We Did It! (Relocation Update)

It is probably for the best if I start at the beginning. Unfortunately this isn’t a short story to tell and I have a feeling this post will be one where I just pour my heart out into it and you (reader) will no doubt be uttering ‘get to the point’ at every paragraph you read.

In February 2018 (I told you it was going to be a long one) Si and I had very brief discussions about putting the house on the market. This is basically how every house moves starts fo us. I absolutely did not want to move house at this point and before I knew it Si had booked a valuation. He was keen to see what the house was worth after all the work we had done in the previous three years. Out of all the houses that we have owned in the past, the idea of selling this one sat really uneasy for me. This style of house was all I had ever dreamed of owning. That fireplace, those beams, it really was so so pretty and we had been so happy there.

The next week or so was a bit of a blur. Before I really realised it, the house was on the market and we had viewings almost immediately. I started to Rightmove search and found loads of amazing projects. Even ones as big as unconverted barns and I let my imagination run away with me. Moving house was something that I did a lot as a child and this was our fifth house together as a couple in 10 years (The first two were rentals) so no part of the process was alien to me and as a result I was able to just go into autopilot and not give any of it much thought at all.

Within weeks we had sold.

During this first month of being on the market Si had started to apply for new jobs and was interviewing. Though the positions he was applying for were a sizeable commute away, we had agreed that he would do the commute and we would still be staying in the Cheltenham area as that where all our friends and family are.

After agreeing our sale our buyer lost her buyer and she asked if we would stay off the market for her while she tried to resell. Being as I hated viewings on the house, a wet and extremely cold March meant piling two dogs and two boys into my car and driving around or to the nearest dog friendly pub to hide out for an hour, we agreed to stay off the market. (I would never recommend anyone do this. I think we had blind faith that people are good but it was such a mistake) Our buyer sold again after 3 weeks and reoffered on our house. (At this point in the story she is still very much a good guy)

Whilst this was happening Si accepted a new job which was an hour and a half commute each way. We made the decision to start looking at different areas to see what property we could afford that would make the commute shorter. I still felt really uneasy about the idea of moving somewhere new. I have lived in Bournemouth, Falmouth and London as an adult but since having children the idea didn’t appeal to me as much. However Sonny hadn’t yet started school and I felt like if this was something that we were going to consider then the time was most definitely now.

We viewed what felt like everywhere. One day we viewed 10 properties across Oxfordshire and I came home unable to remember which one was which. We viewed Farnham, Fleet, Camberley, Hartley Whitney, Hungerford, Wokingham, Newbury, Wantage, Didcot, Crowthorne, Henley-On-Thames, Marlow – the list really was endless.

We offered on a fixer upper in Farnham. It was on a busy road and was only a two bed but the neighbours had extended and recently done a loft conversion and we were confident we could do the same. We took the boys to see this property and I wish I had never done that. It was a victorian house which looked like it had never been updated, ever. When I say it was filthy I really mean it. The carpets smelt of urine and to two small boys would have looked like something out of a horrid histories book. I completely forgot that they, of course would not understand that it would be transformed. Harbor was only 3 months old when we last had a project so neither of them would have any memories of life in a renovation. Though I tried to help them visualise it and really made the local parks exciting, I think that first house stuck with them and made an impact on the whole process for the next year.

It didn’t really matter anyway as a few weeks later our buyer decided she didn’t want to move house at all. Withdrew her offer and took her house off the market. Something that I believe our agents had an idea was going to happen but decided to keep us in the dark until the last minute. I understand they were probably either hoping for the best or trying to save the sale but with everything being so sensitive with the children we would have preferred all the information so to try to manage everyones expectations a little better. I had two very emotional boys who didn’t know if they were coming or going and it was becoming more and more apparent that a move before Sonny started school was unlikely to be the case.

At this point I feel like there isn’t much point going into the same level of detail because exactly the same thing happened to us again. We sold, they lost their buyer, we sold again they lost their buyer. (We offered on a property in Fleet and obviously had to pull out)

We came off the market.

Everyone was completely frazzled. Sonny had now started school and Christmas was approaching. There was just so much change going on and living in limbo was wearing really thin. The long commute was having such an effect on Si and the boys were missing him terribly. (He was always gone before they were awake and home after they were asleep during the week.) Life wasn’t really much fun at this point. We had also lost Wilf our Basset hound a few months prior to this and my mum had been diagnosed with breast cancer. In short 2018 really was shit.

I had however by this point got my head around the idea of moving away and although I still felt very sad about it, all the ups and downs of the previous year made me just want it to happen so we could move on.

We decided to go back on the market in February and had sold by late March. I want this part of the story to be more upbeat after the last paragraph of doom but our sale process was just horrendous. We nearly lost the sale several times and I just felt like we couldn’t tell the boys what was happening one way or another until the contracts were exchanged. It meant that even on the boys last day at school they couldn’t really say goodbye to their friends as I just didn’t know if the sale was going to complete or not. Regardless of the unknowing we all stood and cried in the playground on that last day.

Obviously it did complete two days after they had finished. The weight of guilt from the whole process has been so unbearable at times. My priority is absolutely always their happiness and I know children are resilient but I just didn’t want them to have to experience the last 18 months the way they have.

This is the sole reason we decided to buy a new property. I absolutely didn’t want to make any more time about the house. I felt the boys really needed a place that didn’t require any of our attention anymore. This doesn’t mean I won’t be changing things but it means I don’t have to. I still feel so overwhelmed about it all and I am not sure when it will really feel like home. The next few months are about getting the boys settled, helping them make friends and then I may sit down with a cup of tea and process it all for myself!

I am hoping to do another blog post all about our new house. What I love about it and the plans we have I just wanted to share this part of the journey first. Sorry for the rambling blog post!

Cara

 

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22 Comments

  1. Verena
    August 7, 2019 / 2:07 pm

    Beautifully written and I completely understand your direction. Your happiness and the boys settling is most important. Yay to Si being home on evenings and doing breakfast too! Sending lots of love Cara, you’re awesome

    • Louise
      August 7, 2019 / 8:27 pm

      How stressful for you all! I do hope you will all be really happy. Are you goi h to say where you moved to…. I recommenced Farnham & Wokingham 😊

  2. Jennie
    August 7, 2019 / 2:17 pm

    I felt as though I was biting my nails right through that read I can’t believe how awful the whole process of offers and withdrawals and estate agents is. I am so glad you’ve found yourself in a beautiful new home, wishing you all every happiness there and lots of new friends to add to what is no doubt a huge support network of loving people you have behind you. Ps. Can’t wait to see more of the new place x

  3. Lorraine
    August 7, 2019 / 2:21 pm

    Loved reading this. What an adventure. Glad it had a happy ending. Can’t wait to see you decorate your new home. Wishing you lots of happiness.

  4. August 7, 2019 / 2:25 pm

    You, Si and the boys are so resilient to have gone through such a tumultuous period of time. Moving can be so difficult and complicated but I’m so happy it has now happened for you and I hope you all enjoy getting to see more of Si during the week!

  5. Rachel
    August 7, 2019 / 2:35 pm

    We’ve just moved and it’s been horrendous so I completely sympathise with you. I’ve lived in London my whole life 48 years 17 in the same house and I never thought I would leave it but my husband couldn’t hack London anymore so we moved to Bournemouth. We left all of our friends, family jobs everything my son was halfway through a levels and my daughter was doing gcse’s The whole process nearly sent me over the edge. I’m sorry to bore you but I just wanted to say it’s all worked out the kids are in school and so much happier my husband works from home and no longer feels he’s on the edge of a heart attack we are now so much happier it was worth it so you go girl. By the way we always lived in old houses and just moved into a brand new house and I have no idea what to do with it so will be watching you(and maybe copying)

    • Cara
      Author
      August 7, 2019 / 2:36 pm

      Haha! I’m so glad it has worked out lovely! It’s reassuring to hear others have been through the same!

  6. Tracey
    August 7, 2019 / 2:39 pm

    Oh my god, I think I would have cried every week, what a stessful 18 months. We have recently lost a buyer after two months then secured another one and I am so, so hoping that it all goes through. We are very fortunate that we are buying off family so have no worry there because it has been stressful enough already.

    Well done you for holding it all together and here is to making alot of very happy memories in your new home.

  7. Emma
    August 7, 2019 / 2:48 pm

    I really feel for you as moving house is horrendous and the most stressful thing. I really am sure that you will be very happy in your new home, and the boys will settle quickly especially once they’re in school making new friends. We too had a rubbish time selling our last home and we ended up buying a newish house that really wasn’t what we were after but i was so exhausted from the whole process and honestly just wanted to get out of our old place as it felt really tainted after the long drawn out selling phase. However its now home and we love it. It wasn’t the complete renovation job that I wanted, however its meant no stress, all the work we’ve done as been in our own time and not needed but just for our own pleasure which was a much nicer way of doing it. I can’t wait to see what you do to make a stamp on your new home, and I’m sure it’ll be beautiful as you have a lovely style. The very best of luck with it, and enjoy now having time being all together. It will all be totally worth it x

  8. Ellie
    August 7, 2019 / 2:58 pm

    What a rollercoaster you’ve had. I totally agree that sometimes making life easier for the sake of a nice, quiet and uncomplicated life is the best for the small people. They don’t care what the house looks like as long as the people in it are as happy, present and calm as they can be (and minus a constant sprinkling of brick dust and paint fumes!) I know you’ll be straight back to those doer upper projects the minute the children are at Uni (or sooner probably!) though!

  9. August 7, 2019 / 3:16 pm

    Oh wow whag a journey you’ve all been on and totally understand your reasons for wanting less of a project after all that. I hope you are very happy in your new home xx

  10. August 7, 2019 / 3:26 pm

    Ooo my heart breaks for you all what a tome you’ve had. So glad your getting more family time now it’s all that matters lots of love to you all

  11. August 7, 2019 / 4:04 pm

    Beautifully written and very heartfelt. Even when a sale goes fairly well, it’s hard for everyone and so to go through all that too must have been unbearable. I’m currently trying to redecorate which means not giving all of my attention to my two so the last part really resonates at the moment

  12. Lesley
    August 7, 2019 / 4:23 pm

    Beautifully written Cara, such a stressful time for you.
    The boys will be fine and have fun making new friends, as will you.
    Lovely to have more family time together which is so important.
    Big hugs to you can’t wait to hear all about the new house. Xx

  13. Sonn
    August 7, 2019 / 4:51 pm

    Loved reading this! We have lost 2 properties in the last year and have now ended up in rented as having 4/5 kids it’s hard to find the right place!
    Thanks for restoring some of my faith xxx

  14. Jan
    August 7, 2019 / 6:33 pm

    Loved reading all of this…ups and downs! Wishing you all the very best in your new home where IM sure you will all be very happy! Can’t wait for part two.

  15. Laura
    August 7, 2019 / 7:47 pm

    Wishing you all happiness and enjoyment in your new home!

  16. lady Victoria mackey
    August 7, 2019 / 8:12 pm

    Hi Cara
    I’m sorry to hear it’s been a long painful process….. moving is definitely up there with the most stressful thing to do . Your boys will be just grand because they have you …. tale Your time to adjust it will all ok. I hope your mum is doing ok too

    Lots of love

  17. Debs
    August 7, 2019 / 9:03 pm

    Loved reading this, I truly know how you feel we have been trying to find our happy place, whilst being realistic about commutes etc since our son was born 10 years ago, this has resulted in 10 moves across 5 counties, constantly feeling guilty, anxious and upset about how he would adapt but thankfully he is a well rounded sociable boy and in fact is about to start a new school in September that he has never even seen, as we relocate (for the final time ever, I am totally done in with it now!) to our dream location. I have lived in Fleet and near Farnham and are both great!

  18. Christine Swayne
    August 7, 2019 / 10:25 pm

    I’m so glad you’ve got the ending you deserve and can now take time to refocus and spend some amazing times with all your boys … enjoy and remember ….. a house is made with bricks and beams, a home is made with love and dreams …. which you have in abundance xxx

  19. August 11, 2019 / 8:17 pm

    Jeepers, totally stressful and I can imagine the tears and stress you’ve gone through. We had a similiar situation when we sold our last place and were trying to buy with the house we offered on being taken off the market after 5 months of us sitting patiently waiting to buy it, then losing out to three other projects…. hence ending up with buying a renovaiton project which had never been part of our original life plan. Wishing you lots of happiness and calm in your new place.

  20. August 12, 2019 / 12:22 pm

    So glad you’ve had a happy ending now, but oh my god, I was nodding along here and feeling your pain! We had a similar situation last year with trying to buy a particular house that we desperately wanted and the whole process took a year in total and was so stressful and unsettling, especially for the older kids. 2018 sucked to be honest, but we got our new house in the end and have been in since May and it feels like a huge weight has lifted! Never moving again (she says). Hope you’re Mum is on the mend soon.

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