Thursday, 7 March 2013

Why we chose our flat

When we were given our notice at our last place we sat down and set our what we were looking for in a new place. I recommend doing this when you're house hunting, we both agreed what was absolutely essential for us in our new home, and we stuck to these rules when browsing advertisements and contacting agents or landlords. Our requirements were:
  • Budget - around £600 per month
  • Location - town centre or in an area between Gloucester and Cheltenham
  • Accepted pets
  • Parking (although on street was fine as long as it was readily available)
  • Central heating and double glazing - I hate to be cold and we've had terrible experiences before with night storage heaters
  • A larger one bedroom or a two bedroom, no studios (We have a lot of stuff as well as two cats, and two turtles in a 4ft tank, so a small one bedroom or a studio would be a bit cramped for us)
We found plenty that fit the bill on most points, but the pets were a problem. There were loads of places that were also taken by the time we called to inquire about them. We had to be out of our place by around the end of December, and by mid November we hadn't found anywhere, hadn't even been on a viewing in fact, I was getting pretty anxious. I then spoke to our now landlady, she was very polite (Not always something I experienced this time while making inquiries, and said cats would be OK,  so we booked in a viewing. The ad said 'lower ground floor' which I was wary of as I had never lived in a basement flat before and it didn't really appeal to me, but she assured me it really is lower ground floor as it has full size windows and its own front and back doors. At this point I was just happy to get a viewing booked for a nice sounding place that accepted cats! The flat met all of our major requirements before we even went to see it, one bedroom, under budget, the cats were welcome (In fact a previous tenant had one), there was on street parking, the location was perfect and the heating was all brand new.

I was pretty excited about this place, and once we went for the viewing it did not disappoint. Although it is lower ground floor, and we were viewing in the evening in November so it was dark, I could see what they meant about it not really being a basement flat, it does have full size windows and in the daytime is pretty light (Except the bathroom which gets no natural light at all, but I don't hang out in the loo too much so I don't mind). When we came in the front door into the hallway and other small room for a minute I thought these were the only living areas and was disappointed, but once we walked through and realised that there was the entrance hall, another small room (now our office) and the living room I was pretty impressed with the space on offer for the budget. The kitchen and bathroom were both modern and in good condition, the bedroom was a large double, and it had a courtyard garden. The flat also met all of our 'would be nice' points, which we set out secondary to the essentials as we could live without them, these were:
  • Outside space
  • Modern and recently refurbished
  • A few ameneties within walking distance - With the town centre about a 10 minute walk away there is pretty much everything we could need within walking distance, but also just over the road there are 2 pubs, a local shop, a takeaway and a vintage guitar shop (which Tom was happy to discover). There are also within about a 5 minute walk parks, a swimming pool and a gym.
  • Money saving features and more efficient to run - The flat had a freeview ariel so we wouldn't have to pay for TV and brand new heating.
The main plus points that really made this place stand out for us were:
  • The 2 hallways/rooms, which would make up for losing our spare room and attic. Most one bedrooms I had seen comprised of a bedroom, a bathroom and a kitchen/living area which the front door opened into, with a spare room and attic full of stuff we liked the idea of extra rooms!
  • The flat was finished to a high standard, the decorating, plastering, carpets and flooring were all new, and the kitchen and bathroom were modern - I don't think brand new but pretty recent.
  • 5 minute walk from my work, meaning we could still only have one car. Tom used to walk to work and I drove, we could just swap and not have to get a second car.
  • It had a nice amount of outdoor space and was self contained, so we'd still have our own front door and back door. 
  • The landlords seemed nice, and when we said we wanted to think about it they didn't pressurise us by saying they had other viewings (something I've experienced before), they said they didn't have anyone else booked until the end of the week so to think it over.
  • It was painted in white, not magnolia, I hate magnolia with a vengence (I didn't mind it so much 5 years ago, but renting does this to you) and white is so much easier to work with.

Even though this was the first place we actually viewed on our house hunt this time, we just fell in love with it and it met all of our requirements, and most importantly we could see ourselves living there. The only downsides we could find were:
  • On a busy road, an A road in fact. Once inside you can't hear it, but we were worried about the cats. The solution to this was that the flat is in a long terrace of houses, so we figured if we let them out of the back only, never out of the front, they would actually have to go pretty far to get to the main road, and they never go much further than the garden or next doors garden usually. At our last house they also showed a healthy fear of cars, we lived on a quieter road but there were still plenty of cars going past, and they always seemed to go over the back garden not into the street. We now shut the door between the office and the entrance hallway before opening the front door to make sure they don't get out the front but to be honest they don't even try now, as they're used to going out the back I don't think they even realise there is a front door!
  • It was the first place we viewed, so we thought we might just be taking it because we were in a rush to find somewhere and had found it difficult to find a place that accepted the cats and that we liked.
We thought about it and slept on it then when we talked about it the next day we both still really liked the place, and thought even if we viewed 20 others we'd still like this one and would be disappointed if someone else had taken it by then. So we decided to bite the bullet, stop doubting our guts and just take it. I haven't seen another property yet that makes me wish we'd hung on.

So that's what we liked about the flat, why we took it, and how we went about looking for it. 

I'll do another post later on house hunting in general, my experiences, funny stories and how we found each of our properties.

No comments:

Post a Comment