Sunday, 21 August 2011

Finally here

Well not posted in a while so this may be a big update.
Anyway we were still waiting on the final bits and pieces to be signed off on the house purchase bt had to move up for the start of school term. We felt it iwas important for the kids to start as quick as possible to give them the best chance of settling in.
So over two days we got the house packed up. The movers were fantastic. Very fast and professional.
So we said goodbye to the house and it was weird. Seeing the first home we had, the place I brought both my kids back to as babies empty was a very odd thing. I must admit leaving began to felt very hard. The kids said goodbye to their friends and again there were a few tears and I was beginning to wonder if I was evil as this move really is all my idea.
We set off for the ferry and I thought we had loads of time. We turned up at Aberdeen about 4:40 and we a bit stunned to see what looked like a loaded ferry. A quick check and it appeared that the ferry was due to leave at 5 and not 7 like I thought. Plus I was booked on the ferry from Lerwick to Aberdeen and not Aberdeen to Lerwick which was a bit of problem seeing as I was in Aberdeen.
I pleaded with the ferry staff who very kindly boomed me on the ferry and squeezed the car in right at the back. If anyone saw a rather harassed dad squeezing a car into a weird little gap at the back of a ferry last week at about 4:55 last week. That was me.
Thus gave another interesting problem. We had booked a cabin so e kids could sleep but the cabins were full for this trip. My youngest began to panic as she is one of these types who needs to sleep. I went to reception on the ferry to see if I could even get sleeper seats. I ink the guy took pity on me and managed to find me a two person cabin. So we had a nice dinner where the food was basic but tasty, watched a film which was fun and settled everyone down and then slept in a two person cabin which was tight but we all got a sleep.
Off the ferry and we we shattered so went to my lovely little rental to catch up on some sleep.
Later that day we took the kids in to meet the teachers. They dived straight in and seemed very happy so we left them to settle in.
The kids seems to have settled in pretty well. The school is amazing. The staff are very friendly and have made the kids very welcome. School dinners sound so good I am jealous plus m eldest seems to be starting to learn the fiddle now.
I guess I will keep this blog running as we settle in to Shetland.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Moving Home is Expensive

Well this business of moving house is getting expensive and quickly.
As part of trying to sell my old house I quickly found out that my previous solicitor had made a fair mess of the conveyencing.

They had missed that the patio door had been installed without planning permission and I found that I had to go out and get a letter of comfort from building standards.

Now I did what any sane person would do and got annoyed at my previous solicitor and panicked that this was a disaster.
Once I calmed down a bit I contact building standards office who were a very nice and friendly lot.  They even gave me a step for a hint that I should install a step or it would fail before giving me a bewildering array of rules which a set of steps has to follow.  Oh and they charged me £250 for the privilege of them coming out to check the patio doors.

So I took this set of rules and set to work.  £100 of materials and a days work later I had nice set of steps (next owner of the house I hope you appreciate this) which followed to the letter every one of the rules.  For instance did you know the drop has to be between 100mm and 170mm (in ym area, local rules may vary).  Very reasonable but then each step has to be the same.  So the drop I was doing this meant I could either build two steps with 170mm drop or three with 113mm drop.  But steps (again in my area) have to be a minimum of 250mm across so three steps would stick out 75cm into the garden.  That felt like a lot so two steps it is.  Oh and there si some other weird rule about 2 times the drop plus one across has to be within a set range as well.  But my steps were a master piece in following the rules.  The guy came out, took one look, walked down them and said okay.  Not a hint of a tape measure or actually checking that the steps followed the precious rules.  I almost felt like demanding he go back and check how perfect they were.  At least that is done and once the leter comes in we are good to go.  Spoke to my current solicitor about seeing if I had any comeback against my previous solicitor for making such a mess of the conveyancing.  No was the short answer.  Yes but it would take ages and be spun out till you either got bored, fed up or died was the long answer.  So to sum up I have had to shell out an extra £350 that I was not expecting thanks to my previous solicitor not getting things right.  I have learned my lesson now though and will watch like a hawk what my current solicitor does which is a shame as they seem very on the ball.

Asides from that it has been relatively stress free :-)

Sunday, 3 July 2011

First an apology. I have not updated this in ages but then had a lot of other things on my mind. Finally feeling guilty so thought I should put a few bits and bobs on here.
First I found something truly irritating which if you are plan Ning on moving here you need to know. Many of the newer houses in Shetland are timber frame timber clad construction. Unfortunately with the current economic climate many of the major lenders have become more careful and as a result many of the big lenders WILL NOT lend on a timber frame timber clad house. This first came up when Nationwide first said they might and then changed there mind. After that I tried RBS who said they definitely do and then I got all the way through the application process only for them to realise they didn't. Very frustrating and a huge waste of my time. I assume the rules have changed recently or something because RBS definitely used to lend on timber frame timber clad houses. This is odd because timber frame timber clad houses are not a problem. They are in fact very normal across the rest of the world. It is only really he in the UK we are fixated on bricks and mortar. Anyway a long story short is that if you want to have a more full choice of house in Shetland check with your lender if they mortgage timber frame timber clad houses. This does not help if they make a mistake like RBS but you need to consider it. Quick tip if you are doing your own research. Go to a Google and search for your lender name and "for intermediaries". This let's you see the website that intermediaries use to do an application for you and allows you to look at all the rules the lender will use. They all have a bit that details construction types they will not lend on and are on the whole very clear.
Second I found that I am still clearing out stuff from my current house in preparation for the move. Another two full car loads of rubbish went from the loft yesterday. I cannot begin to guess how much junk we have chucked but it feels good to be getting clear of a lot of the stuff we have kept needlessly for years.
Third I found that this moving lark is stressful. The last week has been a whirlwind of chasing solicitors and mortgage lenders to try and get everything moving nice and quickly. Before you stress too much realise it does not move quickly regardless how much you want it to. Solicitors move on a different time frame than the rest of us.
Four I found that everything costs money. Your money and lots of it. You need a fair old store behind you before you start. All sorts of little fees crop up out of nowhere and if you can't pay everything does not move.

To sum up me, the wife and the kidsare all stressed out and I am chasing and kicking everyone in sight to try and get this move underway as quick as possible. Looking forward to the end but this is difficult right now.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

More house hunting

Well yesterday we saw another two houses and it was too of the more odd ones. One which makes good common sense as in right location and right price and another which looked to be an emotionally good house as in the sort of house you kind of dream of owning. What was weird was that seeing these two houses turned everything on its head.

The one that from the pictures in the advert and general locations seemed like a dream house fell short of what we were expecting. In fact my wife who was the biggest fan of this house seemed to like it the least of all the houses we went to see. It had two issues. One is that if anything it was slightly too big and the other is that despite feeling that I quite fancied rural living that was taking rural a bit too far for us. Which is a shame really as it is a lovely house and will make some family very happy I am sure, just not us.

The second house which is the very sensible option but did not seem to grab out attention on the pictures was the exact opposite. We walked in and liked pretty much everything we saw. My eldest daughter was getting so excited she was desperate to whisper to us that she thought this was the one.

Much deliberating and we have a plan of attack now. The 'sensible' house is also luckily the one that we all seem to like and we are going to try and get that one. I am currently trying to get my mortgage provider to play ball and then we will look to making an offer. But we have a backup as one of the houses we saw the day before was another very strong contender. Interestingly it was also the house from that day which we did not expect to like as much.

I hope the lawyers, mortgage lenders and everything line up soon. I cannot wait to move the wife and kids up here so we can start our life in Shetland properly.

Oh and the best bit was we went and had dinner in Frankies Fish and Chip shop in Brae. They make the best chips I have ever had and the scampi was amazing. Might have to visit that a few more times.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

House hunting begins

Well yesterday was interesting. We were looking at two properties which were within about half a mile of one another. Price wise they were pretty much identical as well. What was interesting was the very different prospects they provide.
The first house is beautifully decorated with a kitchen which is pretty well near perfection. Only thing is there is almost nothing you could do to that house and it is probably pretty much worth as much as it will ever be worth without a general rise in the Market.
The second house was slightly different. Ever so slightly bigger. Bedroom sizes similar but every room had built in wardrobes so they felt bigger. The downside is the kitchen needs doing as does the bathroom. Every room in the house needs a refresh at the least. But as a result of this the price is depressed for what the house offers. Plus it has a view to die for. I doubt I could ever get tired of that view.
We are going to see another two houses today and I am Hopi ng it all becomes a bit clearer.
Interesting things I noticed about houses in Shetland.
1: they love utility rooms which are a great idea and makes big kitchens feel even bigger
2: they love big kitchens
3: they do not seem to go for huge bedrooms and sacrifice space the fir bigger kitchens/living rooms
4: bathrooms tend to be big with separate showers
5: they love big garages and I do mean BIG garages.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Feeling Down

Well it could not all be a bed of roses could it.
I am now feeling ever so slightly depressed and generally scared by this relocating nonsense. I am here in Shetland right now in a lovely little rental property. The downside is that I am here without my wife and kids and I miss them dreadfully.
Plus I am beginning to get scared that I will not find a house to buy. Or rather a house to buy that I could afford to buy.
I am not asking for much. Just a simple house 3 bed within an easy commute of my work and close to a decent school for my kids. This is not looking to be as easy as it sounds.
The really scary thing is I have accepted my job here now so there is no going back. I guess I just have to hope it all works out for the best.

On the plus side I am loving being in Shetland. The scenery around my rental property is quite unlike anything I have ever seen before (in a good way).

Anyone got a house they fancy selling? :-)

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

First moves

Well I have not updated this for a while and this is going to be a longer update.
A lot has happened. First I am actually writing this from Shetland so in that respect my move is proving successful.
I managed to find a lovely little rental property with a grand total of about four days to spare.
That did nothing for my relaxed nature but it did manage to distract me from the sheer logistical nightmare of moving up here.
And that was just for me. What on earth is it going to be like when it is the full family and a house worth of stuff?
No that worry is for a later date.
Anyway I did manage to pack up relatively in advance of the move which is a first for me.
I had decided to travel up on the ferry and the drive up was uneventful.
This was my first time in the ferry and I have to say it was kind of fun.
Dinner on the ferry was basic but nice. The cabin was small but very comfortable and I managed to get a good sleep.
Enough of a sleep that I could work the full day when I got here.
Today then was a whirlwind of running to sign leases, pick up keys and unpack while trying to work.
So now I am trying to relax and plan ahead.
I miss my wife and kids. I can't wait to get them up here.
Now all I need to do is find a house.