Thursday, June 30, 2005

House News...

For anyone who doesn't read the comments, I just thought I'd let you all know that the survey report arrived tonight and everything appears to be OK. It seems to be to be littered with a million and one disclaimers which they obviously felt obliged to include, but the important bit is that it's worth the asking price, or more to the point, sufficient to secure the mortgage.

I suppose I really ought to ring the estate agents in the morning, but I'm sure that if I wait until one minute past nine, they will be on the phone to me first.

In the meantime, comments have been received that the last photo I included was too vague, so in the light of this good news, here's a closer one...

Very strange...

I like to check out Funjunkie whenever I can to see the latest games and general silliness going on, but I fear this morning's visit may have changed my life more permanently.

Before I explain further, check out this bizarre link to a Bubbles and Bikinis animation. I've absolutely no idea what was going though the creators mind at the time, any more than I ever got the whole Badger Badger Badger thing. It serves no practical purpose whatsoever other than to leave me asking "Why?". All the same, I find this one strangely compelling and difficult to walk away from in case she should get stuck amongst the bubbles and need rescuing again. I really need to get out more.

Coincidentally, on that theme, I'm happy to say the pills, capsules & drops finally run out tonight and normal life (i.e. including alcohol consumption) starts again in earnest from tomorrow teatime. Seany will be back out on the Hobgoblin again so lock up your daughters, sisters, mothers, and perhaps even some of your better looking pets...

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

More House Buying Fun...

The ear is almost fully functional again, but I'm not hearing much about this house purchase lark yet.

You know sometimes when you're on a train, it stops at a station, you look out of the window and it feels as if you're still moving really, really slowly? Well that's how quickly things seem to have progressed over the last couple of weeks.

There's plenty of phone calls going on:

(Estate Agent) Have you any more news since your offer was accepted [almost an hour ago]?

(Mortgage Advisor) I've got your mortgage application form here if you can bring me two kinds of ID

(Estate Agent) Have you heard any further news yet?

(Mortgage Advisor) The surveyor has been in touch with the vendor and should be round in the next few days. You should have their report within a week.

(Me to Estate Agent)The survey results should be back within the next few days.
(Estate Agent) OK have you any other news?

(Solicitor) We've received an e-mail asking us to act on your behalf. Please confirm in writing.
(E-mail to Solicitor) Yes that is correct - please accept this as authority to proceed
(Solicitor) OK - please call into the office with two types of ID when next convenient

(Estate Agent) Have you heard anything more yet?

Why couldn't we just set up a meeting with all parties concerned? They could all meet me in person, I could show them my passport, driving license, bank statements, payslips, blood group, note from my Mum excusing me from PE, etc. and establish my identity once and for all. I'm fast reaching the point where I'm unsure of it myself.

And I know it's still very early days but I can't figure out what the hell estate agents do exactly. They were no more help to me in selling my last property than they are in buying this one.

Agreed they take some lovely photos and describe properties in their own unique language:
Compact & bijoux = formerly rented out as a broom cupboard
Well located for transport network = next to a railway line/motorway/airport
Situated in a well established residential area = your worst nightmare of a housing estate
Well placed for local amenities - complete strangers parking outside your property 24 hours a day
Ideal for first time buyer/investor - expect to spend twice the asking price before actually living in it

They certainly have a gift for making perpetual phone calls chasing me for information that I've agreed to pass on as soon as I get it. I am now only a short step away from "When I have something to tell you I will ring you. In the meantime will you please just f*** off".

As I said in an earlier posting what could be simpler? This chap wants to sell his house and I want to buy it. It has been surveyed very recently on behalf of a buyer who had to withdraw from the sale for personal reasons. Apparently that doesn't count any more. I have found somebody foolish enough to lend me enough money to buy it, so what's the problem?

I can almost see it in the news already. I'll have just signed up to a 5 year fixed rate mortgage and the headlines will read "Interest rates slashed to a new all-time low"...

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Picture this...

Little Sis was talking to me this morning about hypnotherapy and I was reminded of a story of an ex-manager of mine from many years ago.

We had been discussing ways of stopping smoking (6 months on Thursday by the way) and he told me that his wife had booked him into a hypnotherapist, but it wasn't going too well due to his self-confessed lack of imagination:

"OK, I'd like you to lie on the couch, close your eyes and relax. Now picture yourself outside of your favourite cinema. Can you do that?"
"I think so, yes"
"Now I want you to walk through the doors, across the foyer, up the stairs into the auditorium and find yourself a nice comfortable seat. As the curtains draw back I'd like you to concentrate on the large white screen and you will see a small black dot right in the centre. As you stare at the black dot, it is slowly getting bigger and bigger until it takes up your whole field of vision. OK?"
"Not really, I can't even see the screen yet"
"Alright, no problem, how far have you got"
"I'm still stood outside the cinema finishing my cigarette"

Another favourite of mine was whenever anyone was going to get him a coffee
"Do you take sugar?"
"Yes, 12 please but don't stir it - I can't stand it too sweet..."

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Ear, What's Goin' On...

So another fun packed week flies by.

Things have started at a healthy pace on the house front. The survey fee is paid and they've already been in touch with the vendor to make arrangements. The official mortgage application has gone off with 267 different proofs of id, earnings, existence, etc. Instructions have been sent to my solicitor who apparently is on holiday until Friday (as he was about 14 years ago when I first contacted him) , but he has a reputation for being the best in town and from previous experience it is worth waiting a couple more days.

And all this with the use of one ear - yes the last bout of "man-flu" [cue dramatic music] has left me unexpectedly out of hearing in my left ear. After numerous attempts at self-diagnosis and treatment, I decided after a week with no improvement to make a rare visit to my G.P. Helpful as always (genuine, non-sarcastic comment) he sent me away with a shopping list for twenty quid's worth of various goodies including some steroid drops.

So aswell as a new home, I'm currently anticipating ownership of a huge muscly over-developed left ear...

Thursday, June 16, 2005

And they're off...

Re-visited the bungalow last night, reconsidered and it turns out to be much better value for money than the house, or perhaps more importantly, better suited to my pocket.

Offer made and accepted this morning. Let the real games (and several weeks of telephone calls) commence.

Just in case anyone wants to tempt fate, or simply can't wait, there's a photo here.

I ought to be out celebrating but last week's "man-flu" has made an unprecedented return.
Oh joy...

Monday, June 13, 2005

'Tis a silly game...

I want to buy a house.
They want to sell one.
They know I will offer less than the asking price and so, inflate their price.
I know they have over-priced the house so I offer them considerably less.
This will carry on to and fro for way too long like some kind of school playground argument.
Eventually the realisation will hit that we have been drawn into this ridiculous game so the estate agents have something to do all day (ie. phone and pester the hell out of us both).
It's only been few days but it's a silly game and I don't want to play any more.
But if we dont, they don't get to sell their house.
And I don't get to buy one...

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Just a bit impulsive...

I don't remember house-hunting being as difficult as this.

Bearing in mind this had all started three weeks ago when a really nice end-terraced house came up for sale just around the corner from where I am now and the viewing showed it to be a real bargain for a very well maintained and completely appropriate house.

This time armed with my mortgage offer in hand, I went to see two other properties last night:

First one, a semi-detached bungalow about three miles from the town centre. Excellent condition, within my price range, complete with all kitchen appliances and various other goodies. Will suit me just fine. That's it then. Mind made up. Forget about the really nice end-terraced I'd had my eye on until now.

Out of courtesy, I ought to take a look around the other house seeing as I've made an appointment. Hmmm, this is better still and it's more central to the towns amenities (oh dear, I'm starting to write like an estate agent). I would need buy more appliances & furniture, but it is a bigger and better property in great condition and in a really pleasant area of town. It is a bit more expensive, but still comfortably affordable.

Only one thing for it - off to the Tap for some quiet contemplation (followed by several less-quiet pints of Hobgoblin). Just as an aside, entertainment last night was courtesy of an excellent singer/songwriter called Si Nicolls, a very talented and funny guy. If you get the chance to see him play you really should.

So this morning after much deliberation (well, almost an hour) and still in a quandry as to which would be the most suitable, I made a snap decision and put an offer in on one of them.

Which one? Well that would be telling. I'll keep the blog updated with progress as events unfold over the next few days...

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Virtual existence...

I've been stricken down with the infamous "man-flu" again this week which has caused me a couple of days off work for the first time since January.

For most of the time I was practically unable (i.e. not bothered) to get out of bed, and so have managed to put the cordless optical mouse to good use and continued some [decent] internet activity from the comfort of my sick-bed, between gargling down Beechams Cold & Flu Plus by the gallon.

Non-active achievements this week include:

Keeping up to date with Big Brother (several seconds of entertainment there)

Paid a couple of bills

I now have a mortgage agreed in principal

Reviewed all advertised properties for sale with all of the area's estate agents and drawn up a shortlist to view over the weekend

Bid for a load of unwanted items from e-Bay (only won one so far)

Searched to see what I can get for some of my rubbish on e-Bay (not a lot)

I'm pleased to say that I returned to work this morning (I'm not really very good at stringing out the man-flu excuse) and I've probably ended up busier over these two days off than I would have done at work, but at least I had the option of legitimately packing in and going to sleep for a couple of hours.

More importantly, I've recovered in time for the weekend. I propose getting the house-hunting out of the way as early as possible and getting down to some serious business in the Tap...

Friday, June 03, 2005

Long time no blog...

I can't believe I've managed two whole weeks without adding anything to the blog, but in my defence, I have been a busy little bee.

Firstly, I have decided to re-join the leagues of grown ups and kit myself up with a mortgage with a view to becoming a man of property again. If previous experience is anything to go by, it should be a good indication that house prices will stabilise now for the next 25 years or so.

I have also spent a bit more time "darn sarf" getting all of the family birthday celebrations out of the way. From hereon in, 2005 is all about looking after number one for a while.

The most amazing occurence over the last couple of weeks was during a trip to Legoland in Windsor last Friday. For starters, everybody should go to Legoland - it is a really impressive day out and well worth the money. We had spent so much of the day filling our faces and going on rides that we had to hurry round "Mini Land" at the end of the day which was a real shame. However, during this last minute dash I spotted these four models (click on pictures for larger image):

Now unless I'm very much mistaken, these are the Dock Offices, Corporation Bridge, the Dock Tower and Spillers Mill; four well-known Grimsby landmarks that apparently now receive national recognition having been immortalised in Lego. Well who'd have thought that...