A Tale of Two Houses… Part 2

Welcome back for Part 2 of Jess’s Real Renovation and the tale of two houses. If you missed part one, make sure you go back and read that first as it’s a real cliffhanger and a great story. Plus it’s setting the scene for all of Jess’s posts to come – sharing the ups and downs of a house renovation, from pointing to painting and pretty.

My partner saw the look on my face and I think it was only then that he realised how much I wanted that house. It was probably only then that I realised how much I wanted it. It wasn’t rational, it wasn’t the sensible option to buy that house. We both have busy day jobs and aren’t very good at DIY, and it wasn’t the most financially sound option either, there was probably 15-20k of work to do on the house. But I had fallen for it, and now I had lost it.

The next week was fraught, as we tried to get the estate agent back on our side. We went back to our original offer. We were ready to sign contracts, so we put forward our best case for selling the house to us instead of the new buyers. But the vendor kept us hanging for days, so long in fact that the surveyors for the other buyers were phoning the estate agents to book a time to do their own survey of the house. This was crazy, to have another buyer pay for a survey if he wasn’t actually going to sell it to them. So the estate agent had to push the vendor to make a decision on who exactly he was going to sell to. In the end he re-accepted our offer, as I think he wanted to complete the sale as quickly as possible. If that were all a game (and I suppose in a way it is), I think we had just been out maneuvered at every turn. But did we win or did we lose? Well, we got the house…

I never thought buying a house would be so emotional, and when everyone told me it was one of the most stressful things I would ever do, I didn’t really understand what they meant. Unfortunately the buying process for us was anything but a smooth ride, and so I now know exactly what they were talking about. At times we thought we would have to walk away from the whole thing, and if we had, I am pretty sure the house hunting would’ve gone on hold for several months until we had recovered from the stress of it all. We were totally drained and utterly fed up if the whole thing.

When we finally got the keys to our house, it had been months since we had actually been inside it. In those months it was as if we had fallen out of love with it for putting us through all that. But crazy as it may sound, I knew it wasn’t the house itself that was to blame, and we couldn’t hold a grudge against it. So I don’t regret for one second our decision, and now, after just four months in our new (but over a century old) house, we are gradually putting back the character, the features, and hopefully the love that it deserves in order to make it a fabulous home.

I’m really excited about my new home and garden (hopefully more on the garden in future posts too), and over the coming months I hope to share with you some of the ideas and projects that we take on, and more importantly I hope you enjoy reading about them.

Oh and if you’re wondering what ever happened to the house across the road? Well, in the middle of all the turmoil with our house, a sold sign went up on that one too. A month or so ago we saw the removal vans outside and I’m sure the new owners are happily enjoying their evenings and weekends relaxing without builders, brick dust, cold drafts and rickety stairs! Good luck to them, they are obviously very sensible people!


I saw Jess through every last phone call (or it felt like it at the time 😉 ) of this purchase and I had my heart in my mouth reading this account of all the heartache. It’s such a stressful time buying a house and often the decisions we make aren’t that rational, heart wins over head, but I’m so happy she got the one they wanted!

I can’t wait to see what else Jess has in store for you all.

Have you had a similar experience to Jess? Do tell!


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9 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Houses… Part 2

  1. Oh thank God you got it! I actually squeaked when I came onto the FF homepage and saw part 2 of your story! Congratulations for sticking with your dream house and getting it in the end, it was obviously worth it.

    We had a bit of a scrappy do with our abode, it needed works doing and the builders who were selling (it had been a part exchange property in another life) werent giving us an allowance for the works but we dug our heels in and at the 11th hour they gave in. This was a Wed and we completed that Fri!! Was it worth it? Hells yes!


  2. Jess I completely admire your courage for going for the house you loved albeit needing to spend more time, money and effort on it. I’m sure when you’ve finished it’ll look fabulous and you’ll probably love the DIY!!

    My husband and I decided to buy a new build to avoid the stress, money and extra effort. This was our first house together and so we had to buy absolutely everything so DIY was not financially viable. I do love our house and the fact that no-one else has ever lived there etc, however, I plan to buy a shell, a really really old victorian shell the next time round and start from scratch!! Can’t Wait! Looking forward to hearing more!!


  3. I was on tenterhooks after part 1, so glad you got the house!

    I agree with all the stress, our vendor refused to take it off the market until we exchanged contracts as he was obviously holding out for a better offer. Every day I walked past it wanting to rip down the For Sale sign, my poor boyfriend was on the phone to the solicitors all day making everything go as quickly as possible. But…it’s all worth it when you get the keys (until we realised we were sitting in an empty rather run down house and went to go get champagne instead!) and even more worth it when it’s all done. (Our house is almost identical to yours actually!)

    Where is the house? We got some new double glazed sash windows by a guy in SE London that was loads cheaper than the big companies we first looked at so if you’re nearby I’ll find out the details. We couldn’t afford to get them all replaced though but with thick curtains it’s really not so bad.

  4. Buying (and then owning) a property is so stressful it makes me wonder why it’s seen so much as the be all and end all. Having said that we’re looking at doing it all over again next year.

    Katie – could you send me the details of the window guy? We need ours doing and we’re in SE London. x

  5. The light in that house looks absolutely AMAZING Jess…. is it strange that I think it has a good *feel* to it even over the internet? I think you were right to stick to your guns and get it – I’m sure it will all be worth it in the end. x

  6. We buy for business rather than pleasure so thankfully we don’t have to deal with the emotional wranglings. When it comes to our ‘ultimate house’ I know we’ll both be in an absolute flap!

    Still, one day, that cheese room within the kitchen will be mine. Mwahahahahha!

    I know this is an old post, but i’ve just found you 🙂
    My boyfriend and I are buying our first house at the moment and even though it’s going quite smoothly, it’s SO stressful!
    I’m loving the inspiration i’m getting from your blog and if my house turns out half as lovely as yours, i’ll be a lucky girl 🙂

    I’ve spent a good hour reading through your posts, I think another hour will fulfill my love of your blog for today 🙂


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