Starting to plan

We’ve been trying to not get excited about the prospect of moving, as there is still a long way to go before it’s all finalised. However, as things go on, it’s hard not to start planning what we might do with the new flat.

So, Damyanti has bought some ‘house’ magazines, and I’ve been trying to draw out a floorplan:

It’s not exactly to scale, but it gives a pretty good approximation to the size/shape. The room sizes are:
Living Room 14’4×12’4
Kitchen 11’5×8’2
Bedroom one 14’9×10’2
Bedroom two 11’7×10’5

We haven’t got a measurement for the bathroom, and the unmarked ‘box’ to the left of Bedroom One is a cupboard, which is under the stairs which go to the flat above – so only the part at the top end is useable.

Offerings

We’ve made an offer on the maisonette in Berkley Court, and had it accepted (£215,000). So – hopefully within not too long a time, we will have a new home! Damyanti’s sister wants to buy our flat – so that makes that simple!

We are trying hard not to get excited about it, and so not talking about it much!

We also saw a second ‘financial adviser’ this evening, really just to make sure the advice we got last week was about right. However, unfortunately this one was a bit useless – he had a useless system into which he entered our details (slowly), and also wanted to impress on us how awful it would be if one of us died, had a terrible accident, or were otherwise struck down (of course, in order to sell us life insurance etc.)

He also had to check our dates of birth (for the second time) to then tell us that would apply ‘if we were 45’!

Suffice to say, that we laughed about it after, and won’t be going back to him to get our mortgage.

damn those maintenance payments

Lebanon court lived up to the photos and more, it’s really light and spacious with good sized rooms. The kitchen door led out to a firescape with potential for hanging baskets, the living room had a great bay window and all in all was just a funky flat, unfortunatley it comes with expensive maintenance charges which we can’t afford.

On our return home we checked the details of the Berkley Court flat and worked out that although Lebanon Court had an extra room there was little difference in floor space between the flats. The price of Berkley Court will also leave us with some spending money for decor etc and fills all our criteria and is also a nice flat but I think I would rather decide between two pairs of boots!

On the plus side we made a delicious pasta dish tonight (spaghetti, tomato sauce and chilli prawns, cooked in a bag of tin foil)

Broadening our horizons

We’ve been a bit busy this week, but we have found time to view two of the propeties for a second time – this time with some friends for a second opinion. The two that we liked were Berkley Court and Queen’s Road.

After we’d looked for a second time, we decided we would like to put in an offer on Berkley Court. However, we wanted to get some mortgage advice first, so we arranged an appointment for today (Saturday) with the financial adviser at Townends estate agents.

What we discovered was that we could easily borrow enough to offer on Berkley Court – but also, that we could afford a more expensive property if we increased the amount we were prepared to pay per month. So we went home and did some sums, and decided we could push our repayments up to 900 pounds per month. Which means we can look at some slightly more expensive properties.

This has left us a bit unsure what to do. We still like Berkley Court, and feel it is probably a bit of a bargain. There seems less available at the slightly higher prices that fit our criteria, but there are some that might be worth viewing.

So, we decided we should at least view a couple of more expensive places. We saw a couple online, and in fact managed to see one today. This was a Victorian cottage. We were quite excited about seeing a proper house, but the reality was that it wasn’t the same quality as the flats we’ve seen. Both the garden and the house would need quite a bit of work to make it how we would like.

We’ve also booked an appointment to see a property in Lebanon Court on Monday – which actually has an extra room (either bedroom or dining room).

This at least will give us an idea of what we might get for the extra money. I can still see us putting in an offer on Berkley Court (if its still available) – only time will tell.

More flat viewings

We were too busy enjoying ourselves last night (had some friends round to dinner – had a really nice time) to write this after seeing two flats yesterday, and as we’ve seen two more this evening it’s definitely time for an update.

5 Grove Lodge
We saw this yesterday. First impressions weren’t so good, the outside was rather dilapidated with peeling paint, and weeds in the yard. It was also on a very busy road – right in the centre of Twickenham though.

When we went inside, the lady living there was very nice, but the flat was rather cluttered – and a bit chintzy for our taste. Although obviously we’d redecorate, it was quite difficult to get a feeling of the size. There was also quite an overwhelming heavy scent which made us feel glad to get out into the fresh air!

So overall, we weren’t too keen. However, there was a nice small garden out the back (shared with the other flats), and also access to a private riverside garden/balcony belonging to another block of flats (Eyot Lodge), which was absolutely gorgeous – and made us wish that we were looking at a flat in Eyot Lodge instead.

Finally there was no gas in the block – but there was a carpark.

So overall, we weren’t impressed but since we were due to see another in the same block later in the week, we thought we’d see what a similar flat looked like without all the stuff in it.

Queen’s Road
We had been warned by the Estate Agent that the second bedroom was very small – which was something that we’d already realised. However, we hadn’t quite appreciated how large the other bedroom and the living room were – really quite spacious. It also has a balcony which runs down the side of both bedrooms – this was a really attractive feature (the balcony wasn’t that wide, but we could really imagine it full of plants). The kitchen and bathroom were both OK – not huge, but reasonably nicely done.

So – this was the first flat that we’d seen which we really liked. The downsides – no central heating (electric heaters and storage heaters), no gas (just economy 7 electric), small second bedroom (would probably fit a double bed, but not much else). However, the location is brilliant (nice quiet road really close to the centre of Twickenham), and we really liked the balcony, and lots of light. I think we felt we could imagine living there.

Berkley Court
We saw this tonight, and this was another one we liked. This certainly felt like the biggest flat we’ve seen, with two good sized bedrooms, a largish kitchen and bathroom, and a nice living room. Wooden floors throughout, and gas central heating.

Some little things that we didn’t like – no oven, only a hob, and the service charges were on the high-ish side (900 pounds a year), but definitely one we think is worth a second look.

8 Grove Lodge
Last one for now. Not a lot to say really – it was fine, but nothing special. Confirmed what we thought really about the other thing – it was fine, but I don’t think we would see it as a move up from where we are.

Valuation 2

We had our second valuation today. The guy who did it was very thorough, and took time to measure the rooms (with some clever sonic device), and asked lots of questions about the lease, the central heating system and the like – all the kind of thing that the previous valuer had not been bothered about at all.

And the result? Exactly the same as the first valuation – which probably goes to show that it’s not rocket science.

We’ve got another valuation booked for next week (probably the last I should think – 3 seems to be enough to be going on with) – then we need to decide who to use, and when to put it on the market. I’m starting to get slightly worried about the timing – although in theory it is (apparently) a seller’s market, and we should have no problem selling our flat, it would be nice to already have an offer on ours when we see the one we want.

Viewings Galore

I have learned a valuable lesson today, when estate agents take your phone number and say they will call you back it does not always mean you will get called back.
I have organised five flat viewings for this week, so we should be kept busy and maybe even see something we like. The five flats we are going to see are
Grove Lodge
4 Queens Road
Berkley Court
Crossdeep
Melton Court
We are hoping that after viewing all these flats we should have a clearer picture of whats on the market and what we want.