I was on the phone with a friend this morning when she mentioned that a house near her place was about to be let, in case I am interested.
We were on the lookout to move – if we come across a good place. This house is great but for the fact that it does not have a dishwasher – and I so so feel the need for one these days.. Anyways, browsing through the property management sites reminded me of all the house hunting we have done since we got married..
It reminds me of the number of times that we have looked for rental homes.. One time in Bangalore, we saw houses after houses with not one fitting what we had in mind.. There were 4 bedroom houses which where more like 4 cubby holes.. Really badly designed houses , houses , with no sunlight whatsoever.. Or apartments with water leakage marks all over.. And when we mentioned that to the owner – pat comes the reply, ‘See if I give it to 4 software guys, I can get double’! As if he were doing us a favour by showing us the house in the first place!
The next time we had a really tough time finding a house was in London – when I was around 5 months pregnant. We wanted to move to new place, well ahead of time.. The flat we were living in was cute – but too small for us and the baby and parents – who would be visiting us.. So we started out house hunt. After a lot of discussions, we decided to stay in the same locality that we were staying – it was very convenient to get to work.. It used to take us both under 45 minutes door to door to reach work.
Now, we called up agents and told them our specifications.. a new built flat if possible.. gave them our price range..which they said was too low. Apparently the rentals had shot up thanks to the 2o12 games. Anyways, they said they could still show us a few properties. So every Saturday we spent going from property to property. Some were terraced houses which looked like they should have been knocked down 50 years ago! Some had the bathroom entrance through the kitchen!! I could never figure that one out! – Why would anyone want to enter the bathroom through the kitchen? The only reason I can think off is, that those houses are really old ones and they probably came from an era where the bathrooms were outside. And so when people started having indoor bathrooms – they attached it in garden – the only access being the kitchen. A lot of houses here have access to the garden from the kitchens. But still? I would have renovated it – if I had been the owner!
Then we started adding the clause that we did not want houses with the bathroom access through the kitchen and pushed up our budget. Then went through another bunch of houses – all of which had some major flaw or the other. By then, I had moved from the 5th month to the 8th month. It was a do or die situation. We started coming back home early to go house hunting. We tried every estate agent possible – tried the magazines where landlords advertise directly – no luck.
Finally, we were almost resigned to stay put, when we found one advert – from the landlord directly, which seemed suitable. So I talked to her, planned to meet them at the property at 7:00 in the evening, when husband called to say that he was not well. So that evening – I was in two minds – should we call off the appointment – clearly we were having no luck, or should I just go and see it.. when husband said – ‘lets just go for it. I am feeling a bit better now’.
We reached there sharp at 7:00. Waited for a while outside the apartment – we could not enter as we did not have keys..and it was biting cold – middle of February and husband was not well – so we went into a shop nearby and called the landlady and left her a message. No response, called her again and left her a message that we are here and waiting.. After waiting for half an hour, decided to walk to the entrance – on the offchance that they might get there by then and there they were! Apparently she had forgotten her phone at home! So after all the introductions and explanations about where we were and everything – we went up to see the apartment.
It was nice clean lift, opening into a nice clean corridor.. and when she opened the door – all we could do was gape! It was perfect! It was everything we wanted.. Nice new place. just 2 years old. very clean. Lovely wooden floor – I somehow don’t like carpeted floors.. Call me paranoid but I can never be satisfied that carpets are entirely clean 😦 And did not fancy having my baby crawling over a carpet. But after seeing the kind of houses we saw – I had resigned myself to any house that seemed decent. But this was perfect! It was the house for us. So the moment she said, ‘What do you think’ , we were like – ‘Yes, we love it’. She was like -‘ don’t you want to discuss with each other’ – we were like, ‘No we love it’ !
And that was it! A house we almost did not see.. It was as if the fates were conspiring against us – till the last minute! I can’t tell you how relieved we were.. We just could not afford to wait anymore and then – the perfect flat just dropped into our hands ! It certainly was love at first sight.. And it was a house where we spent 2.5 very happy years.. the longest that we have spent in one house – ever since we got married, the house which my daughter knew as her first home.