Bishops Gate

I thought I would write today so remind myself about our journey of how we live where we live. so here goes…

I lived in Haydock all my life and for a long time, my entire family all lived within 1/2 mile of each other. Cozy! I lived in a terraced house that I bought on my own in 2002, M moved in with me in 2005 and then in 2013 we started to think about moving somewhere larger.

We started to look around generally, scouring Rightmove and seriously contemplating what type of house we might like and where we might move to. We made a list of things we might like:

  • Off road parking
  • 2 loos, or potential for a 2nd one
  • A garden
  • 3 x bedrooms
  • A garage

One night M came home from work and said he had noticed that there was a new development in Newton-le-Willows on the site of the old St Aelreds School. We enquired online and got them to send us a brochure. We made an appointment and met a lovely lady from Taylor Wimpey called Kath Belshaw in a local estate agent’s office. TW didn’t even  have an office and there wasn’t a foundation set or a brick laid. We had a chat with Kath and put our name down on her list to say we were interested in a 3 bed detached house with garage called “Aldenham”. We were dead chuffed.

However, we did keep looking and checked out a couple of other new build estates and even had a viewing of an older property. But nothing quite appealed as much as the Bishops Gate site, which is what TW had called it.

The timeline for the houses to be ready was from late 2013 to mid 2015, so we decided to put our house up for sale in readiness. We spent a bit of money getting the house “sale ready” having it decorated in a neutral colour and fixing all the odd jobs that accumulate in a 110 year old house. We de-cluttered in a big way, sending 12 boxes of stuff to storage and God knows how much crap to the tip.

We went on sale around the 20th July 2013 and by that weekend, we had a viewing! I was UTTERLY convinced she would immediately buy our house, Job Done! She didn’t. In fact, we were on the market for 8 months before anyone made an offer. We used 3 different estate agents and dropped the price often and wildly.  Here are our “sale” pictures:

But before that, the new house beckoned. So as I said, we had had our names down on the list for the detached house when the show houses were built at the end of October 2013, we went along to have a look-see and what happened next changed everything!  You see, the show house they had for us to see, was a semi-detached 3 story house called “Ingleton”. M and I walked around the show house, as yet without furniture and slowly but surely, fell in love. Room after room brought surprise after surprise, large open spaces with 2 bathrooms and an extra “spare” loo downstairs!  We were so shocked by our discovery, we went to M&S in Warrington and sat in the car park, intending to go in, but unable to get out of the car. We sat for 45 mins discussing how amazing it could be and what we could do with each room.

We rang Kath and told her to switch our preference to the Ingleton and she told us that we were 6th on the list with 2 houses available in 2014 and another 4 available in 2015. We agreed that there was a better chance we could get one in 2015, so we kind of thought that we weren’t under any pressure to sell our house and we had lots of time to save up etc etc.

In early December 2013, still thinking that we weren’t going to get a house till 2015, we booked and crucially paid for, a 2 week to trip to America. Hey ho, we had savings we thought and weren’t going to need any big money for at least another year, what the hell.

On December 20th, M got a call from Kath at TW and she offered us a house!!! She said she had offered it to all 6 couples and the first one to get to her with all the right paperwork and mortgage offer could have it! I have to point out that whilst this conversation back and forth was happening, I was right in the middle of my Christmas lunch at work – mental.

So M pulled out all the stops and on the 21st December 2013, we went to sign for our house!!! The only fly in the ointment was that Kath told us that we would have to pay the entire deposit of £9,000 by the end of January!! As you can imagine, we weren’t’ expecting this and the next day, we called to cancel. But Kath and our financial advisor (thankfully) talked us out it and at the end of January 2014, we exchanged contracts. OMG.

But of course, at the time we signed for the new house, we hadn’t sold our old house and this kept me awake many a night. But thankfully at the beginning of March and after another price drop, we sold our house to a lovely lady, her son and their 2 dogs. Phew.

I rang the solicitor and estate agent once a week for the next 3 months and I don’t think I sped up the process one little bit. The pressure was increased when Kath rang us on the 4th May to say that whilst originally our new house was supposed to be ready at the end of July, it was now going to be ready on the 27th June!!! This was amazing news, but kind of put us into a time pressure panic.

But in the end, it all worked out and we moved out of our house on the 30th May and spent the next 4 weeks sofa surfing and spending time at the Travelodge in Warrington. It was a very happy time.

Finally, on June 26th, we got a call that meant the house was ours and we could go and collect our keys!! We moved in the next day and the rest is history.

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Our amazing house

We have never been happier, we just simply love this house. The plot has a decent sized garden, which is surrounded by trees and green space. We have really lovely neighbours and it’s so quiet that it’s just perfect to come home to after a busy day.

It might be “staycations” for us for a little while, but I don’t care, it was and will be worth every penny. Do I sound smug? Well I feel it. M and I have worked hard for a very long time, in my case 24 years, so why not? We deserve it.

G x

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