. It all depends how much work needs doing to it too.

I am hoping after second viewings that my mind will be made up for me but I'm just not sure! With Houses A and B it's garden and open plot versus house and the I have the emotional ties with House C.

Sorry for waffle!

Did you make any comprises at all or just wait it out till the right house came along?

KirstyJC Mon 19-Nov-12 14:04:37

I would avoid House B, but then our last house had a garden that was overlooked and as a result we never used it. You can't change the other houses and where they are, but pretty much anything inside a house can be changed, so I would count B out.

For me personally I like the sound of House A, the big sunny garden, lots of parking and a driveway - sounds fab!

House C depends on how weird it would be to move back to parents home.

When all is said and done, you can write lists and rationalise it for ever. That won't help - just close your eyes, think about living in each one. With your furniture, your things, and your family running around in there. Which one FEELS right? Which one makes you want to kick your shoes off, put your feet up on the settee and have a cuppa when you walk in? That's the one to buy.smile

indiegrrl Mon 19-Nov-12 14:09:10

Don't worry about a boiler being old, if you can afford about 4k, which is what is cost us to upgrade (pipes as well as boiler). Qualified firms take this in their stride it isn't a big job or too dirty - just costs money!

DewDr0p Mon 19-Nov-12 14:10:05

Nowhere is perfect ime.

Is there anything you can do to make House B feel less overlooked?

It's just that the house itself sounds fab. The kitchen/diner/family room would swing it for me, I have to say.

What's your gut feel?

I would go with house C. We nearly bought the house DH grew up in. But it had been bought from his parents by a builder (the one currently doing our house) and transformed. It is no longer the house he grew up in IYSWIM. Yes the same basic layout, the same parquet flooring...but decor/fixtures/fittings all updated and it does not feel like the same house.

THe hemmed in phrase just keeps coming from you for house B. Red Flag.

ANd yes, you can removing a supporting wall. We have - and now have the most amazing open plan space thanks to some RSJs.

Piemistress Mon 19-Nov-12 14:56:15

I have approached the owner of House C and advised we would like to get a survey and valuation done (it will be at our cost as house wasn't marketed) so just waiting to hear back from them as I know they might not be able to commit to an entry date as they have to find a new house in new city (they have to move there). Hopefully they will see the advantages of selling directly and avoiding sellers fees which are about £2K! If it all gets a bit sticky then we will go for House B. I know realistically living in the part of Scotland that we do that there isn't a huge amount of time spent in the garden but it's nice to have some privacy when you do! smile

Ohhhh....how exciting. Keep us updated.

VikingVagine Mon 19-Nov-12 17:06:29

What about renting somewhere until you find somewhere perfect?

tugamommy Mon 19-Nov-12 18:28:57

I know I'm probably alone here but I would never buy a house with a south facing garden, ie with a north facing front. It means none of the front rooms get any sun, ever. It has to be east/west for me.
But other than that def house B. Storage is the most impt thing ever! smile

Piemistress Mon 19-Nov-12 19:14:35

We did think about renting but it would be over £1000 a month which is hard to swallow! Even for a 2 bedded place. We have ruled out House A now as its about 1/3 smaller than the others (despite great garden) and neither of us had a great yearning for it. ok so (sorry for brain dump on MN!)

House B
Front faces East with open aspect
Garden is a strip running down the side and faces east and south.
Garden is semi overlooked from above and to the side
We overlook other houses quite badly from the back hence hemmed in feeling
Small kitchen but is open plan to dining room (wall has been knocked down) giving open plan small dining/family room
Decent sized lounge with single storey room next to it (probably use as playroom)
Potential to join playroom with family room by adding on a sunroom which would pretty much link up whole ground floor quite nicely
Utility room which has internal door to garage
Driveway for 2 cars
Downstairs loo
Upstairs big family bathroom
Small double to front on one side
Two bigger doubles to rear both overlooking right into people's gardens, one has big ensuite but would want to change layout so en suite is off front bedroom with view
Both bathrooms need replacing and needs new boiler, carpets etc
Big double at front above garage with large window open aspect can see local hill and bit of the sea

House C
Front faces north with open aspect
Garden faces south, enclosed with patio
Concrete area too for kids
Front garden too but north facing
Driveway for 2 cars
Utility room with internal door to garage
Huge kitchen, needs updating
Dining room with doors to conservatory
Long term would like to join kitchen and diner?
Big lounge
Square hall upstairs with four big double bedrooms, one with en suite ( have view of local hill and a bit of the sea)
Family bathroom
Rotten wood all round house so plastic facias required
Decor upgrading required inside

The houses are five mins walk from each other and both within walking distance to the school, bus stop, local shop etc. it's a small coastal village in Scotland.
They both have double inbuilt cupboards in all bedrooms.

I wish I had surveys for them both and valuations! I think the valuations will be quite similar though, I know what neighbouring properties sold for in the last six months and there's not much in it.

KirstyJC Mon 19-Nov-12 20:15:14

If House C was your childhood home, how did you like growing up there? Did you find the garden big enough to run around in, the house fun to be in etc? That might give you some indication of how the house would suit your children too.

Definitely B sounds wrong - you keep saying 'hemmed in' - not a good way to be feeling when you are thinking about a forever home and you haven't even moved in yet - imagine how it will feel a few years in...?

Do the same list House B, House C with just descriptive words/words from the heart/instinct.

Piemistress Mon 19-Nov-12 20:33:00

We moved there when i was about 12 or so, so have différent memories, more of a bedroom with Howard Jones pósters (showing my age here!) and then later on hanging out the window for a ciggie (ex smoker now!). I asked my parents if they thought it would be weird and they said no but we are planning to totally change it decor wise.

When the survey and valuation come back for House C we will know more then and hopefully the owners will find another house so have à better idea of dates.

I know lots of people have houses overlooking them but i guess its harder to consider as we are going from a little house with nothing but fields behind us!

Piemistress Mon 19-Nov-12 20:37:14

We moved there when i was about 12 or so, so have différent memories, more of a bedroom with Howard Jones pósters (showing my age here!) and then later on hanging out the window for a ciggie (ex smoker now!). I asked my parents if they thought it would be weird and they said no but we are planning to totally change it decor wise.

When the survey and valuation come back for House C we will know more then and hopefully the owners will find another house so have à better idea of dates.

I know lots of people have houses overlooking them but i guess its harder to consider as we are going from a little house with nothing but fields behind us!

Ok, going to sit with DP and talk from yhe heart, I know he prefers House B and thonks I am being silly for saying that I wont get used to the overlooked garden!

Piemistress Mon 19-Nov-12 20:38:04

Not sure what happened there, oops

Piemistress Sat 24-Nov-12 21:42:01

ok so, there has been a survey and valuation done on House C but when we spoke to them tonight they mentioned there had been other people interested in the house (small village so news travels) which has left me feeling a bit angry. Have no idea how much they are hoping to get but we aren't going to pay over the odds.

Piemistress Fri 28-Dec-12 14:40:18

Thought I would give an update on this!

We ended up trying to buy House C but got totally screwed over. The husband told us that "there aren't other people interested" as his wife had misunderstood what was being said (later realised this was a big fat lie). So we put in an offer just below valuation which was, unsurprisingly, knocked back as we didn't want to put in our best offer straight away. In those 2 days they had had a "significantly" better off and sold it to another party! No chance to up our offer or come to an agreeable price with them. Turns out the other party are "friends" of theirs who have "always wanted the house". So we wasted a month of our time on this, most vexed! I have ignored their apologetic email!

So that left House B (as we had already discounted House A purely on the fact there was nowhere to build an ensuite or extend it really, plus it had a lot less storage). So we met with the owner of House B and they accepted our offer of the valuation price. The amount of work that is to be done does scare me! And the big house in the bag garden does bug me BUT the house itself is really nice. DP thinks I am totally over-reacting about the overlooked part of it as they actually cannot see into our house/garden but we can see into theirs. It's the side of their house which is beside our garden and one of our back bedrooms looks right into their garden? I keep wondering if we have done the right thing in discounting House A because of the reasons above BUT I would probably be doing the same if we had offered on House A and not B. House B does have lovely big windows out the front with great sea / hill views, it's just the back of the house that bothers me a bit.

We had to make a quick decision though as staying with family in the interim which is quite stressful with 2 young DCs!

fussychica Fri 28-Dec-12 15:13:37

Thought I had a forever home but things change and I've just had to sell a 5 bed 4 bath house with a beautiful pool (obviously not in the UK) for a pittance sad. We have had to downsize dramatically to be able to still live in a nice area in the UK. We have compromised on outlook, bathroom and space generally but am actually very happy here. However, being so close to other houses is by far the most difficult of the compromises for me to live with so I'd rule out House B even though the house sounds the nicest. I'd go for C if you can deal with it. Despite what I said about B I think you'd be wanting to break out of A, especially with the crap weather we seem to be having.

fussychica Fri 28-Dec-12 15:16:48

Sorry just seen your update but had already posted what is now a totally unhelpful reply. How rotten for you. Hope it all works out.

Springforward Fri 28-Dec-12 23:14:21

We spent 3 years - I wish I was exaggerating, but I swear I'm not - searching for our current house, and there were still a lot of compromises to make, mainly in terms of the amount of work it needs. We must have looked at over 100 houses, but you know, there isn't one of them which I would rather have now. As long as the basics, such as size and location are ok, the rest is what you make it, to a great extent.

Piemistress Sat 29-Dec-12 21:20:52

I have uploaded some pics of the garden in house b, what do you think about the neighbouring house behind it? Could I make it less imposing somehow? It's not as bad as I originally remembered but we have just left a lovely view of fields (see pic) which is making it harder! They can't actually really see into our garden but just feels like it.

If you recognise it let me know, eeks!

Flatbread Sat 29-Dec-12 21:41:39

Pie, some people care more about view, openess and being hemmed in, others don't. Nothing right or wrong either way. It seems you care more than your dh.

I am like you. Seen the pictures of the view from house B on your profile. It would bug me.

What ever you decide, best of luck!

CaHoHoHootz Sat 29-Dec-12 22:32:54

The Effect of the house at the back could be diminished by planting a tree. Something with a light 'open' feel (IYSWIM) . Something that would soften the edges. Get an experts opinion or look around te nieghbourhood and see what other people have. A slow growing, multi stem, small'ish silver birch would look nice.

Piemistress Sat 29-Dec-12 22:49:29

DP has just fallen out with me over it all. He cannot see what the problem is at all and thinks that having houses close by is just par for the course, it doesn't bother him at all. Mmmmmm. It's a bit more stressful too because we have sold our house and are staying with family till we find somewhere and 4 bed houses in the village we like get snapped up (hence us looking for a private sale).

Will take a walk next week and see what other people have done to disguise nearby properties. I think the fact I had such a lovely open aspect in our house has made it want it again but we were on the edge of a village which helped!

Thank you peeps x

Springforward Sun 30-Dec-12 00:04:17

When we finally settled on this place, it was one of two on the table, and the other one was back to back with another house. But there was good tall planting (a silver birch, i think, and a tree of heaven) which made the house behind seem less important. Also my very sensible sister pointed out that no-one would be stupid enough to break in through the back of the house, so it would be more secure. Like you, we left a very private house (wooded backdrop in our case), but the reason we bought this one was for other reasons entirely.

I think this ramble is trying to say, having a house behind might be worth it if the rest of the property is appealing enough, maybe?

Piemistress Sun 30-Dec-12 10:01:29

Thank you. The house itself inside is great which is what makes it difficult. Has a fab double garage and decent driveway,lovely views from the front and is 5 mins walk from the school and 10 mins to the beach. Oh how I wish that house wasn't there then it would be a no brainer! DP will seriously freak if I back out now!

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