I haven't been able to blog recently. I've been too busy - eyes peeled to the computer screen every available moment of the day. Damn it all.
Before Christmas, we thought we'd found 'the' house. FR went to look at it one Sunday after we'd spent all day Saturday looking at other houses - which drives the children mad - so he went alone. He liked it very much and we decided to go immediately together the next day. When I first entered it, I thought 'wow' - the right response if you're going to buy a house, in my opinion - I really did like it. We came back and FR made a preliminary offer over the phone, stressing that we needed to get the opinion of an expert as the house is in need of reform and he would be speaking with a surveyor before making any firm offer. The owners - an old man and his wife - are aware that they have a big old house that needs a lot of reform and, as none of their sons are interested in keeping the property and doing the work for themselves, selling is the only real option for them. The man is also realistic enough to know that his potential buyers will be few and far between and so he made all the right, helpful noises about negotiating and making the house available to whoever needed to see it. So we went again later in the week with the children - this time taking tape measures and poking around a bit more.
My second reaction was less 'wow' and more 'omg' as the extent of the work that needed doing on the property began to filter into the more realistic part of my brain (it's just a little part, but it is there.) I could feel my feet going cold where I stood, which was nothing to do with FR saying that all, not part of the roof, would need replacing. FR had been speaking with various people all during the week, only to realise that the sort of survey we wanted is not routinely done in Spain - especially if the sale isn't connected to a mortgage application. Getting a survey was not a straightforward little job! I have decided to leave all that to FR to sort out and he has done. (I'll try that approach more often!)
The children quite liked the house but their enthusiasm has definitely waned about individual places - they just want to know if we are going to buy or not. If not, they switch off immediately. This house is not in Alcala la Real - a change of schools would be necessary if we were to buy it. To give them credit, the children appeared to give this house a good going over and investigated the immediate surroundings - which includes a rather lovely park and the town's Cultural Centre. But...both FR and I felt filled with the fear that it would be a total drain on our limited resources. It could be made lovely - but could we afford to do it?
I decided to resist the temptation to rush ahead ( something I usually do), telling FR I simply wasn't convinced and didn't want to make any further commitment to the place. On top of being financially un-doable, it wasn't in Alcala so the children would have to move school and it didn't have a garden (though the internal patio was really rather nice) and we said that was something we wanted. And then it was Christmas.
And then we came to England, the children and I, and I spent some time describing the house to my sister and I started to like it all over again. And then we came back to Alcala la Real and I fell in love with this place all over again. And now I've started searching the internet for properties as if I had never done it before. Obsessively typing searches into Google in both English and Spanish to try and find a new site, a never-before visited page. No time to blog, no time to think.
And today, I decided to do something else and read some blogs for the first time in a while. I had the lovely discovery that I've been given another award - than you Ayak! I shall get on with that very shortly. And in reading other people's blogs, I began thinking about writing my own again. And now I think I might have just managed to break my obsessive househunting cycle by writing about it. One of the first rules, isn't it - admit your problem and desire to stop. I admit, I am addicted to looking at houses on the internet. And I want to stop. I am going to stop and my blog and the world of blogging is going to help me.
I hadn't wanted to blog about the house we'd seen - it felt like tempting fate. I looked the other way and didn't talk about it as I was not sure what I really thought. I've come back from England feeling that this house is a good option for us despite the negatives already mentioned. It's big; it has a lot of potential to make into a beautiful family home with the potential for more options; it is very accessible to Granada where there will be more possibilities for FR; it's in another family-friendly town with lots of amenities for growing children. It is a good place to live if you have three with varied and different interests; it has schools and shops and public transport and the house is central with a garage and good access.
We have now put in an offer that we could afford. We don't know if it will be accepted or not. We should know in a few more days. There is nothing else I can do now apart from wait for the owner's answer. Looking at more houses won't improve our chances of buying this one. I am now familiar with just about every property for sale within a 50km radius and know that there is nothing else I want to look at just now.
And so I'm off to knit a cowl/scarf for Romy from some lovely alpaca wool I have and I promise that next time I blog, I will show it to you as prove of having my obsession back under control. And if our offer is accepted - I'll tell you that too!