I spend the entirety of my days in this country talking about three bedroom houses I can’t afford.
Ever since we decided we’d be buying in a couple of years, V. and I have slowly but surely been slipping down the slippery slope of suicidal depression. These days, simply mentioning any kind of house related thing makes us want to jump off the roof of the first house in sight, or even worse, jump at eachother’s throats. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all in favour of a bit of dangerous madness in my relationship, but this house business will end up killing us.
Now let me walk you through the exciting saga of buying property in London. It’s for sick, hopelessly deranged people who have a death wish.
Even just thinking about it now, I can barely refrain from smashing my head bloody against my computer screen. But I figure, my tough Romanian head will probably survive the ordeal. The screen might not fare so well though, and how will I then browse the interwebs looking at houses for six hours a day? I’m a lost cause.
The thing with London houses is very simple.
1. They are indecently, outrageously, I-want-to-just-strangle-everybody-on-the-market expensive.
2. There aren’t any.
Let’s take these one at a time, shall we?
There are a bunch of brand new 4 bedroom houses I wake up resentfully looking at from my bedroom window every morning. They’re somewhat on the small side, but pretty. They’ve got windows, and doors, and little patches of grass in front. Oh, and they recently sold out for the symbolic sum of £1,350,000 each. Yup, that’s one-million-three-hundred-fifty-thousand-pounds-each.
I rest my case.
OK, OK, I can almost hear the haters stirring. This is London, what do you silly Romanians expect? Move further from the center, get a smaller house, know your place!
I’ll admit it, you are right and I am wrong. Never in a million years will central London be the place for us (though to be fair we currently live on the outskirts of London’s zone 3, and that’s not “central” per se). But guess what, we already knew that. That’s why we were in fact looking for properties well outside of London. Which brings us to the next issue.
We are picky people. We’ve eliminated the areas where you can get mugged three times a day on your way to and from the local Off License. Then we’ve scraped all the nice areas, where everything fits into category number 1 from above. We’ve also had to sadly give up on the places situated so close to the edge of the world, that we’d end up spending half our lives commuting to and from work. I mean, I’m always up for a challenge you know, but traveling to the office for almost 3 hours a day each way will probably not do wonders for my already shaky temper.
Countless case studies and crying in anger later, we’re usually left with about ten houses matching all of our tangled criteria. Out of these, the ones that are part of newly built developments usually come with endless client waiting lists and are gone off the market in half a second. Among the remaining ones, some are invariably completely different from their online photos, in a shitty, who-on-earth-would-live-here kind of way. And here you are, left with one or two house choices you’re not particularly happy with, each at least £50,000 more expensive than what you’re prepared to offer, and growing £20,000 more expensive every six to eight months. We really are having a blast.
If someone were to ask me years ago what I thought I’d be doing in my late twenties, I probably would not have imagined I’d be second guessing every choice I’ve ever made, and dreading checking my bank account balance at the end of the month.
It’s beautiful, this finally-realising-you’re-a-grownup thing.