When it comes to buying a house there are always compromises to be made. This is especially the case in the Jersey property market. Your pound doesn’t quite stretch as far on this island and that can make the property hunt a challenging one. I’ve honestly lost count of how many houses we went and looked at. There were several that were only just standing, many without gardens, one with ants crawling out of the rotten window frames, one that had an overwhelming smell of dog and the back window was falling out of the frame, another one where all of the window frames were rotten and riddled with ants. Then there was the one where the door broke and we couldn’t get out!
At times we questioned whether we would ever find a home. There was also the house we lost due to a dodgy surveyor and another house which we loved and went in at full asking price to later learn that the house owner was inviting other people to gazump us. In the Jersey property market you have to make decisions quickly because a good house can sell within 24 hours. For this reason we drew up a list of must-haves. In the past we had made some big compromises just so that we could get on the property ladder and that experience taught us what compromises we weren’t prepared to make in the future.
What We Wanted Our House To Have
- A garden
- 3 bedrooms or potential for 3 bedrooms (ideally double so that girls could still share and we could have family over to stay)
- Decent size family living space
A lot of houses in our price range were ruled out straight away because they didn’t have one of the above. We were prepared to do renovations as long as the house was priced right. The house I am now sat in came on the market and we were incredibly lucky with what this house gave us. Looking at the above list it gave us everything, and then some more. We now have 4 bedrooms, 2 single and 2 double. That means that the girls now have their own bedroom, and we have one decent size guest bedroom that doubles up as my office. We never thought that we would be able to achieve that on our budget.
Feeling Incredibly Lucky
We have a living room, dining room and separate kitchen, again something we didn’t think was possible on our budget. We even have a garage, much to Mr C’s delight. He is now taking great pleasure in filling up the garage with as much of his junk as possible. Our house is a traditional granite property and we love its character. Overall we are delighted and completely in love with our house. There were still compromises to be made but because we had our list, we realised that they were compromises we were happy to make.
The Compromises We Made
We have moved to a completely different part of the island. Ideally we wanted to stay in the same area but this is only a small island and we decided that we couldn’t be as rigid with our search area. We have now moved to the opposite side of the island and I was a bit concerned as I loved the location of our rental. However, I have been pleasantly surprised. We are only a 30 minute walk to the beach, we are surrounded by stunning countryside walks and we can see the sea from our bedroom window.
The short-term downside is that the girls are probably going to have to move school. Yes, this island is only small, but those narrow and twisting country lanes filled with tractors make for a tiresome commute. On a bad day that commute can easily take 45 minutes. However, long-term I believe the girls will love where we are now living.
I do love a bath and it hadn’t even occurred to me that a house wouldn’t have a bath. However, the elderly couple had ripped the bath out of the main bathroom and put in a massive walk-in shower. Originally I had said that I would reinstall a bath but the bathroom and shower are new and lovely so I am rather loathed to rip it out again just so I can wallow in a bath once a week. We also can’t afford to be installing a new bathroom at the moment. A very minor compromise.
No Downstairs Toilet
Again, a very minor compromise. We still have two toilets and we are incredibly lucky to have that. It just means that we have to actually use our feet and go upstairs, it’s hardly the end of the world.
A Terrace House
In an ideal world we would have loved a detached house. Yet, our budget was no way near enough for a detached house. Technically this is a terrace house but it does not feel like one. We are living in what was once a huge barn and farm outbuildings that has been converted into 4 houses. We live in one of the middle houses but you wouldn’t know it. The walls are thick granite and that means it feels like we are in a detached house. We never hear a peep from the neighbours.
The main compromise we made was the location but we were happy to do that because we quickly recognised that this was a fantastic house for the money. The downstairs living space is really generous, it has plenty of parking, a beautiful established garden and even a bonus bedroom. The decor might not all be to our taste but it has been beautifully maintained and really well looked after. We feel incredibly lucky to be living here and we are really looking forward to decorating it and making this our forever family home.
I believe that we managed to secure this house because we were already clear in our mind about what we wanted and needed and that meant we were able to move quickly to secure this house. It really doesn’t feel like we have made any compromises because we finally have secured our dream home.