There is nothing like a car crash or life altering situation to make you access, evaluate and take note of the life you are living. Having just walked away from a car crash without a scratch with my 5-year-old daughter the first thing on my path to #creatingalifeoffreedom was where we lived. I realised the house we were living in no longer suited our family's needs and requirements. I had to find us a new place to live. I began writing a list of things that were important to us as a family and finding our new home. Top of that list was location, next was price and finally, it had to give us the same standard of home/size as the one we were presently in. There is no point in us selling a beautiful home we spent years creating to move into something that is not the same size on the same plot. We wanted to bring the family unit back together (our son was couch surfing while attending college) the new house had to both be accessible for my husband and me for work and for both our children to get to school/college. It wasn't a long list, just very specific. I am a firm believer in writing it down. Putting pen to paper makes it real and gives clear instructions to the universe. The problem is we were moving back from a commuter town into the outskirts of the city. Such a home would be hard to find at a price we could afford. Never the less I had written it down and outlined what we needed to make the process happen. My husband and I set about getting our own home ready for sale. Everyone thinks their home is amazing, ask a trusted friend what they really think of your home and don't be offended by the answers. The more honest, the better. We started clearing out all the personal items in our home. we wanted potential buyers to be able to visualise their things in our home. We "neutralised" our home. We made sure the colour scheme was neutral. The kitchen was "white" and the sitting/living room was white and grey. We fixed the tarmac in our driveway and replaced our boundary fence. By January 2016 our house was ready for market. A very good friend of ours "staged" each room for us and took the photos for the estate agents brochure and online marketing material. We had professional photos and a very professional brochure, we were ready!
Every Saturday for the next few weeks we had viewings on the house. This meant a manic cleaning frenzy every week for 8 weeks. It was exhausting but worth it. I had a copy of the brochure and each week I made sure our home was laid out exactly as the brochure. We had viewed a few houses ourselves and we always commented afterwards how the house never looked like the photos in the brochure. It was really important to me that viewers walked away with a positive experience having viewed our home. After each viewing, we received "feedback" from the selling agent. Some of the feedback we received was ridiculous. The bedrooms are too small, the windows in the front are too small, the garden is too big etc. I have to point out that unless you design & build your own house to your own specification you are never going to find a house that ticks all boxes. That perfect house does not exist unless you build it and then you are into site fees, planning application, council donations|contributions etc. It has always been our dream to build our own home but the red tape involved has prevented us from doing so. The next best thing was buying a house on its own plot and tailoring it to "our" needs and requirement. Yes, the windows in the front are a bit small but that's where the bedrooms are and you don't want the sun shining in waking you up at 5 am so the windows actually serve a purpose and function. They are exactly the right size to enable you to get a goods nights sleep! We had a couple view our home 6 times. Every Saturday they would come with another member of their family. This was a new record for our selling agent. If I am totally honest it drove me bonkers and felt intrusive after the 3rd viewing. They first viewed the house the week it came to market and put in a ridiculously low offer on the house, an insult. Each week they would come back with a new person and up their ridiculously low offer. Now you know why the title is "Keeping Calm While Selling & Buying A House"?
After their 3rd viewing, I was collecting my daughter from school and took a different route coincidentally. I don't know what made me take this route my mother told me she sometimes goes this way and there were two houses on that route for sale. When I was a child I lived not too far away from this location and our business was within stones throw away not to mention my daughter's school. I drove by this house and I instantly knew we were going to live there, this is the house we would move into. Excited I showed my husband the house online. It ticked all the boxes except 1 - The price. We couldn't afford it. Something made me call the selling agent to book a viewing. I went alone and I fell in love with the house. The selling agent told me it had been sold in September 2014 and the sale fell through. This was an opportunity for us to haggle on price and try to secure the house for a price we could afford. Now my husband was excited and he went to view the house a few weeks later. Thankfully he loved the house as much as I did. We put an offer on the house and a week later another person put a higher offer on the house. We knew we didn't want to enter into a price/bidding war, we simply couldn't afford it. We sat tight for a number of weeks. That is really important. You want the selling agent to know you are interested, you don't want them to know you are "in love" with the house. Otherwise, you will get played. Sit tight when you place your offer and if there is another offer ask to see the offer verified. We placed our offer by e-mail. When placing an offer the selling agent is required to record all bids and is legally obliged to show you those bids/offers. After a number of weeks, the selling agent got back to us and said the seller of the house wants to accept OUR offer as we seem like the more stable buyer. Our children went to school/college locally and our business was local as well as our family & friends. They felt the sale would go through as we offered more "security". That's a very important factor. When you are bidding on a house tell the selling agent "Why" you would be the best option for their client. We sold ourselves as the perfect buyer and built up trust with the selling agent. We put the booking deposit down in April 2016 (3 months after we first viewed the house) and we accepted an offer from the couple who viewed our house 6 time just 4 days later. How is that for the universe conspiring to make things happen for you! Write it down & start working on #creatingalifeoffreedom.
In November we had decided to move. In December we set about making our house "sale worthy", in January we put it on the market and in April we had "Sale Agreed" and deposits paid on both houses. I'm not going to tell you it is plain sailing, it's not. Every week I face a different challenge throughout this whole process. The conditions the bank set on our new mortgage were ridiculous and I had to go back & fourth to try to get them removed. Because we are business owners we had to supply 3 years financial accounts, certificates of income from our accountant and we had to prove our taxes were paid up to date both in business and personally. Their engineer pointed out a minor flaw in our roof and our 6-time viewers rubbed their hands together to get additional money off the already reduced price of the house. Prior to this, I received an email with 21 questions relating to the house, these are just some of the questions...
1) What year was the house built?
2) What year was the extension built?
3) Who built the extension?
4) What year were the windows put in? In the front/extension to the house?
5) What year were the walls pumped?
6) Where was the kitchen purchased? (In case a fitting or part ever needed to be replaced!)
7) Who supplied the slide/wardrobes?
8) Do the solar panels heat the water just?
9) Is there a warranty on the Solar panels, who installed them?
10) Is the alarm connected to a monitoring system?
As you can see from above, selling our house to these people was slowing becoming a nightmare. When the selling agent informed them the price of the house will remain the same as their engineers report clearly states the house has many "high-quality features" and is very "energy efficient" they tried to get us to leave our garage (removable) for a pittance. Early June I was concerned we hadn't received contracts for the house we were buying so I contacted the estate agent. We hadn't even got to the stage of an engineer surveying the house and I wanted to see what the delay was in the contracts.The selling agent for the house we are buying informed us it's an "assisted sale" what that means is the people selling it are in "negative equity" and the bank has to agree to the sale. With all this going on I woke up one Saturday morning and I couldn't raise my left arm. My shoulder and neck were in agony. I knew it was down to the stress of all of the above. I woke my husband and I asked him to rub pain relief gel into my neck, shoulders and muscles. I was crippled with pain. It was at this point I began to listen to my body, the strain of it all was making me ill. I took the conscious decision to repel any negative thoughts or energy being thrown at me by the 6-time viewers of our house. The price was the price, it's not up for negotiation, end of story. With regards to the house, we are purchasing I have no control over the bank nor the solicitor. I cannot make the bank send the title deeds to the solicitor to prepare contracts. That is out of my control, I simply let it go. Every night before I slept I did some stress relief meditation and every morning before I started my day I listened to a motivational meditation. At the weekend I put on my trainers and I ran, releasing all the stress that had built up the week prior. A very good friend of mine took time out her life to travel to our home to perform reiki on me. God bless friendship and God bless reiki. I am forever grateful for her kindness.
The following affirmation/prayer became my daily mantra during this stressful time:
"I trust in the power and presence of God. Thy will be done. Amen."
I gave it up to a higher power and I believe when the time is right the contracts will arrive for our new house and the 6-time viewers will buy our house. They are not going to let this house go having invested emotionally and financially in it over the past 6 months. There will always be an obstacle to overcome. The only way I got through the last 6 months was by dealing with 1|2 obstacles each day. Every day I would set myself 1 or 2 goals to tick off the long list of documents I had to provide for the bank from the accountant, phone calls I had to make to selling agents etc etc. As I write this I am still awaiting confirmation from the 6 time viewers as to whether or not they are actually going to buy the house they have yet to sign the contracts. They played a lot of games over the past 6 months. The thing about games is this; It can only affect you if you allow it too. If people start playing games with you, start meditating, start exercising do everything you can to take your power back. Be firm and have good strong valid reasons to support your case. The world is full of chancers & opportunists but if you have begun manifesting this new life and believe in the power of the mantra above there really is nothing they or anyone can do. The outcome has already happened, sit back, relax and enjoy the last few weeks in your old home. Be grateful for the times and memories you created there and shared with family and friends. A new exciting chapter in your life is about to begin. Sit back and enjoy the ride because at the end of the day you are working towards #creatingalifeoffreedom.
My Top 5 Tips For Selling A House
1 Ask a trusted friend exactly what they think of your home, your space, your interior and ask them to be brutally honest. Take their comments on board and work towards making your home clutter-free and welcoming to prospective buyers, consider a mini make-over, ask friends to help. A natural/neutral colour palette usually works best.
2 Put all your personal belongings in storage, that photo of you & your partner at the Eiffel Tower or Vegas won't help. Buyers need to imagine their things, their lives living in your home. If you have pets put their bedding, food trays away and any toys they might have, you love your dogs and cats perspective buyers may not be animal lovers and could even be allergic to animal hair - Clean, clean, clean prior to viewing! Bleach is your best friend. Put your children's toys away, only keep their favourite to hand, de-clutter every room.
3 Check your brochure, make sure your house is exactly as the brochure for each viewing. I can't tell you how disappointed we were viewing houses that looked nothing like the brochure. It's a major turn off.
4 Check in advance what property prices are like in your area, set a figure in your head prior to the estate agents visit to value your property and stick to your guns, be realistic if the house up the road sold for €250K yours is not going to sell for €400K no matter what you think it's worth. Chances are you think it's worth a lot more than market value, you have an emotional connection to the property - This is a business!
5 Prepare to negotiate, work out in advance what you need to make the move, your bottom line and stick to it. Don't be swayed by your selling agent, their number 1 priority is their commission, It's no skin off their nose if they reduce your property by €10K to sell it quickly and get their commission. If your property is in good condition, you have done a mini make-over to attract potential buyers it should sell for the asking price, it just might take a bit of time - Have faith.
My Top 5 Tips For Buying A House
1 It's all about location, location, location. There is no point living in a fabulous house that friends & family envy if it's not accessible to work, friends and family. trust me I know. The location should be top of your list when buying a home. Are there good schools for your children close by? Is it close to work? There is no point commuting 2 hours day, family life will suffer. Is it close to family & friends? They are your support network, I can't tell you how valuable it is to be close to your support network. Especially if you are sick, a friend is more likely to take your child for a few hours to help you recover if you live close by.
2 Set a budget and stick to it. We had to let a few houses we looked at go because other bidders went higher than we had set our budget. It's a house, I know you love it, chances are if it went over budget it wasn't meant for you anyway - Move onto the next property and be excited to see what the universe has in store for you. There is some reason why you were not successful - Trust that reason. We lost all those houses because it wasn't the right home for our family, it took me a bit of time to drive by & find the one "by accident".
3 Ask for verification of other bidders. The selling agent is bound by law to provide you with that information. Do not enter into a bidding war, set your budget, when you reach it - Move On.
4 Finding the right house takes time, have patience, trust the process. Again be patient (some more) there is legal stuff out of your control, there is a difference in being on top of it and hassling your agent/buyer/bank etc etc. On the plus side you can set your intention out to the universe, start packing up, clear out old stuff and start boxing up books, cd's so the universe knows you are serious. Write it down, describe your new home, draw out the kitchen, the layout and sit back and watch that shit get real! Be realistic, you are not going to find the "perfect home" it does not exist unless you build it yourself from the ground up. When looking at a home, look at the location, budget, size and ask yourself if you can add value to the space and make it into your "dream home". If you are being too critical after viewing several properties then perhaps building your own home is the only option that will full fill your expectations.
5 Always be nice to the person whom you are buying the house from, if you are nice chances are they are going to leave you extra stuff like oil in the tank, solid fuel for the fire, a bottle of wine etc. Don't ask them to leave stuff e.g furniture. Offer them something for the furniture if you like it, don't expect them to leave it for free (even if you are a first time buyer) everyone has moving costs, it's nice to offer something and you have a better chance of obtaining it for free if you recognise that everything in the home has a value, be it monetary or sentimental. Here's a section of an email we received from the couple buying our home.
"Your home is absolutely beautiful and you have everything so well put together, we are first time buyers and have no furniture etc so if you chose to leave behind any furnishings/appliances (washing machine, fridge, dishwasher) we would greatly appreciate the head start."
Practice "gratitude" the person selling their home is probably doing so on a budget, in our case at a loss. Put yourself in their shoes. I am sure (if you are nice) they will go above and beyond to ensure the transition into their home is exciting, seamless and calm. Who knows they may leave you a fill of oil in the tank or some shelves, it depends on how you proceed with the sale and negotiations. Proceed with caution, know the value of items prior to making any offer on them. Do some research, the last thing you want to do is insult and aggravate them.
Finally, make sure you have all your documents in order, your loan application, life insurance etc is up to date, expect the unexpected, delays happen - Breathe! Enjoy the journey
Don't forget to connect with me via twitter & facebook - Share your moving house story & tips, I'd love to hear from you. Feel free to connect and start #creatingalifeoffreedom Here's how to get started.
In case you are curious about the remaining 11 questions from our 6 time viewers, it went like this....
11) Where was the cube/studio purchased and in what year? Is there wifi in the cube?
12) What year was the decking put down?
13) Was there ever a plan to build a wall/hedge between the house and the house to the left of the property? Was the cost of the current fence shared?
14) Was there ever objections made by local residents to proposed site plans next to the property, the new houses on the corner site?
15) How does the heating system etc work? Hot water etc?
16) Did you ever consider putting in a stove into the sitting room or kitchen area? Do you know if it would be possible or not in the future for us to do this?
17) How old are the PVC fascia and soffits?
18) How old is the boiler? Who supplied it?
19) Are the wooden floors in the hallway/bedrooms solid or semi-solid?
20) What year was the flooring in the hallway/bedrooms put down?
21) Was there ever planning permission sought to increase the window size to the front of the property?
UPDATE: 7th July, 2016. 6-time viewers refused to sign the contracts. They "expect we include additional items at no additional cost". Needless to say, we contacted our solicitor and asked for our contracts and documents back. We withdrew our home from the market. We contacted a new selling agent the following day and our home is going back on the market in the coming days. you can read what happened here. The power is with the owner of the property, not the selling agent and certainly not the purchaser. When God closes one door, he opens another.
UPDATE: 17th Aug 2016. Sale Agreed, new purchaser, higher price obtained, contracts being sent this week. Never lose faith, stay focused, turn every obstacle into an opportunity. Open your heart and mind to receiving and you will receive.
UPDATE: 16th Sept 2016. SOLD. We moved out, currently mortgage & debt free.
UPDATE: 16th Dec 2016. We got the keys to our new house, Sonas. Never ever give up on your dreams.