A couple of months back, my Farthing Wood Friend and I decided to buy a house.
It was a decision which a little bit crept up on us. Sort of. Basically, I kept saying I wanted to buy a house, and my Farthing Wood Friend kept saying he didn’t yet, and somehow, somewhere in the middle of the endless amounts of fantasy rightmoving and fantasy cat-hunting it switched from theoretical plan to actual plan.
I honestly don’t remember how or when, and I’m pretty certain it was never actually me who made the decision to stop playing about on the internet and start actually trying to buy somewhere. But trying to buy we are.
I thought I was thoroughly prepared for this moment; after all, a few years back I nearly bought a flat and then decided against it, so I’d been through most of the hoo-ha before. And I watch utterly ridiculous amounts of Location Location Location, which obviously means that I am an expert on the property market. Just like how I could perform a thoracotomy because I’ve watched a lot of ER.
It turns out I wasn’t actually that prepared at all. Well, I maybe would’ve been prepared if I was buying a house on my own, but I’m not, and all of the rightmoving in the world can’t prepare you for the sheer number of Incredibly Important Conversations you have to have when you’re buying with someone else.
First there was the Great Area Debate of 2012. Then the In-depth Financial Assessment. Next up was the Age of the Lists. And after that, we found ourselves at the Bedroom Negotiating Table. Which was nowhere near as fun as it sounds, and was actually a little bit terrifying.
Because it seems that apparently, when you buy a house with someone, you need to think about things like the future. And when you’re thinking about the future, you have to think about stuff like jobs and pets and houseguests and children.
Yes, children. Actual, tiny little children of your own, and when you want to have them and whether or not that means you need somewhere to put them. I found myself chatting about babies and maternity leave and mortgage repayments and all this terribly, terribly grown up stuff. And this was before we’d even looked at any houses; no point looking at places if you don’t know how many bedrooms you need.
So maybe Kirstie and Phil led me astray. They showed me all the fun bits of househunting; the snooping round other people’s houses and trying to imagine where your own stuff would go and the excitement and joy when you get an offer accepted. They led me to believe that housebuying was all about negotiating with the vendor. When it’s not. It’s all about negotiating with the other person, who in my case can just pick me up when he gets sick of what I’m saying.
And to think. I only wanted somewhere to put a cat.