Don't get too emotionally invested in a property, before they've even accepted your offer - Gaby Soutar
What’s meant for you won’t pass you by, they say. I’m not sure I believe that, as I should’ve been on my way to moving house. After a couple of weeks of wondering if we were ready, we put in a cheeky low offer on our dream flat. It’d been on the market for about a year, so we smugly thought it was ours for the taking.
For a few days, I neurotically checked my phone every eight minutes, until we got the verdict. It was a no. We upped the amount a bit, hoping they’d meet us in the middle. Their estate agent got back to us, again at snail speed, about a week later. Again a nope. And repeat. My nerves were frayed.
In the end, we were rejected because we hadn’t sold our property. They said they could be open to a future conversation, if we could find a chain-free buyer. I wonder what else they’d like – the golden ticket, winning lottery numbers, a rare Pokemon card?
It seems they weren’t in as much of a hurry as we imagined. We’d reached an impasse, since we’re not willing to stick our flat on the market while everyone is distracted by the festive season.
Along with a bit of relief, there was disappointment. While they were deciding to reject our offer, in my head, I’d already moved into their house
I can never keep my powder dry. In this case, I’d gone slightly bonkers.
Before the decision to go ahead, there was a bit of a crisis about moving out of Edinburgh. I don’t know how to live anywhere else. I’m saturated by l’eau de Auld Reekie down to my bone marrow. I’m familiar with every cobble and vennel, wynd and turret. I thank bus drivers, use the word “shan” and have salt and sauce on my fish supper. I know where Goldbergs once stood, and Casey’s sweet shop. Who would I even be if I didn’t live here?
Still, the property in the Capital is too pricey, and I do crave more greenery. I’m about ready for a change.
Despite that, I hadn’t anticipated the emotions that would surface. There was a sense that staying put allowed me to somehow hold onto stuff that I didn’t want to let go, like my late dad. It’d be strange moving somewhere that he could never see.
It’s as if being in the city where I grew up is my picture of Dorian Gray, except the trick only works in my imagination.
I also felt it was a failure to leave, like you win a best citizen prize for living in the same place forever. They’re not going to give me the keys to Edinburgh Castle on my 100th birthday.
It didn’t help when we started sorting the flat out. We had to put feckless weekends aside, in order to tidy, paint and de-clutter, in anticipation of potentially having to get the place on the market quickly.
We began unearthing sentimental treasures. While in Swedish death cleansing mode, we ruthlessly filled the recycling bins with old birthday cards and love letters. I got rid of 12 pairs of shoes. I even started to sort my sock drawer, but gave up halfway through. There were more singletons than Tinder.
The neglected back garden had to be threshed. An ivy was suffocating the apple tree and everything else around it. I spent an afternoon wrestling it back, using my dad’s old saw, and feeling simultaneously triumphant and guilty. It was like conquering the Kraken.
My husband and I argued about whether, when we did viewings, we should take down a painting that his auntie did while at art school. It’s a bit Gothic, and not to everyone’s taste. Creepy doesn’t sell flats. I said yes, hide it, he said no, leave it on the wall. We never reached a resolution.
Then there was worrying about other practical stuff. The future commute, for instance, though I tested it out a couple of times, and it was easier than I’d imagined. I would be able to return to the city for restaurant reviews, meeting pals and the occasional office visit.
Then, to counter the increasingly overwhelming stressy stuff that was beginning to make the move less appealing, I focused on the positives.
I worked out where our bed would go, to take advantage of the leafy views.
At last, my dressing table would be in a good spot, and I’d have a proper desk, near natural light. Thus, my eyeliner AND grammar would improve simultaneously.
At random times, we started asking ourselves: “What would we be doing now, if we lived in the new flat?” and it was always something nice, like eating strudel by the fireplace, rather than Hoovering.
After the most recent “no”, we were fizzing. All those weeks of emotional investment and cleaning, for nothing. It felt as if we’d been catfished, but that’s what happens, when you get ahead of yourself. Despite that, I no longer care. I’m happy to avoid the rigmarole. I’m letting the ivy slowly creep back, so the tree can have a leafy polo neck for winter, and ordering extra sauce on my chips. They can keep their lovely double upper that nobody else wants.
We are happily sitting tight. Mind you, the fact that I check the listing twice a day, to make sure it remains on the market, might tell a slightly different story.
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