Welcome to Part 2 of “Shall We Move to Scotland?”
So, those of you who tuned in Yesterday, heard the start of the story….
For those who didn’t, in a nutshell – watched a TV programme, got an idea to move North, found a property, viewed it, loved it, lost it…..so now for the rest of the story…..
When Roo came home from his time away, we took more time to discuss what we should do. We had already got an offer on our place but we also knew that we could, if we wanted to, pull out of the Devon Sale before Contract Exchange. I was in a quandry.
So I reverted back to social media and drew a 20 mile radius circle centred on Dalavich. The roads in Scotland, for anyone who has not been, are not the best – and Dalavich is on a logging truck road maintained (if that’s what you can call it!) by The Forestry Commission. So 20 miles can easily take 45 – 60 minutes to navigate.
This circle threw up towns and villages like Kilchrenan, Taynuilt, Ford, Kilmartin, Kilmichael Glassary, Cairnbaan, Lochgilphead and Ardrishaig. We had no idea about any of them, so we knew we had to go do another visit and check it out. In total I found 39 properties for sale. Now hands up who knows how the Scottish purchasing system works…..certainly not me!! I knew it was different but not how much!! So here is your crash course.
You find a property you like in Scotland, you arrange your mortgage and you instruct a solicitor to work on your behalf. The Solicitor checks your mortgage and writes a formal offer to the vendor’s Estate Agents. The Estate Agents accept the offer – you are now legally tied into that contract. Once legally bound, all the searches and such like take place. And here’s the great bit….the Vendor is responsible for commissioning a homebuyers report (who remembers HIP packs?). These are really really comprehensive.
BUT if you are going to be a cash buyer (as we were), it gets all sorts of complicated. In a nutshell, we could not make a formal offer on a property until our sale EXCHANGED. In England, you don’t exchange until all the questions have been answered and all the searched done. So it’s a nailbiter for us wading through the questions and waiting, waiting, waiting for exchange.
So I’ve got my 39 properties – I then write to the Estate Agents asking for the homebuyers reports. It took me nearly a week to read them all. They really helped me to thin down my choices. I ended up with 17 that I wanted to see, with 5 different estate agents! I was flying up to Dalavich in May for a conference anyway, so Roo added a ticket and we made it a 5 day break. The Estate Agents were marvellous fitting in and around each other. We arranged to view 8 properties on the Friday, 5 on Sunday and 4 on Monday…..
Most of Friday’s viewings were a wipe out – 1 had Great downstairs layout, rubbish bedrooms with no scope to change them. 2 were just too small and overlooked. 1 had a marvellous kitchen (the owner was a cook) but they ripped up all the upstairs floor covering and it was floorboards!! 1 was cancelled before we went as we didnt like the area and 1 went on the shortlist! and 1 freaked me out at the amount of work that was needed. But it was at this final house that our story started to get interesting.
This was the 3rd viewing with that estate agent, and it was the last of the day, 5pm. We rock up at this bungalow on an estate of bungalows and look at the unkempt garden with some dismay. Indoors was no better – it was a total renovation project. Turns out the lady that owned this bungalow had passed on and her relatives live overseas. As we stood taking in the initial view, this gorgeous sandy coloured cat miaowed its way down to us. We bent to stroke it and the estate agent, Gavin, said “Ach, that’s Bodie! Go Along Home with you now Bodie!” Jokingly I said “Where’s Doyle?”
Now those young ones among you will not get this reference at all – I can see you scratching your heads going Bodie? Doyle? What is she talking about – If I threw in the name Cowley, that would probably not help you either, so let me put you out of your misery. Back in the late 70s through to the mid-80s there was an Action Series called The Professionals. It starred Martin Shaw as Doyle and Lewis Collins as Bodie – they were the secret service secret weapons and always got the bad guys – this was essential Saturday night viewing in our house. A story for another day is my meeting and ever so short dalliance with Mr Lewis Collins ….. but I will keep you in suspense for that one.
Back to the house hunt – so Gavin has named the cats and we asked how he knew them – turns out they were his – he lived across the road… and as I turned to look at his house, I noticed that his company were marketing the bungalow next door. I was confused – it was not on my list!! I had not seen this property – WHY HAD I NOT SEEN THIS PROPERTY….. Gavin was as confused as I was and said that it fell well within my price parameters. I asked him to arrange a viewing. He told me it would have to be Monday – “Yes” I said “Quite Right – we fly home on Tuesday”. Gavin said he’d let us know what time we could view it.
So there was nothing left to be done. A few feedbacks to estate agents on the properties seen, a shortlist forming and I had to prepare for the conference in Glasgow. Friday had been a long day.
I’ll tell you what happened over the rest of the weekend in the next installment……