Sunday 22 February 2015

Buying Our New Home

You are probably aware that we have recently moved home. It seemed to take forever from when we decided to sell and when we actually moved. Our flat in London was shared ownership so we had to abide by the housing association’s rules regarding the sale of our home.

When it came to looking for a new property we relied heavily on the internet simply because the area we were looking to move to was around fifty miles away. It just wasn’t feasible to journey up and browse in estate agent’s windows to keep up to date with new homes coming onto the market.

When we began our search we knew we were looking for a three bed house, which was a non-negotiable. A garage was something we would’ve loved for extra storage but not an essential. It was also important that we moved to an area that had good commuter links to London so we decided on one particular area to focus our search.
Daily I would search online for houses that were in our budget and that met our requirements. If something came up that looked good I’d give the estate agent a call. That moved on to calling other estate agents directly to see if they had any properties matching our criteria.
We spent a fair few weekends travelling to view houses, sometimes only one property for the day which sometimes felt like a waste of a journey. But as the houses with our preferences and budget were selling like hotcakes, we had to move fast.
There was one house that I particularly fell in love with (just from the online photos & description) after spending an evening searching through estate agent websites. When I called them to book an appointment to view the following morning, I was told that the viewing day was already fully booked. It sounds ridiculous but I was devastated, I and the other half wanted the chance to view it. Our names were put on a waiting list if anyone else dropped out but I didn't expect to hear from them. To my shock and delight I did receive a call a few days later and we booked in to go and have look.
We knew prior to the viewing that we would be making an offer and we did. One of the big selling points was the garden, it was huge and would've been ideal for Eliot. It also had a garage for our ever growing clutter. Unfortunately we didn't get that house as the owner decided the safest bet was to go with a first time buyer even though our flat had been sold.
Then one Saturday morning I received a call from a different estate agent about a house that I'd enquired about several weeks earlier. It had been sold but was now back on the market. We went round to have a look the next day and decided to make an offer. We completely missed a great deal of things that weren't great with the house as you may have already read about. Our offer was accepted and we really felt it was meant to be after the time we had spent looking. We're still working on it now!
My lovely friend Danielle helping with some DIY
Obviously with moving home comes plenty of expense, solicitor's, fees, furniture removal costs and estate agent charges. We had to cover the costs of the housing association's solicitors and pay them a percentage of the selling price. If you sell through an agent you are required to pay their fees.
An online company who offer a range of upfront packaged fees are My Online Estate Agent. Unlike local estate agents you may find on the high street, My Online Estate Agent offer their professional services with  lower commission rates.  They recently carried out some research which highlighted that British homeowners could have saved a whopping £3.5 billion if they had sold with an online estate agent  in 2014. My parent's have been um'ing and ar'ing about selling their home for years now. One of the reasons they've put it off is due to costs involved. As neither of them are internet savvy I will be helping them put their place on the market through an online agent when they finally decide to take the plunge!
Have you saved the £££'s by selling through an online agent?

'Cool Dude'-My Sunday Photo 22/2/15

Whilst we were out for lunch on Friday, Mr Eliot grabbed hold of his father's sunglasses and kept himself (and us) amused by putting them on and taking them off. Each time he did it he had them on upside down but he still managed to pull off a 'cool dude' look ;) This photo is mid attempt.


Tuesday 17 February 2015

Move Update

Sneaky peek of our new kitchen
If you read my blog regularly you will know we recently moved home. In fact it was back in December and we’re still not in! In my last post about our move I described what a personal nightmare it had been. It has been a really difficult time which has really taught us a lesson when looking at properties in the future. I never, ever want to experience it again. 

There were LOTS of jobs that needed doing which we had completely missed when we viewed the house. However the big jobs are almost complete so fingers crossed we can be in by the end of next week! Once the carpet is fitted on the stairs, landing and in Eliot’s room we should be good to go. We still have plenty of smaller jobs to finish off, such as fully unpacking, painting furniture, kitchen lighting and those little finishing touches that can make a big difference.

The main light in the kitchen is one of the big smaller jobs. The ceiling currently sports a rather ugly plastic covered long strip light. No offence intended if you have one but they really remind me of schools and having spent a lot a time working in schools over the years, I really don’t want one in my home!
I loved the kitchen back in our London flat, the lighting was much more to my liking in the form of spotlights.
We have already bought a simple silver light fitting for the kitchen which requires GU10 bulbs. A bulb I’d never heard of or used!

 One of the reasons we moved out of London was to get more for our money and have lower outgoings. It’s no secret that making small changes around the home wherever you live can reduce your bills. So whilst browsing for GU10 bulbs I came across halogen and LED. The LED bulbs come with a higher price tag but after some online research I discovered, there is a HUGE difference in how much halogen bulbs cost in the long run.

5W Kosnic Powerspot - Dimmable - Warm, Cool and Daylight - Standard and Wide Beam Angle Options
A Kosnic LED priced at £4.70 available on LED Planet
As an example, the average cost of five halogen bulbs is £9.95 with the same amount of LED’s costing £24.96. On the other hand when it comes to your electricity bill, an average years energy using halogen bulbs could cost £95. Whereas average annual usage using LED could cost a mere £4.77, a whopping difference! I also found out LED lighting lasts several thousand hours longer so replacements won’t be needed for years! I think it’s a no brainer about what bulbs we’ll be buying for our new light fitting and for the rest of the house! LED Planet have a vast range of bulbs which can easily be selected by choosing a brand, room or base. The range has plenty of options to ensure you can pick the perfect lighting for each room in your home. This infographic gives a bit more perspective in to the benefits of LED lighting.
Have you switched to LED lighting yet?

Sunday 15 February 2015

My Sunday Photo 15/2/15

Eliot is quite a fan of In The Night Garden at the moment. The book in the picture has been a bit of a saviour when out and about. If Eliot gets cranky it usually keeps him entertained.
Really this photo shows how he's growing up and developing his skills. Before Christmas he found it tricky to get to grips with a crayon but now he can manipulate them well and enjoys a bit of mark making. I wonder if he'll be in to art!


Sunday 8 February 2015

My Sunday Photo 8/2/14

I've missed being able to take part in my Sunday photo! As Eliot and I are still living at my parents who don't have the internet, I'd been relying on my iPhone to upload photos. Typically I had an issue with it for about three weeks and couldn't upload any photos from my camera roll to blogger. Luckily my phone has started to behave again so I'm able to share :) On Friday the OH and I took Eliot to a farm, it was bloomin' freezing but such a nice afternoon out and Eliot really enjoyed himself. We fed some animals in the barn including some very large (and beautiful) shire horses. It was inside the barn where a tiny little piglet caught my eye. As my heart melts at any animal baby I rushed over to find a group of piglets all huddled together looking totally adorable, the photo doesn't do justice!

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