We like to think that we are fairly laid back people. Nothing really fazes us. We have dealt with illness, recession, redundancy, working abroad, being completely broke through to threat of recession again and then living apart before we joined Mr C in Jersey. Mr C and I have moved 4 times and we are about to embark on our 5th move. As you can tell we probably rather like moving around. We don’t stay anywhere for longer than 5 years. All of the other times we have been selling houses we have been fine. This time it is different. This time it has nearly broken us as a couple.
Back in the UK we decided to buy a house just before they got rid of the 100% mortgage. I had just finished my PGCE, was saddled with university debt and between us Mr C and I didn’t have a penny to our names. But it was pre-recession and we jumped on those dying embers of 100% mortgage while we still could. We made it by the skin of our teeth and found ourselves proud home owners of a two up, two down end of terrace with no money to do it up. It was on an unmade road with views of a rugby pitch, the Wharfe river and the distant moors. I had a love hate relationship with our first house. I called it the money pit because it just kept swallowing up our money while new jobs kept appearing.
However, on a tight budget and thanks to help from family and friends we managed to scrape together enough for a kitchen with a Belfast sink, which meant I felt very cool and trendy. In reality I ended up breaking nearly all of our crockery in it. We knocked out the chimney in our kitchen and installed our range cooker. I loved that cooker and spent many a Sunday pretending to be Nigella Lawson. We ripped up the vile carpets and sanded down the wooden floors but there were holes in the floorboards and we weren’t sure what to do; we couldn’t afford to replace them so we welcomed the slugs into our home like they were part of the family. Then there was the huge garden where we would find deer eating the grass. However, it was also overtaken by a weed that no matter what I did it kept coming back. When I was heavily pregnant with Oldest I became obsessed with that weed and would spend all day hauling up slabs to try to eradicate the roots of the weed, only to look out of my window the next day to find the weed had returned. That weed nearly destroyed me. As a home it saw us go through a lot in those 5 years. When we sold it the house still had so much work that needed doing but we managed to sell it and in the aftermath of the recession without ever uttering a cross word between us.
On The Move Again
Now there were no longer 100% mortgages and we were short of what we needed as a deposit for our next house, a 4 bed semi-detached house on the top of a hill with views of the rolling moors. We begged from family and managed to just get enough from the sale of our house and with a loan from my brother. We had our house but it wasn’t in the best of areas. Mr C and I were both working long hours; I never saw Oldest in the morning as I was out of the house before she woke. Mr C would have to get Oldest ready for the childminder, run along the canal with her, avoiding the hissing swans before he deposited her at the childminders and then made the mad dash down to the bus stop to catch a bus before changing for the train. This was repeated 5 days a week. When I became pregnant with Youngest we knew that we didn’t both want to carry on working full-time yet we couldn’t afford for me to go part-time. So we looked for an escape and we found a job for Mr C in Jersey. A job that would allow me to stay at home with children. This saw Mr C leaving to go for Jersey and I would join him once I had worked my maternity leave back and sold the house.
Moving To Jersey
This was incredibly stressful. I had about three months to sell a house. Our dream house but still a house that had flaws. It was in an area that was becoming more run down by the day, the roof probably needed replacing and the garage really needed knocking down but it had asbestos in the roof. However, we worked as a team and we sold the house and we were able to join Mr C.
The Jersey Market
This time we are selling a house in Jersey and it is a whole different kettle of fish. We bought this house after managing to just about scrape enough money together. We bought this house when the property market on Jersey wasn’t doing too well so we managed to buy a good house for the money. A couple of years later, however, and the property market on Jersey is going crazy and we have realised that we need to move now before we are priced out of it. This is a new build but it isn’t your bog standard new build. It is quirky and that is why I love it. It turns out that people aren’t very good with quirky. That is starting to drive me insane because this is an amazing house. A house that we love and will be sad to leave behind but getting people to see that is proving difficult. Our house is one of the very few houses in that price range on the market at the moment. It is also probably the biggest in that price range but the estate agent is saying that people won’t come and look at our house because of the fact that it is a townhouse. Apparently, people don’t do stairs.
“I Don’t Do Stairs”
Stairs! What can I do with that? I know that if people came and looked they would love it but it’s getting people through the door. This has caused tension between me and Mr C. I am vocal about my distaste of how house selling works over here. It seems that it relies on open days and we aren’t even allowed to show the people round. It is down to the estate agent. I find this hard to cope with because where our estate agent is lovely he doesn’t know this house like we do. He doesn’t know what we love about it. He doesn’t know what we will miss about it and therefore he doesn’t know how to sell it. I want to be able to show people round like we did in the UK. We sold our houses there and we want to be able to do the same here. I am now so stressed that I am saying that we should stay here but Mr C has his heart set on moving. We are banging heads. We have had our fair share of cross words, arguments and frustrated tears.
We are arguing because we actually both love this house. We know that this is a good house. We know that this house should sell. However, unlike the UK it feels out of our control. We feel like we are relying on someone else to sell our lovely family home. We don’t like that and it is causing stress, it is making us turn on each other. Something that has never happened before.
So now for the first time, I understand what people mean when they say that selling your house and moving house is one of the most stressful life events. It really is. It has driven Mr C and me to breaking point. Swear words have been muttered and voices have been raised. It might only be bricks and mortar but when it comes to your family home, it turns out that those bricks mean an awful lot.