Friday, 8 October 2010

First-time buyer in London

Estate agent’s blurb: ‘Property has its own door’. Now there’s a relief. What next – ‘delighted to say property has its own toilet’, ‘proud to present this car parking space that could be converted into a three bed if you are all really, really good friends’?

I desperately want a little pad to call my own, somewhere I can feel settled, paint the walls, dig in a garden (or window-box – let’s be realistic), put up shelves, have a desk (oh the dream), and just potter about surrounded by everything that makes me ‘me’. So I have been saving desperately and foregoing treats for what seems like years. I now think I may be able to buy a potting shed. If I’m lucky.

I find myself clicking through property websites, and think that copywriters for estate agents have a really hard job. All the cheery exclamation marks in the world cannot hide the fact the property they are trying to market is a dump. ‘Look at the wondrous views,' they trill bravely as they try to flog a high-rise flat. ‘Close to all transport amenities,' they say about properties choking in fumes alongside the busy North Circular ring-road.

And why do they all ‘boast’ or are ‘proud’ to present properties? Why just settle on those two adjectives – they could brag, declare, even swank a little (we are swanking with delight to tell you about this flat). Actually I don’t know if I want to think about estate agents swanking with delight. Do you?

Sometimes I get bored with the sort of results my price range throws up in the London areas that I am looking in, and extend the search to Cornwall. I then look longingly at the sort of place I could get if I wasn’t attached by a monetary umbilical cord to a job in London, and sigh. Of course, it is thanks to the fact I am so attached that allows me to even dream of owning my own place. I’m in a weird catch-22 when all I really want to do is live like an artist and skip around with a leaf.

Do you think we ever grow up and become the people we want to be, or do you think people settle for less than ideal? Gosh that is philosophical for a Friday. Let’s go back to talking about swanking.

26 comments:

Marguerite said...

I've been searching for a house, for ages. It truly is hard work and I know what you mean. Thanks for linking to every new post on my blog.

Joanna St. James said...

ha ha this is funny, good luck with the house hunt

Indigo said...

I want to get a place further out in the country - no neighbors. No I'm not exactly a people hater. I've just had my fill with the rude neighbors that border me now.

Do I think we grow up to be the people we dreamed about? Sometimes. Take me for example loved writing and reading as a kid in school. Adult life runs me over and spits me out into something other. Then one day reality slams into me and I'm suddenly deaf and forced to slow down. The result - I'm doing what I've always dreamed of, right now.

So yes, sometimes we grow into who we're supposed to be. For some (like me) it just takes a little longer to get there. (Hugs)Indigo

Suzi McGowen said...

I hope that someday I will grow up and be the person I want to be. I've been trying for the past 46 years, so one of these days I'm bound to get it right!

Katie Anderson said...

It's hard enough flat hunting in other places - I can't imagine the horror of doing it in London. My thoughts are with you!

I must be getting a little old, because I've started to daydream occasionally about country cottages. This can't be a good sign....

Joanne said...

I think that we become who we want to be, in some way, or in some variation. We may make adjustments along the way, but hopefully our heart holds on to that ideal. Best wishes house-hunting!

Old Kitty said...

It's awful awful awful being constrained by finances - I hate it too! It's so not fair - well it's not!! :-(

And you are so so so right! What is it with the "Proud to present..."?!?!?! LOL!

Swanking is too good a word for the estate agent business! :-)
Take care
x

Happy Frog and I said...

I've seen that door comment several times before and never made the connection you did. Loved it, thank you.

I hope you do manage to find somewhere, it is so lovely to have your own place.

I've become the person I wanted to be apart from in career terms, so I'm quite content with that.

Carolyn Abiad said...

You will find something you're happy with. I don't think that's settling either. It's reaching small goals. See how you said "first-time"? Makes me think there will be a second time, someday. Good luck!

Maria Zannini said...

I'm on my fourth house, and we've had to settle plenty of times, but we did it with an eye to the future.

We knew that the more we did without, the better the next house would be.

We are now in our last house (before the grave) and it is everything (and more) than I could ask for.

You'll get there, hon.

Carole Anne Carr said...

Yes, we do grow up, if we live long enough and don't let the living destroy us along the way.. :0)

Carolyn V. said...

I had all these plans for myself, but as I'm getting older and things have changed, I'm finding they are better things that have made me happier than what I thought I could have before. Good luck with the house hunt!

Rachna Chhabria said...

Good luck with your house hunt, Jayne. In life we end up settling for a lot less than what we want.

Christine said...

I do hope you find somewhere soon. I can understand the frustration of knowing that you can afford somewhere, out of London, but needing to remain there for work.

In life, we make lots of little modifications to the dream, along the journey and that's not always bad. Sometimes we change what we want and go down a different path. Knowing what we really want can be hardest of all.

Lindsay said...

It's a frustrating business isn't it. Hope you find somewhere lovely soon, and if it's in my neck of the woods you might join the Greenacre Writers. It was great to meet you last Monday.

Kit Courteney said...

Lovely post.

You know my circs... right now I think all estate agents are swankers.

Amanda said...

sometimes it's fun to look at real estate even if you're not planning to buy -- just to dream.

and about that growing up to be what we want to be thing -- i'm not sure if that ever happens -- i think it's all about figuring out how to enjoy the journey since there are so many 'people' we can possibly be - right?! ;-)

Jemi Fraser said...

Searching for a home is tough! You need to balance so many needs and desires and budgets! Good luck :)

~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

My self-image and I are evolving works in progress. (Is that a fancy way of saying I settle for less than ideal? lol)

I hope you find a cute flat soon! The perfect place is out there, waiting to be discovered.

Fran said...

I love your idea of skipping around with a leaf like an artist!

music obsessive said...

In my experience, the place you will choose will not be anything like you imagined. The trick is being able to recognise it when you see it!

I spent many years looking at places in Twickenham, then bought a flat in Ealing. See what I mean?

Madeleine said...

Thank you That really made me ROFL, brilliant! :O)

The Words Crafter said...

Skipping around with a leaf....sounds like fun!

We looked for a long time and finally, FINALLY found a little house that suits us. It isn't perfect and has its own warts, but it's ours and we love it.

It's a hard journey, house hunting, and terribly discouraging at time. But don't give up. The reward is priceless.

Swanking....sounds a bit scary!

Talli Roland said...

I definitely don't envy you that task.

As for your question... hm. I'm so far from where I thought I'd be I'm not sure I even fall within the range of expectations!

Hope you're having a great weekend.

Ev said...

Poor Jayne. I empathise completely. I spent a week in a rural part of Ireland recently and came home to Dublin determined to shift them all down lock stock and barrel. The comments of the fifteen year old are not printable. Houses at half Dublin price and with twice the peace of suburban living. Darn. Why do we have to earn livings as well? And yes, we do eventually turn into who we want to be, once we keep wanting it

Rose said...

hmm I thought about doing all this about a year ago and just have let it slide since then. The estate agents are so bizarre, so useless and really not interested in people- or perhaps just me!

The what you can get thing... I would just like a little unit that was mine where all my things would fit and I could start to feel like I'm not camping- sometimes I wonder if that will ever happen without taking me away from what makes me me- London. Or perhaps to be more accurate not zone 5 of London!