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?

Piemistress Thu 03-Jan-13 23:39:28

I was thinking about getting someone in for the plants and trees as I am rubbish at this kind of thing! The inside needs a lot of work too which scares me! In the picture where you can see the view out of the sunroom double doors? We are hoping to extend that out to align with the end of the house (if get permission but will be quite close to the boundary wall) so hopefully the doors will be beyond the neighbours house windows (if that makes sense!)

The focal point will probably end up being a children's climbing frame! wink

Thanks peeps for helping me! I really am not a very creative person, DP will probably totally lose the plot with me when it comes to doing the kitchen and bathrooms! I asked him what Mr Men/Little Miss I am and he said Indecisive!

CaHoHoHootz Thu 03-Jan-13 23:30:45

Back to the planting..... My suggestion......

Don't try to 'block' out the house at the back with a tree that may grow to be equally overbearing. What you need to do is minimise it's presence. Soften it's edges rather than putting something in front of it. I would not use evergreens as they can be too heavy looking. I much prefer copper beech hedges rather than laurel. Whatever you do don't even think of lylandii. They are horrible tree (usually)
Make a focal point at the back of your garden away from the house and make sure the flower borders/ shrubs in your garden are interesting and have both depth and height
It may be worth getting a professional in for some proper advice.

Sorry if you know all this already. You may be a landscape gardener for all I know grin.

Piemistress Thu 03-Jan-13 23:02:37

We have had a further chat and this won't be our ultimate forever home, I think once the DCs leave home (ok so that's about 18 years away!) we would probably move to the west coast of Scotland so it needs to suit us until then. One of my concerns is that we won't make a profit on the house and that the overlooked thing will put people off buying it (like it is me!) but he thinks I am being utterly ridiculous to both think that far ahead, and let the overlooked thing bother me as he apparently doesn't even notice that big huge house!! My parents went round for a squizz and think I am over reacting hmm

My problem is that I am hard to please whereas DP is the opposite!

I think good planting will help disguise that house well, thanks for the tips! X

I just really wish that my parents old house hadn't been available because then I wouldn't be comparing this one to it. I keep kicking myself that perhaps we should have offered more money but we offered a decent price that we thought would satisfy them but obviously not and they sold it to another party. Isn't hindsight a wonderful thing!

Fizzylemonade Thu 03-Jan-13 18:52:59

So glad you came back to update.

Planting would easily sort out your "overlooking" issues. We are on a hill, and I have an 8ft laurel that hides me in the lounge from the bedroom windows of 2 houses that are sort of behind me. It is evergreen so no difference in winter.

I have also planted some bamboo to give some screening from another bit of the garden.

We are in our forever home, the only thing we compromised on was the kitchen as it is very small but we are extending this year!

We just knew that this would suit us now and later. So there is me and Dh and 2 DSs, we have a 4 bed, with the smallest double bedroom being the office so Dh can work from home when he needs to.

We converted a double garage (we have a massive drive) into a playroom for the children, so all their toys and noise is in there rather than the lounge.

We have lots of storage, somewhere for coats, shoes, ironing board, hoover and although everything needs updating (13 year old house) we are making it our own.

For me when we viewed the house I took notes of places where I would spend time, so the kitchen at the sink and prepping food, what can I see? Would I feel uncomfortable? In the lounge MNetting, reading, watching tv, would I feel comfortable?

What didn't I like about the house? Ugly fireplace, but everything I don't like I can change. The stuff I can't change isn't a deal breaker for me.

Good luck

3smellysocks Wed 02-Jan-13 21:06:30

I think it would be a great house to play around with. Careful tree planting would screen the buildings.

Piemistress Tue 01-Jan-13 11:05:40

Thanks cahoho I can't help but fret if we are doing the right thing but are semi committed (verbally but not in writing yet) maybe I am worrying because its such a big purchase? Or would I be worrying less if the house was perfect? Sigh. DP is despairing of me! I am so pissed off at the owners of House C screwing us over as I wouldnt have had to compromise :-( people keep saying that it just wasn't meant to be but that doesnt really help! I need to look at the positives of this next house but am struggling even although I do like it. That doesn't even make sense! Sorry !

CaHoHoHootz Sun 30-Dec-12 18:11:44

It looks a lovely airy and light home.

How exciting for you......

Piemistress Sun 30-Dec-12 17:47:22

Have added a pic of the front of the house.

back I think we were very lucky with our old house having such great views and was also in quiet cul de sac. I know I won't get everything I want in a house but, I am struggling with compromise but I know realistically there will always be something!

I love the the inside of the hose and its potential which is why I am in such a quandry. We had to discount the other house with open aspect as it was much smaller for same valuation and extending it would have been difficult as it sits much higher up than the garden (lots of steps down to.garden) and building on it would block out lots of light.

Thanks for all comments about trees.and plants to disguise the other house, off for a google!!

BackforGood Sun 30-Dec-12 14:02:58

I wouldn't have a problem with the house being there (from what I can tell from your pictures) but that's not what's important really. If you've just sold a house with open views, then any house in the village is going to seem more closed in. We can't really say how important that is to you - for me, I've always lived in a City, so I'd expect to have houses in front, behind, and next door to me.
I do believe that you always make compromises when buying, but if you don't feel happy with it to begin with, then I wouldn't buy it, even if it meant renting somewhere for 6 months to give your family space. Buying just costs too much to buy somewhere you don't even like to begin with.

Back2Two Sun 30-Dec-12 13:51:15

Oh just realised old thread!

Back2Two Sun 30-Dec-12 13:50:38

I'm not saying this to be provocative but out of interest.... The term "forever home" makes me feel claustrophobic from the outset. It seems to put so much pressure on your decision. And do people really know that they are going to be there forever? Freaks me out!

But anyway! I'd say from what you have said that House C sounds great for you and your requirements. If it was a happy home when you lived there I would say it's quite a lovely thing to return with your own family. If you believe in this "forever home" thing it seems to fit in nicely and create a nice circle!

From your photo looking out from the extension, I would plant a laurel hedge along the right hand boundary. I am totally with you on wanting to avoid the overlooked thing. I don't want to be able to see anyone else's windows from any where in my house or garden, so my planting scheme reflects this! I think you can achieve this in house B with the right planting.

nahla321 Sun 30-Dec-12 13:13:17

House 1 or 3 I would go for as I think house 2 the little niggles now would irritate you over the years and being so overlooked isn't a nice thing to compromise! Good luck x

notcitrus Sun 30-Dec-12 12:24:32

Sounds like a trellis and climbers might help a lot. We have a 12 foot London garden which is overlooked by a whole row of houses plus neighbours, but when in the garden it feels like a green oasis of calm, until the kids come in!

Fwiw, we compromised on condition and planned to live in a building site for around 10 years. Not for everyone, but all the disruptive stuff should be done by end next year.

Springforward Sun 30-Dec-12 12:11:57

It does sound lovely, tbh - hope you find some peace with it soon.

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!

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 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

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.

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!

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!

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.

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.

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.

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!

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