Finding the "perfect" home
I am starting my Friday with a guest post by the author of Finding Home, Lauren Westwood.
There are ups and downs to finding your perfect home but you can always dream of your own happy every after.
“A man's reach should exceed his grasp,
Or what's a heaven for?” Robert Browning
Finding the perfect home is a bit like losing your virginity – it should be a wonderful, life-affirming experience. Yet often, it’s anything but. Everyone has a fantasy – walking into a home that ‘just feels right’ – in the perfect location and within budget. Maybe it’s a shiny new build that’s never been ‘pre-lived in’, or maybe it’s a project that you can ‘put your own stamp on’. Maybe it has an enormous kitchen, or fireplaces in every room; maybe it has a huge garden, or no garden at all. And how fun it is to troll through all the property websites, and maybe even view some properties – imagining yourself in a different life . . .
Maybe some people actually have this kind of experience, but I’m willing to hazard a guess that they’re in the minority. I’ve never bought a property myself – can’t afford it! – but I’ve been involved in numerous searches – for rental flats on my own, and a house purchase with my husband.
I grew up in a tiny two bed house in northern California – with orange shag carpet and yellow lino the height of 70’s fashion – but unfortunately about 20 years too late. When I went off to uni and law school, I lived in concrete student housing that could have doubled as an East German gulag. Things improved when I graduated and began working – and was finally able to afford a neat little one bed flat – unfortunately, with a wood floor above that squeaked with every step the upstairs residents took.
Eventually, I fulfilled a childhood dream of moving to England. While I wasn’t naive enough to think that I could afford the rambling country manor or even twee little cottage with climbing roses that I’d imagined, the bedsit in Hammersmith where I started out was pretty far off the mark. I moved to a wonky little cottage in Hampstead that I shared with a number of mice, and then moved in with my partner to a flat right above a tube station (as in the flat vibrated with every train that went by). Eventually we moved out of London – to Richmond, where I was working. Unfortunately, as soon as we completed on the house, the company closed down and I was made redundant.
When the children came along, we moved further out of London – but it took us over three years to find a home. We put in a lot of offers, got outbid and gazumped a number of times, and became the laughing stock of a lot of estate agents. It was a process fraught with emotional ups and downs, arguments, stress, and even tears. I’m happy to say that we got there in the end – I’m very lucky to be living where I am now. But it’s not a process I’d like to repeat anytime soon.
The best thing to come out of my lengthy property search was the idea for Finding Home, and the lead character – reluctant estate agent, Amy Wood. Writing Amy’s story enabled me to live out the romantic fantasy of finding the perfect home in the best possible way – from the comfort of my desk chair, and without spending a penny in stamp duty! I hope that you enjoy the ups and downs of Amy’s experiences too – and never forget that no matter where you live and whatever your circumstances – it’s always okay to dream!
Thank you so much, Lauren!
Read my review of Finding Home here!
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