Sit down and grab a cup of tea as this is going to be a long one…
Way back when, in the early days of our relansionship, Dan and myself discovered Bournemouth in Dorset on the south coast of England. I had previously been there once before at night to a Smash Hits Tour Party concert (for those unfamiliar- it was a pop concert back in the late 90’s by the classic Smash Hits magazine- anyway I digress).
Oh I do like to be beside the seaside!
Bournemouth in Bloom
I can’t remember how Dan and myself a number of years later came to be in Bournemouth, but all I know is we really liked it. The beach was a delight to discover as it has no stones! Unlike the beach we lived right by at the time, which had too many stones. There was pretty gardens to walk through and for me, lot’s of fab shops (even if Zara, H&M and Primark were in the process of being built!). What we also loved was the chilled out vibe that Bournemouth offers.
Yes there are regular stag and hen do’s. And yes there are lot’s of holiday makes, much like ourselves. But despite that Bournemouth felt liked it had a relaxed pace about it.
I recall one weekend Dan and myself went to London as we were invited to a launch party of one of Playstation’s Singstar games (we love!) and we stayed in London for the night and did a bit of mooching around whilst we were there. And it was so busy. All the commotion of so many people was something I personally did not fell comfortable with.
We had then planned to head to Bournemouth for the remainder of the weekend and I can recall vividly being on the train down towards the coast and an air of calmness and a sense of weight came of my shoulders as we edged closer to Bournemouth. We were heading away from the hive of activity that is the capital city and towards where I felt was quietness, space and a slower more comfortable setting.
So after staying in Bournemouth and being pleasantly surprised at how it suited both myself and Dan’s needs, we took to visiting and staying there at least once or twice every year over the last decade or so. I will add I do not have rose tinted spectacles on. Just for Dan and myself who both (for different reasons) do not like places too busy, frantic and noisy, we felt we found somewhere we could enjoy visiting time and time again.
We are also so accustomed to living by the beach. I have lived my life so far only being a maximum of 6 miles from the coast. Dan is pretty much the same. I couldn’t imagine living any further inland personally.
Even when I lived in Bognor Regis and I used to get frustrated with the lack of innovation and development of the town it’s self, it’s saving grace (stones or no stones) is the beach.
When I lived right opposite the beach I used to be so thankful that I could step out and visit it any time I liked when I was home. I would often muse that only a small proportion of the country could do that too.
Anyway Dan and myself have often spoken about wanting to move to Bournemouth. Why not? It’s got the lifestyle and amenities that suit us so well. And the cost of living is slightly cheaper than Chichester (the rent is not cheap- Chichester is renown for it’s expensive properties).
Bournemouth offers more affordable renting costs and the buses are much more cheaper and regular that in our current place in the world.
My dream would be a house overlooking the sea, but short of coming into some money that is way off for us. A house in Sandbanks? I wouldn’t say no!
So that brings us back to present times. Dan and myself sign a 6 monthly renting contract with our current letting agents to stay on in our current flat for the next 6 months. If we decide to leave before the current 6 month contract expires than we have to continue paying the rent on this flat until a new tenant moves in or pay till the end of the 6 month contract. Crazy! Don’t get me started on Letting Agents, that’s a whole another post in itself!
With that it mind, we got to thinking recently. What if we moved to Bournemouth to time in with the end of our current rental contract? Yes, I’d be making a big step for me, moving away from my comfort zone of what I know and moving further away from my family. But it’s somewhere we want to end up.
Dan was well up for it as was I. A new place to get to make my own with my love of homeware and have a great city to live in that we love. To do this though I needed a job. Dan is self employed and works from home, mostly online with courses, writing books and doing YouTube. So he can easily relocate his job to wherever there is internet.
Me- I don’t have that luxury yet so I need to find a job to bring home the bacon as it were! Luckily enough there is another branch of the company I work for near Bournemouth. Unfortunately they do not do branch transfers, so I had to apply for a position a level lower than the one I am currently in, as there was no vacancies to match my current one.
Dan and myself went over to Bournemouth one weekday earlier in July and I attended an interview and assessment. I then found out a few days later to expect an offer to come through. Result! Job secured, now just need to find a place to live!
If only live was that simple! The job offered to me was not in the department that was discussed in the interview, but another department that I didn’t feel so ofay with. Then the pay was not suitable either. Basically doing my sums on the hours and pay offered meant that we would have to down size to a one bedroom flat. (Hardly any houses for rent in the area- at least in our price bracket anyway). We really do need two bedrooms at least so Dan can have a home office.
So it was a real deciding moment for me. Take the job that isn’t ideal, spend a few thousand pounds of Dan’s savings to move and pay for all the rental checks to move into a smaller property? Though at least we would be in the area we want to be in. Or stay out for now, save our pennies and move when it would be more suitable?
Some would say do the former- jump in and take the opportunity as it’s there. I have a habit of playing it safe and comfortable and not seizing the day as it were. So after much deliberation and changing my mind often, I finally decided it didn’t feel right taking a job offer that wasn’t what I really wanted (I am aware that I am grateful I had the luxury to decline it as it could be that is the best I’m going to get!) and to hang fire and move when it would hopefully be a better opportunity.
I’m not naïve and I know that there may not ever be a better time to move. Life is never really that convenient. But for me I felt we were rushing into it, taking the only option that as available to us and I didn’t want to do something I might later regret. (Equally could be said the same as I haven’t taken it- time will tell!).
Decision made to stay put when then got to thinking that as we plan on staying in Chichester for the foreseeable future (until we can make a move to Bournemouth more suitable) why don’t we look at finding somewhere to live that suits our current needs more?
Like a house, with a garden (perhaps event a cat!), maybe an additional room, so I can have an office space as can Dan. That set us scouring Right Move and Zoopla to hunt out what is available in our local area.
We soon realised that most, if not all houses are higher than our current rent (which is quite high as it is), but if there was a house that was worth the rent increase we would want to go for it.
We looked at the photo’s of the houses that matched our requirements online and Dan then set up some viewings for the day just been.
We had three properties at the top of the city to view. From the photo’s we had ranked them as the good, the bad and the ugly!
Dan had decided to scope out the houses before hand to have a look at what they are like on the outside. There was one three bed property that we thought, despite looking a bit basic in the photo’s had potential. So Dan went and checked out the house and one evening after work I went and had a look too.
There is an old stone wall running around the perimeter of Chichester, which you can walk along most of it. The northern part of the wall has a raised footpath on top of an embankment, which allows you views into the houses and gardens that also run along the perimeter of the city walls.
This gave us the perfect view into this properties garden. And most the gardens to the houses are well kept and used, but this was the one garden that was completely overgrown and as such in accessible as a garden. Great start!
The house is terraced and the front of the house has a pavement outside. The building has bay windows which I like, but there was a big crack in the front ground window, with weather beaten and chipped paint on the window seals. Overall the house had zero curb appeal. I don’t want to come across as a house snob, as a house is a house and there are those would see a roof over their head as nothing to be sniffed at. But when you are spending a fare amount on rent, you want your monies worth and this appeared to be vastly over priced for the state it was in.
The other two properties from the photo’s looked like they had better potential. Only two bedrooms, but we hoped they might be big enough to make it work for us.
We viewed all three properties (in the pouring rain) and long and short of it, none were suitable.
The first property was nice enough, but too small. Dan with his books, amassing well over 1,500 I would imagine, really need a room of their own. And this property just did not offer us space for them, or much of our furniture.
The second property was the house of disrepair and after speaking to one of the tenants who was not aware we were visiting, we had a very brief look around. There was damp under the window sill in the middle ground floor room, a rotting bottom of a shower and a dank and not homely feel to the property. We didn’t stay in the property for long. I just hope the current tenants are moving to a better place and landlord sorts out the house. It needs some much needed TLC.
The final property I had higher hopes for as the pictures online made it look quite smart and modern.
This house was only a few houses along and from the front door you walk into a small but adequate kitchen, following on into a similar size lounge. The benefit to this property is it had a conservatory. Dan loves the idea of sitting in a conservatory whilst it’s raining and chilling out in there. He certainty got to put his theory into practise what with all the rain. There was also a narrow but useable court yard/garden.
Upstairs was small bathroom and two small bedrooms. Whilst the house was inherently in good order, the photo’s online made it look more upmarket than it was.
Again this house was too small so we asked the letting agent to keep us posted with any other properties that come on the market.
So after a wet afternoon house hunting, we went home and had another look online for any other properties that might be suitable. And that is where we are up to at the moment. We hope to view some more houses on my next day off this week. But failing that we may have to stay put for now as we can’t look for too long because we will be expected to sign a new contract for our current flat I’m sure within the next few weeks.
The last few weeks have been a bit manic with this going on. Didn’t quite know if I was coming or going. It’s also a bit of a come down as I was so excited at the thought of being able to move to Bournemouth so soon. But hopefully we will at some point!
If you take anything away from this post I’d like the morals of it to be:
Be grateful for what you have, life isn’t always greener on the other side.
Life rarely goes the way you expect it- ‘The best things are never arrived at in haste’, a quote I like.
And never trust the photo’s of properties you see for sale/rent, seeing is believing!
Thank you for reading this rather long post and I’ll be sure to keep you updated with the house hunt!
Love and hugs,