I’ve just completed my second full day of house-hunting and my third day of walking the streets to see if we like it.
We’ve walked miles. The pedometer in my pocket says that every ‘walkabout’ is an average of 4 miles and every day of house viewing about the same. That’s a lot of miles covered.
I have lost count how many houses and apartments we’ve seen (maybe about 20) and I’ve lost count how many of our must-have criteria are now firmly OFF the non-negotiable list.
We have been bewitched, bothered and bewildered by it all and, as so many of our criteria are off the list, it might just be easier to categorise our findings by the three Bs.
Bewitched by the surprising sounds of birdsong and the scent of the trees and shrubs that catches me in the throat every time its presence blocks out the sound of traffic or the nothing smell of air conditioned rooms. Bewitched by finding a mini-mart within walking distance that sells fresh milk and a place to eat that looks both ‘real’ and affordable. Bewitched by views that display lush landscapes, attractive buildings and mountains beyond. Bewitched at the thought of two kitchens in almost every house – one for non-smelly cooking, and one for – well the locals would use it for frying, but I’d use it for stinky chutney making with ingredients like mango and papaya and pineapple.
But I’m bothered by the traffic noise that comes through the double glazing, the fitted cupboards that mean we really should have sold off more furniture before leaving The Hague and the reality that Ian will never be able to walk to work if I want to look at a tree from my balcony. The other bothering thing is that officially we have just 4 weeks to find something and move in and, officially, we’re one week in already. Help!
Bewildering? It’s all bewildering. Such choice! Do we want the squash court or the pool long enough and deep enough to swim in? I know what I choose, but Ian is a squashy kind of bloke. Where will we put Ian’s guitar collection and the huge amount of stuff I need (yes, really) in my office, like two desks for a start? And do we want quiet or convenience?
And so we walk. We walk to test the distance to the nearest place to buy milk and eat out. We walk to see if we can hear birds and smell flowers and we walk to see if many taxis walk by. We also walk to see how grandparent friendly the pavements are, as Ian and I are blessed to still have all four of our parents alive, and they are aged 78-89.
But, the trouble is, despite the walking the thing that really matters is how we feel when we walk into the house or apartment. Our gut reaction and the wow factor. The good news is that when we go on gut and wow alone we can immediately narrow our choice down to three places. So, which three?
Which would you choose?