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House and home

Looking for a new home

(81 Posts)
Coolgran65 Wed 24-Nov-21 01:48:09

Our house is sale agreed after only 5 days on the market having had 6 bidders. All went so well. Sold to a cash buyer who is happy to wait until we find something suitable. A perfect situation for us you’d think.
Except we are finding it difficult to find a suitable property. We want to future proof by moving to a bungalow. Or a house with a bathroom/bedroom downstairs as well as bedroom/s and shower room upstairs so we can migrate downstairs should the need arise. Such a property is like hen’s teeth. Barely a bungalow to be found.
We really want to stay in our little market town but have extended our search area by 10 miles still without success. I think there will not be many new properties come onto the market until after Christmas.

Those we have seen need too much done to them to make them suitable. We’re willing to do a certain amount of work such as changing a bathroom to a shower room but not to the extent of knocking down walls/repointing brickwork.
Today we viewed 4 properties at the 10 mile radius limit without success. I came home drained and emotionally exhausted. Our own home is perfect for us except it doesn’t have the option for downstairs living. Future proofing seemed such a good idea.

Has anyone ever felt that it was all just too much. We’ve only been searching for two weeks but have covered every property in the area that is remotely suitable without success.

I didn’t realise how stressful this part was going to be. To be waiting in hope that we find something. I know that any day ‘the one’ could appear. But can my nerves take the strain.

Anyone else find this part difficult?

amazonia Thu 25-Nov-21 12:38:56

My elderly father needed to downsize last year after my mother died. The enormous family home sold immediately but the buyers were happy to wait. He searched daily, looked at dolls house bungalows, looked at houses out of the market town he wanted to stay in etc. Suddenly he got wind of a lovely house that fitted his needs. Was first to view, put in asking price (very expensive) and moved in at the end of March. All very very stressful but absolutely worth the wait. We couldn't imagine anything suitable coming up but new properties hit the market every day. Make friends with all the estate agents. It will happen

Silverlady79 Thu 25-Nov-21 12:52:38

I would have scoffed at the idea of a property finder a few years ago but when we move to Dorset in the Spring I’m hiring @heartfelthomes (not a plug) the reason? She gets to know houses before they even reach the market and then has superb negotiating skills. A house finder is essential in this market…. IMVHO

Hil1910 Thu 25-Nov-21 12:58:26

Register with estate agents and do a leaflet drop. I would check that your buyer is actually a cash buyer and establish the exact time frame they’re looking to move in. Not many ppl want to move during the winter months so you may well have to wait until spring to find a suitable property. If you really do need a confirmed sale look for a rental until you find your dream property. Happy house hunting.

kazziecookie Thu 25-Nov-21 13:20:37

I maybe worth looking around your area for something you like that isn’t on the market.
The bungalow next door to my bungalow was a holiday home and because of covid lockdowns they had not been using it (they did not rent it out). I told my friend who was looking for a bungalow about it and she contacted the owners directly, so she bought it without it ever going on the market.
We moved from a large house in England to a bungalow in Wales in February 2020 and we love it. To compensate for having no stairs we go on lots of walks for our exercise.

chattykathy Thu 25-Nov-21 13:37:21

Have you considered popping a note through the doors of bungalows you like the look of? You never know someone might be thinking of moving

HazelGreen Thu 25-Nov-21 14:18:17

I think time of year is against you now. Daffodil time is the peak for viewing houses as daylight improves and people plan a move and be sorted by end of summer to have kids into new school and avoid the August 'lull' when solicitors are off on holidays. Good idea to do a direct leaflet drop. There will be people waiting for the right time to sell, perhaps waiting for probate to go thru on an inherited property? I had a Stannah put in to my mother's house .... there were 5 bends in the rail.... cost c 6k but she got 5 years use from it. The rail is not salvagable ... they may take back a chair ( we had a second hand one) but did charge 180£ to remove all. Now that it is gone, there is little evidence it was every there as rails are not attached to the walls but thru carpet into flooring.

Bazza Thu 25-Nov-21 15:20:03

We spent many weeks looking for exactly what you’re looking for, and believe me we kissed a lot of frogs, but we finally found the perfect bungalow, the only downside is that it’s not in a particularly nice road. We both love it, and have got used to the road and our neighbours are lovely. So don’t give up, look at everything that is remotely feasible and you will end up with the right property eventually. Good luck, it’s a massively stressful time and I’d never do it again.

Quizzer Thu 25-Nov-21 15:51:10

Try leafleting areas or specific properties you like. Two family members have bought houses like this without them ever being put on the open market.

Dearknees1 Thu 25-Nov-21 16:57:17

It took us about 18 months to move but we did it in the end. If you really need to move like we did you have to hang in there.
Our experience, as briefly as possible:
We finally found a house we wanted after looking for 2 years.
Put our house on the market and sold to cash buyer within 2 weeks. Not having moved house for 27 years we didn’t realise what it was like to move in the 21st century.
After 6 months, when we were nearly there, our vendor withdrew. Our buyers said they would stick with us until we found another house which, after 3 months, we did. Told vendors we had a cash buyer so they were very happy except a week later the cash buyer withdrew and we lost the house.
We left our house on the market and kept looking. After 4 months we sold to another cash buyer who said he would wait. How long he would have waited we’ll never know as a month later, on a very surreal day, we had two phone calls within a few hours saying both houses we wanted to buy were back on the market and being offered to us so we had a choice!
We chose the second house because we liked it better and trusted the vendors more. Three months later we finally moved and have been living happily in our new home for two years hoping never to have to move again.
For us it was worth the pain but maybe not for everyone. Moving these days certainly needs to be more than a whim!

kjmpde Thu 25-Nov-21 17:02:36

we sold to the first person that saw our house - we had to drop out of the sale as we could not find anything. Then again we had a buyer that was willing to wait but after nearly 5 months again we dropped out. We saw so many dirty , overpriced and totally unsuitable properties. We would like to have a bungalow too but why are they either so tiny or have a garden the size of a park.? Good luck

Daisydaisydaisy Thu 25-Nov-21 17:18:08

Hi there
You may find that the market will pick up after Christmas ..good luck smile

CarlyD7 Thu 25-Nov-21 17:35:13

Just a few things that occur to me. It's a Sellers market and your buyer must be huge relieved at having found somewhere so don't be too worried about them - they're in a very lucky position. Take your time and if you lose your buyer, you'll soon get another one! Certainly don't be turfed out by them into rented (with the shortage of properties at the moment (which is not just about the time of the year), you coul be stuck for a long time in a rented house and, as the cost of houses is forecast to rise, you'll be able to get less for your money in a year's time (and you'll have already sold your house). Now is what my friend's son (who is an estate agent) calls the graveyard months - very few people move at this time of the year, so there will be few properties available - it's also (sadly) when a lot of older people die (January is notorious) and their families will be putting bungalows onto the market in early Spring. The housing market will generally pick up in late February so don't despair. Secondly - some friends have managed to avoid moving by doing things such as converting a downstairs toilet into a wetroom with shower (they took a part of the kitchen next door to do this); another put a lift in the corner of the sitting room, straight into his bedroom. Another converted part of his garage into a utility room / shower room (suggested by a local architect). Thirdly, when my parents had to move into a bungalow, I leafleted lots of bungalows nearby - we managed to find them one because the sale had fallen through, I saw the sign go back up and we visited the same day and made an offer. But in the months that followed, I was contacted separately by a son whose Mum had died and he wanted to sell the bungalow (having found my flyer) and an occupant who was moving into a retirement flat. Hope some of this is of help.

elleks Thu 25-Nov-21 17:42:58


^Our own home is perfect for us except it doesn’t have the option for downstairs living^

Is there no possibility of installing a stairlift in the future should you need it? It seems a pity to leave your perfect home and nice market town!

A home lift might be more use; we got one when my husband's health deteriorated.

Willow73 Thu 25-Nov-21 18:14:21

You can get lifts which fit in the corner of rooms instead of having stair lifts. Not as expensive as moving.

tidyskatemum Thu 25-Nov-21 18:29:27

We sold in less than a week then spent a frantic fortnight whizzing up and down the west of Scotland looking for a suitable property. We were glued to property websites but still failed to even make it to the viewing list for some houses, while others were snapped up on viewing day. I think COVID restrictions eventually played in our favour as we had to jump through lots of hoops to even reach the island house we eventually managed to buy.

SAT496 Thu 25-Nov-21 18:59:38

Whoever you are, thanks very much. I try my best!

Elvis58 Thu 25-Nov-21 20:10:55

Bad time of the year to look.Spring people think about selling.Dont despair something will become availiable.

M0nica Thu 25-Nov-21 20:28:07

Deaths head at the feast, that's me. Why didn't you check that the type of property you wanted was available in the area you wanted before you put your house on the market?

ALANaV Thu 25-Nov-21 21:13:36

After my husband died I sold our 3 bed bungalow in rural France and came back to the UK ....and bought a retirement flat so that I could travel in the knowledge someone was always there in case of any problems ....didn't want to live on my own, except I cannot keep a cat there is no problem ! Great place to live in lockdown (one min from the beach, 15 from the ferry port, 30 from an international airport, busses, trains, a large city , concert halls and theatres, clubs etc (for the ancient not night clubs ha ha ) love it ....charges are however astronomical but that is the only drawback ......the government, as usual, makes no plan when declaring that 'OAP's shoukd stop rattling about in houses and downsize' about putting their money where their mouth is and BUILDING affordable retirement villages ...they could take an example from the French (can you imagine !!) and build retirement villages with facilities such as those in a series of residential retirement villages called 'Les Seniorales; ....not care homes, but individual bungalows, each with a garden, a club house, swimming pool, restaurant, golf, tennis, classes on art etc ........AND AFFORDABLE !!!! i.e.a one bed bungalow, including charges, around 100 - 150,000 euros (less than £125,000 ....I paid £127,000 for a one bed flat here and its pretty ancient ! Because of Brexit I moved back ....sold my three bed bungalow for less than E150,000 ...large garden, double garage, and space for a pool if you wanted ............prices are SO cheap in France its a shame we no longer have that option ......emphasis is put on downsizing to release homes for families but where are OAPs to go ? A well known builder is building a new block of retirement flats here for over 70;s, with services, a restaurant, cafe, care available (for extra payment) ..aBUT prices are to start from £400,000 for a one bed ....and this is in an area where you can still buy a house for less than £100,000 ..........campaign needed by Age Concern etc to lobby for affordable housing for elderly as well as the young ! angry

Germanshepherdsmum Thu 25-Nov-21 22:19:59

A retirement village is my idea of a nightmare. A ghetto of old fogeys.

Spice101 Thu 25-Nov-21 22:58:49

I'm amazed that someone can agree to sell their home, have a buyer agree to wait until they find another and then have the seller potentially say "sorry not going to sell after all"
Buying and selling is stressful enough without having the risk of people - both buyers and sellers pulling out at any time that suits them.

We settled our property in March 2020 (in Australia) that was the date agreed on by both parties at the time of sale. and when we had to vacate the property. When the offer was accepted a contract was signed and that was that. Everyone knew the time line. As we were not able to find another suitable home before then, we rented for 12 months. Not what we wanted to do but what had to happen. It took us 15 months to find a suitable home that we had our offer accepted for. Buying during covid was not easy.

M0nica Thu 25-Nov-21 23:02:56

France is 2 1/2 times the size of Britain and has a smaller population. That is why house prices are so much lower, there is far less pressure on land prices, which in the Uk make up most of the price of a new property.

We have a home in France, it is much the same size as our UK house, but with much more land. It is worth a fifth of the value of our house in the UK.

A retirement flat in your area may well cost £400,000, compared with the cheapest house at under £100,000 but does it come with with services, a restaurant, cafe, care available (for extra payment) What condition would it be in, how well insulated, what kind of area, how big are the rooms?

But many people moved to France because prices were cheaper and must have known what th downsize was when they moved there. It is the same problem that faces people in the north of England when they move south.

the government idea about wanting us to move into smaller accommodation is facile and merely a crowd pleasing statement based on inadequate information. Why are older people in big houses expected to downsize when single people and couples of working age in 'oversized' properties are not?

I agree, GSM retirement villages do not appeal. Whenever I see the adverts for retirement flates and the examples of older people they show living in them, I shudder.

Yoginimeisje Fri 26-Nov-21 08:06:43

Morning Coolgran

I sold my house on 1st Dec 2020, bought on 2nd Dec 2020, still not moved shock Waited 6.5months for my purchase to get all docs in, they then turned round and said decided not to sell after all I got all the bills for the aborted sale, my buyer pulled. Got another buyer within a few weeks, who are still waiting from May! I put an offer on another property, but had to pull out as problems. By that time the house prices had gone up by at least 10K, I had already knocked a chunk off my house as we missed the stamp duty holiday.

After all this I found nothing on the market, all houses seemed to be sold. Eventually I was contacted by an estate agent about a house I had viewed before all this, only got it by offering 10K above asking price, we are about to exchange now, so moving bang on Xmas! So losing 10K plus on my property and paying over the asking price by 10K on my purchase property! Not happy, but job done [nearly]

Best of luck with your search Cool

Shandy57 Fri 26-Nov-21 09:27:18

Fantastic news Yogi, wishing you good weather for your move.

GrannySomerset Fri 26-Nov-21 19:06:18

I think I will need to downsize to release the money for DH’s nursing home but don’t intend to even think about it until the spring unless the right property becomes available. This house will sell without difficulty as it is a family home with a good sized garden. Finding something suitable and smaller is another matter. I dread the whole prospect.