After two years of saving up, on a warm day in May, we received a letter confirming that our offer on a house – the house – had been accepted: a home that we previously thought was beyond our reach, in a town we believed would be perfect for the future we envisaged.
Our friends, family and colleagues were kind enough to listen to us rabbit on. They listened to every update, and sympathetically recalled their experiences of dealing with the numerous people involved in the complicated maze of mortgage applications and conveyancing. (We speak a whole new language now! Mortgage deeds, joint tenancies, rebuild estimations!). It turned out that almost everyone had an anecdote to offer after navigating a life event as major as this.
And all along the way, we heard their voices.
Well-meaning loved ones warned not to get carried away – “It’s not your house yet… a lot can happen”, they said, and yet… it felt as though it was.
We pictured slow mornings and hurried breakfasts, Sunday afternoons and walls strewn with photographs. In our minds, Lee and I wandered the rooms of the house many, many times, earmarking rooms for our one-day children and imagining the creak of floorboards on the landings. So, to suggest that we should have reserved a piece of our heart in case things didn’t work out was logical. Reasonable, even. But totally, totally futile.
In the end, we found that buying a house is a lot like dating. You find yourself making lists of ‘must-haves’ that are – somehow – miraculously exceeded, you bank on serendipity and a fair wind, and you dare to let your imagination wonder where it might lead. And then? Then there’s nothing you can do but get carried away and enjoy it for as long as it lasts.
So, in the same way we were told to ‘take it slow’ and ‘see what happens’ in the early days of our relationship, we nodded appreciatively and acknowledged everyone’s advice. And took none of it.
We called it our house before we’d even arranged to view it for the first time. We timed the walk to our favourite coffee shop. We imagined how strange it would be to spend our first night in a building where we didn’t instinctively know how many stairs to climb in the dark, or the whereabouts of the light switches on the wall.
It was ours right from the get go, and last Friday, we picked up the keys. Home sweet home, indeed!
It’s been a whirlwind of cleaning, packing, moving, lugging and unboxing. My family volunteered their time and muscle-power to help us move into our home, and it felt like the best kind of team effort to stand in the upstairs window and look at my loved ones moving to and fro across the drive like industrious worker ants. And in three days flat, we cleaned our home from top to bottom, unpacking all but one box.
Lee and I keep marvelling at the light and the space, and the solitude too. I’m enjoying the little things, like finding out where the sun rises in the house and which floorboards creak and where. There’s so much to do (in fact, the entire thing needs painting and re-flooring), but it’s truly the best feeling in the world – we can’t believe it’s ours!