Cassiefairy – My Thrifty Life

Cassiefairy's thrifty lifestyle blog – Saving money every day with DIY crafts, sewing projets, low-cost recipes & shppping tips

Why I didn’t buy my dream home

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You know when you have an idea of your perfect home in your mind – go on, picture yours now… You’d hope to one day be able to buy that house and move in with a perfect blush pink sofa and two fluffy cats, right? Or maybe that’s just me. But anyway, you know what style you like, the type of building you’d choose and the location you’d love. So why, when I was searching for a property to buy, didn’t I buy my dream house?

The dream cottage from House and Garden

It’s not as simple as ‘I couldn’t afford dolls-house-esque Georgian mansion I wanted”. I found plenty of beautiful homes within my budget (though I wanted to get a good deal, naturally – I’m a thrifty gal after all) but none of them quite came up to scratch. I wasn’t being picky – they we’re all homes that only two years ago I could never have dreamed of owning – but for a whole year, every house I viewed or came close to buying ended up not being ‘the one’. Here’s why:

It was too small. I quickly found out that the trouble with picturesque cottages is that they’re too small. I’ve stayed in SO many lovely holiday homes that are small but perfect-formed, so I thought that this was the style of house I wanted to buy. But when I started looking at them with the reality of actually living there, I realised it would be a struggle. The rooms in cottages are so cosy, but tiny. Even the windows were too small, meaning that most rooms were dark even in the midday sun – no good for a full-time blogger, eh?! I can’t even remember how many times my husband banged his head on the low beams! Sorry quaint holiday cottage, you’re not the house for me.

Beautiful home and garden by photographer Rachel Warne

The road was too close. A couple of the perfect cottages we looked at were just too close to the road. Some were main ‘A’ roads, while others were tiny village roads. Either way, the proximity of the road always seemed to cause a problem. It could be that there was no nearby parking, it was sometimes a noisy truck-route and in other places it was difficult to even get out of the driveway onto the main road. Sorry ‘excellent road links’ house, I won’t be parking in front of you.

It was listed. And even though this means the building is packed full of beautiful original features, gorgeous inglenook fireplaces and beamed ceilings, I didn’t want to take on this responsibility. As you know, I like to do a lot of DIY work myself and I couldn’t imagine being restricted by the listing requirements. The listings often covered things like the colour of the front door (that’s conservation areas for ya!), the style of windows (cold non-double glazed, for a start) and the roof tiles. Considering that I love to learn new skills and DIY as I go, it seemed unlikely that I’d want to stick to the listing restrictions and keep things exactly as they are. Sorry ancient house, you’re no home of mine.

The dream garden from Sequin Gardens

There was no garden. Okay, not true – they all had gardens. But the trouble was the tiny size of the garden. Or the overlooked nature of the garden. Or the neighbour who was sitting in their garden, which backed onto our kitchen window. Odd configurations of the plot was a big factor in the decision not to buy most of the houses we saw. Considering that we like to work in our garden and host gatherings around a BBQ it was important that we had a usable outdoor space. And even the most perfect ‘how does your garden grow’ plots were too small to put up a shed. Having space to build a workshop was one of our ‘essentials’ so that my artist husband and I can work together, so if there was no room for a sizable shed, we walked away. Sorry cottage garden, I won’t be mowing your lawn.

The good news is that, in the end, I actually DID buy my dream home. I just didn’t know that this house was what I was looking for when I started my property search. It’s about twice the size of any other houses we saw and has a garden that we can grow into. We can park easily and the no-through road rarely sees any traffic. Other houses in the area have been altered and updated without any problems with planning and I love that I can DIY everything myself. Hi happy home, I think I’d like to move in.

The moral of my story is to keep an open mind when house-hunting. After countless viewings, I said to my husband “let’s just look at ANYTHING within our budget” even if it doesn’t seem right. The very next day a square 1950s house came onto the market and I booked a viewing with this new ethos in mind. I very nearly cancelled that appointment a few times because I was sure this house wasn’t the right one for us. But when we arrived at the quiet location and walked up the long garden into a house with more rooms than we knew what to do with, I was so pleased that we’d given it a chance.

Good luck with your house hunting guys!

Author: Cassiefairy

Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in lifestyle promotion studies. She loves to 'get the look for less' so regularly shares thrifty fashion posts, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

6 thoughts on “Why I didn’t buy my dream home

  1. I loved reading this!! I now live with my boyfriend who bought his house before we even met, so I’ve never had the chance to buy my own home! I’d definitely have specific requirements though if we were ever going to move!! xx

    • Aw thanks Holly! Oooh you’ve got the fun of house hunting still to come in the future, you’ll have to let me know if you end up living somewhere you never even imagined living! 😉

  2. So glad you found the Right House, which over time will become your dream house.
    I had the same issues 40 years ago when moving out of London, I could not find the
    dream and so I looked at anything.
    I found a house built in 1900, lived in by builders family until I bought it, original condition
    except for added bath but still outside loo and surprisingly an orangery plus 120′ of South facing garden!
    For 35 years this house was everything and more, sadly widowhood and increasing ill
    health meant letting someone else enjoy it.
    Hope you get as much joy from your unexpected house as I did from mine.

    • Thanks so much, we are already so in love with our new home, it is quickly becoming the dream place to live 🙂 SO pleased you enjoyed your own dream home for so long 😀

  3. Good morning,
    We are looking for a new home at the moment and being …shall we say, of the older generation our idea of a dream home is slightly different to how it was years ago. I do remember reading in Homes and Gardens “there are no good reasons for buying an old house” a statement I have always remembered when house hunting. However I remember our first house with such fondness, I wish we had not sold it, but needs must. Built in 1912 and we were only the third owners it was in its original state apart from the fact that a central heating system had been put in. We grew out of it. This year they say it’s worth £600,000 we could not afford to buy it now!

    • Oh my goodness, that’s crazy prices! Glad you enjoyed living there for those years, I hope not to grow out of our house but who knows? Good luck with your house hunting, home the dream home comes along soon for you 😀

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