Painting

We’ve spent the last few days painting the kitchen, and now it is ‘blue lagoon’. We’ve put some pictures into the ‘Decorating’ album to show the kitchen before and after painting. We’ve started to take the same colour through into the hallway, and we think it looks pretty good.

I really feel that once the kitchen is finished (they are coming to fix it on Tuesday, it is currently stacked in our living room) that we will have got the majority of the decoration done – just the two bedrooms, and perhaps a new paint colour in the bathroom, left to do.

We are moved

On Tuesday, 16th March, we finally moved into our new house. I’ve put some photos of the move online, but we’ll try to get some more of the new flat online in the next few days.

The move itself went fine, despite my worries about getting the van loaded (would it all fit? would we get it done on time?). We had loads of help from Damyanti’s sister, Ian and Martin to get the van loaded, and by around 10pm on Monday evening, we had loaded the majority of our stuff.

Since I was still worrying about the whole thing, I woke up early on Tuesday. I was aching all over, so the first thing I did was have a bath, before starting to throw out even more rubbish (unfortunately some of the stuff we intended to recycle went into the bin because we just needed to get rid of it).

We were all finished by about 10:30 on Tuesday, so we then took Damyanti’s sisters stuff over to her new flat (yes, not content with just one move in a day, we decided to do two), and then basically sat around waiting for the sale to go through.

Finally we got the call about 1:30 to say that money had gone through, and we could pick up the keys. However, the person we were buying from was still in the process of moving out, so we went over, and waited by the van until he had cleared out. So we finally got to put stuff into the house at about 2:30.

I can tell you that unpacking is a lot more rewarding than packing, and seemed easier. Again we had help, this time from Mark, and Nicky came over as well.

The place needs a good clean – I started sneezing almost as soon as we got there. I think it’s just dust (hope I’m not allergic to the flat!) I suspect once the dust has settled I’ll be OK again. Anyway, we need to give the place a good clean before unpacking all our things.

It also needs decorating. I have to say I thought it was in better condition than it is. It isn’t awful, but the sooner we can paint, the better really. We also need to fit lights into the living room and kitchen (he used standard lamps in both), and replace the curtains, and the blind in the bedroom (which was filthy, and broken)

Unfortunately, since I’m away now until Friday, and then we are going to Seattle a week on Monday, we won’t have much time to do this before Easter. I’m hoping we can clean, fit some lights, and unpack the majority of our stuff this weekend – we’ll see.

I know Damyanti cleaned one of the windows last night, and said the water was absolutely filthy.

I can’t wait to get home to start setting up home.

Success!

It looks like we have made it. We’ve just heard that contracts have been exchanged, with a completion date of next Tuesday (16th). I’ve booked the van, and I’m waiting to hear that we have dispensation to park outside both properties for the day.

It’s been a long haul, and incredible to think that we first looked at this property on 3rd September. So – now we know what we are doing for the rest of the week – time to pack 🙂

Almost there?

Well – we think we are now pretty close to finalising our sale/purchase. We went to our Solicitor on Thursday to sign our various contracts etc. Unfortunately, there are still some bits missing before we can exchange contracts. We had everything we needed except that our mortgage offer had expired (due to the length of time taken to get to this point), and we need a receipt from our landlord, to whom we pay ground rent. We’ve now got the confirmation from the bank on the mortgage front, but we still don’t have the receipt.

Without this receipt we can’t exchange (otherwise we could find ourselves in breach of contract apparently – and this would be a bad thing). As our landlord has proved difficult to get hold of, this is a bit of a worry.

We also had a bit of a panic when Damyanti’s name came up in a bankcruptcy check. Seems a bit unreliable to do this kind of check by name (Damyanti Patel not being exactly an uncommon name), but I think she managed to convince our solicitor that she had never lived at the relevant address, and never had a credit card (why this second piece of information was important I don’t know). This also seems a bit of an odd way to do it (Solicitor:’Your name has come up in a bankcruptcy check’; Damyanti:’Oh – that can’t be me, I’ve never been bankcrupt’; Solicitor:’That’s OK then’)

After we have exchanged, it will take a minimum of 5 working days to get to ‘completion’ – the day when all the money goes through, and the whole deal is done. So we are currently hoping that we might get the receipt on Monday or Tuesday. We could then move on the 15th or 16th. Unfortunately I’m at the UCISA Conference from the 17th-19th, so if we don’t exchange on Monday or Tuesday, that pushes the completion date back to 22nd March at the earliest.

Having signed the contracts it does all feel like it is going to happen now, and although there is obviously still potential for problems, we decided we would start packing, hoping this wasn’t tempting fate. We’ve packed all our books, CDs, DVDs and Videos (16 boxes worth altogether). I’ve taken down the shelves we are taking with us, and taken the pictures down in the bedroom.

We are lucky working in a library – loads of boxes just hanging around waiting to be used!

We’ve also phoned a couple of van hire places to check prices and availability. I made friends with Charles at Practical Car and Van Hire, and although they are a bit more expensive, I suspect we will use them (since we have a personal recommendation from some friends as well).

We were meant to be going to Bolton this weekend, but as we drove to work on Friday, the car overheated, and we had to pull over to wait for it to cool off, and top it up with water. Although this was almost certainly because we had to sit in almost stationary traffic for ages, I didn’t want to try driving 350 miles straightaway (although the car made it back to Twickenham without a problem). This was a shame, as Damyanti’s Dad was looking forward to us coming up, and was disappointed we couldn’t make it. However, we will still go up before we go to the States.

I tried to book the car in for a service today just to get it checked out, but none of the places I tried seemed to be open – so I guess that will have to wait until Monday now.

We are starting to make lists of ‘things to do’. We did borrow a book from the library to help us, but it wasn’t much help. For a start, it was last revised in the late 90s, and (perhaps still suprisingly) suggested doing everything by post or telephone (how did we cope before the Internet?). It also was (not suprisingly) aimed at people moving a bit further than 0.4 miles. So, a lot of advice about a ‘survival’ kit (which, for some reason, included a hoover – which hardly seems like a piece of fundamental survival equipment to me), and calculating if you need an ‘unlimited mileage’ van hire, which didn’t seem very relevant!

I’m sure there is a handy website now that lists this kind of thing anyway.

So, a busy weekend. Where we have taken stuff off the walls, there are now holes which need filling, and I guess we’ll need to re-paint (I seem to remember somewhere we are obliged to ‘make good’ any damage made by removing shelves etc, but I’m not quite clear on how much we have to do). Anyway, the advantage of starting packing today means we have time to tackle these little jobs.

Hopefully on Monday we will have a definite move date, but I guess that we may find that it is actually going to take just that little bit longer (it always does), and so we will end up moving on 22nd March. I’m hoping that this isn’t the case at the moment, but realistically (or pessimistically), I think it will be.

Longtime, no postings

I’m afraid we haven’t been too good at keeping this up to date! Anyway, thought it was about time we said something.

We’ve now had the mortgage offer from the Royal Bank of Scotland (hooray), and also the contract details through from the person we are buying from. We’ve also had some questions from our buyer’s solicitor.

I went through all this stuff on Wednesday, and sent an email full of questions to our solicitor. Some aspects of the contract on the flat we are buying we really aren’t happy about (for example, a clause that says we can’t watch TV or listen to the Radio after 11pm or before 8am!). There’s some other odd stuff as well. I’m not sure whether we will be successful in getting these things changed, and whether they really make any difference, but if we are going to have a contract it would seem stupid not to at least question these things.

Having sent this off, I was a bit suprised to get a letter from our solicitor this morning chasing us, so I’m wondering if the email didn’t reach her. I’m going to send a print copy today just in case.

We’ll try to keep this a bit more up to date – really we should start branching out in our postings, as our move won’t (hopefully) go on forever. I’m not sure if either of us are natural diary keepers (or perhaps just not naturally inclinded to share our thoughts in such a public way?). I’ve started to try to record some work stuff at http://www.meanboyfriend.com/overdue_ideas/ so perhaps this will be an outlet for some other stuff

Mortgage fiasco

Some bad news on the moving front – somehow our Mortgage application has gone missing between the financial services firm and the bank (Royal Bank of Scotland). They’ve now faxed through the application again, and we are waiting to hear the result. A very helpful guy from the financial services firm is going to give me a ring this afternoon to update us on the current situation.

It’s a bit of a pain, although I suspect it isn’t going to make much difference to the timing in the long run – I can’t see any reason that this will delay anything, since the survey has been done anyway, so it is only if RBS have problems with our application that it will affect us.

On other fronts we’ve now (I think) given our solicitor all the details we can. They will need to get some from the Property Management company (at a cost of £105.75) – if we’d managed to put the information together ourselves, we could have avoided this charge, but to be honest, I’ve come to see it as well worth the price to avoid the hassle (in fact, I’d have happily paid someone to do all the paperwork!)

More when we have it on this exciting story…

Bloody paperwork

Not much to say that’s new. Just trying to force myself to complete what seems like completely pointless paperwork at the moment.

We got the survey back, and all was OK, so that’s good news, and should mean that the mortgage isn’t a problem.

So, since there isn’t much to say about the house, I might as well just say what else we’ve been doing. We went up to Bolton to visit Damyanti’s family at the weekend. It’s a long drive, and we were tired when we got home on Sunday.

Visiting Damyanti’s family always involves lots of eating, and this weekend was no exception. When Damyanti’s parents found out I’d lost weight, I think it became a bit of a challenge to get me to eat even more than usual. Apparently Damyanti’s brother told them that Damyanti wouldn’t let me eat!

So – we’ve now finished all the curry and other accompaniments we brought back with us from Bolton, and this evening it’s time for a smoked salmon omlette. Since Damyanti has been working late tonight, it’s definitely my job to cook. She should be home in about 15minutes, so I better go and get started.

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.