The year of the move

It’s been a busy time at Pie Towers recently. Pies Mr, Mrs and Mini have been trying to move house for some months now, which at the best of times is tricky but as it turns out our timing was… well let’s say that the timing has been deeply unhelpful.

It’s time for a barely edited ramble:

My wife and I had earmarked 2019 as the year we would leave our beloved mid-terrace just outside of York city centre and try to find something a little bigger with more separation of living spaces. We knew we couldn’t bear to leave our central location as we are utterly spoilt for schools, for the community, for the much beloved high street round the corner, and for almost car free living outside of my work. Essentially, we were looking for exactly what we already had, exactly where we already were, but… a bit bigger. So far, so simple, but also so constrained.

As luck would have it, exactly what we were looking for was in fact right on our doorstep. We found a beautiful end-terrace we could afford with loads of corridors and twists and turns just up the road. It was perfect: all we had to do was get our house sold.

And therein laid the rub.

Overshadowing our whole adventure was our country’s dalliance with unprecedented international self harm. The ‘B’ word. The Bad Thing.

We had sold our house subject to contract after just a few weeks of viewings. At the time it was interesting to watch how certain events in Brexit Calendar affected the mood of house buyers. The week leading up to the much delayed ‘meaningful’ vote depressed viewings to effectively zero. Once the drama had passed, viewings were up to a half dozen every ten days or so. If I spoke to people about The B word, respondents fell broadly into two categories: the first were just depressed about the whole thing, and subsequently couldn’t imagine buying or selling a house under such circumstances; and the other group were of the opinion that it would all come to nothing, and no tangible effect would ever be felt.

Then the Big One hit home. Three weeks before our intended move date in early April, our buyer pulled out, citing Brexit uncertainty as one of their main reasons for deciding not to buy.

What followed was two months of frantically trying to find a new buyer in time to keep our upward chain intact, despite the omnipresent B word. Mrs Pie and I would typically spend a good hour to ninety minutes preparing our house for a viewing and looking back through my calendar I can see we did this no less than thirty times over the whole period from January to today. I dread to think how much time I’ve spent on the phone to our estate agent, and that of our vendors in this time, as well as time spent conducting viewings our agent couldn’t attend (Sundays, Bank holidays, and times that just didn’t work) and writing emails to everyone involved.

Fast forward to this weekend, and for now, the worst is over. After all the effort we do have a new buyer in place, and despite the fact that nothing is stopping this new buyer from pulling out, I’m going to let myself enjoy this period of what feels like both emphatic victory in the face of insurmountable odds and also relative calm after a frankly atrocious couple of months. Our whole upward chain remained intact, in part because our vendors withheld from going back on the market for weeks to allow us as much time as they could, despite the house they were intending to buy was put back up for sale within a week of our buyer walking.

We are very grateful. Even if things do fall apart again, I’ll take the hit from allowing myself to just believe that things will go well this time. That’s my choice as an optimist. I think that’s easier than the alternative.

So tonight I look forward to a week at work where I am no longer in two mental places rather than one for the first time in what feels like six months, but in reality has only been about eight or ten weeks. And maybe in the evenings I can start to think about the fun parts of moving: getting rid of old junk, figuring out how we’re going to actually live in the space, and I can definitely see this as a great hide-and-seek house. Someone mentioned a housewarming party the other day; if this all goes through, I can tell you that there will be a hell of a party once we’re moved in.

Fingers crossed for us?