It's just over a year since I decided to resurrect my dream of owning my own land. I knew that the housing market could be the thing that scuppered my plans and indeed that has proved to be the case. These days I try not to plan ahead too far as I'm a firm believer in the maxim 'Man plans, God laughs' but I thought I'd have a go anyway. I'm also a firm believer that if something is meant to be it will happen. Or not. I have previously bought and sold a few properties as I inched my way up the property ladder aiming for the top rung, which in my case involves a shack or equivalent in a good sized field. For me the house is pretty immaterial and as long as it has a roof it would do. The goal was the land. But twelve months later my house remains unsold, despite a rather drastic drop from the surveyor's valuation that reduced my vision of land speculation requirements to half an acre of scrub with a corrugated tin shelter in the corner. We're now at the point where reducing the house price any further will require a move to the Outer Hebrides to be able to afford the tin shack let alone any land. So I've decided that fate is telling me something and when the contract with the Estate Agent concludes next week I won't be renewing it. I'm taking it off the market. It's time to work out if there's any other way that I can get to where I want to be. The ideas list is completely blank at the moment but who knows when inspiration may strike.
Having your house on the market introduces you to all sorts of people and after a year of allowing numerous strangers to wander about my home and peer into my cupboards I've become experienced at spotting the 'Viewing Tourists'. They've all been here. One lady came every month for three months, expressing delight and enthusiasm. I must have made her too welcome as we sat in the garden with coffee and homemade cake.
When the fourth month arrived along with her phone call she was devastated when I suggested that she only came back when her own house was actually marketed and under offer. I note that her house remains steadfastly un-marketed. We were on first name terms. It was like losing a friend and I almost missed her for a while. Almost. But my real friends don't expect an immaculate house and garden when they call. Or that the dogs are banned outside to the stable while they sit in front of the wood-burning stove telling me where they'd put various articles of furniture. And, funnily enough they don't tend to rummage about in the cupboards and wardrobes or peek into the bathroom cabinets. At least not in my presence anyway. That's a point - maybe they do? I could always surprise them on their bathroom visits to see what they're really up to. This could be a real test of friendship.
Then there was the couple who, from the depths of my built in wardrobe, gaily announced that they 'weren't looking to buy yet or indeed for another two years but they do so enjoy seeing what's on the market every Saturday'. Somehow I resisted the urge to clock them with the sledgehammer as they mulled over my tool collection in the garage but that was only because I couldn't lift it.
I'm lucky to live in a beautiful area and it attracts it's fair share of tourists.
|Courtesy of Bill Haley Photography|
In the last week my estate agent forwarded yet another offer of the asking price from someone with property to sell in England. I keep a list of all the viewers and didn't recognise the name so asked the agent to confirm when the prospective purchaser had viewed. They hadn't. Never viewed the house, never been to the area or even to Scotland! But they 'love what we've seen on the Internet' and 'have fallen in love with the house' and 'if only we can sell our house we want it'. For an evil fleeting second and in my incredulity I was tempted to let them become embroiled in the legalities of house buying in Scotland whereby a formal offer is binding and begins the legal process which can prove frighteningly costly to pull out of, but I relented. After all it's nice to hear that people love my home and the surrounding area. Even virtually.
And also this week there's been the one who really persuaded me that I was no longer open to having viewers. Despite being repeatedly told that it wasn't convenient he insisted he could only view the following day. I left it with a firm but polite 'No' and said that if he wanted to arrange a mutually convenient time he could phone back. I was therefore more than a little irritated when the following day, while I was preparing to attend a funeral, the dogs alerted me to the fact that he was in the garden, creeping past the front door to sneak round the back having stupidly ignored the prominent 'Beware of the Dogs' sign on the gate.
|Tess - I love burglars.|
|Rolf- A burglar! Yummy!|
So I'll hunker down and wait and see what ideas or options might evolve, safe in the knowledge that I don't have to smile and invite strangers into my home. Antisocial? Me? That'll be about right.