I never expected moving house to be easy – I have done it a lot in my lifetime and know that it can be hard work. You need to start weeks in advance of your moving date to just about get everything done and even then there will always be something that crops up right at the end meaning that it won’t ever be as smooth as you hope it will be. We actually sold our house in February and then heard nothing. There was total radio silence for weeks and weeks with the odd bit of paperwork coming through the post. Eventually in April a survey was done and when speaking to the solicitors were told it would be twelve weeks from then or there abouts, so we decided to wait a week or two before looking for a property as we would be renting and the majority of landlords and agents wouldn’t want to wait that long for us to move. We started putting a few bits in boxes with very little effort as we didn’t want to be living in boxes for too long. The plan was to get to 6-8 weeks until the moving date and then it would be everyone to battle stations for packing and finding somewhere to live. Then it all went to hell thanks to a single phone call…
Mum and I were sat there enjoying a morning coffee, Alyssa had gone down for a nap so it was nice and peaceful and the telephone rang. It was the solicitors and after all those months of them dilly dallying around, someone had suddenly lit a fire under them and they wanted us to move out… NEXT WEEK! My mum spoke to them rather rapidly and managed to negotiate two weeks but that meant we needed to pack an entire 10 room house, plus outside living cabin and double garage, clean, move it all and find somewhere to rent in just two weeks and NOT the ten weeks we thought we had. I believe our exact response was OH SHIT!
Our first priority had to be finding somewhere to live and we spent hours trawling through lettings sites and set up so many appointments that we had to start writing it all down as one house was rolling into another and another. We managed to book 2 days worth of viewings back to back which would involve practically driving back and forth across three counties each day. I have to say from the outset we were not impressed with the estate agents – they either didn’t call you back, didn’t email or were never in the office, so making the appointments themselves was hard enough to begin with.
The first day of property viewings we were booked to see 5 different houses… we only saw 2! Why?! On route to the first we got a phone call saying we couldn’t see it because they hadn’t cleared it with the tenants who it turned out were not prepared to let us in that day. Another house we turned up to and sat waiting, phoned the main office and were given the mobile number for their location agent. Rang him… turns out he’s abroad on holiday somewhere and that the property we want to see went off the market THREE weeks before – cheers purple bricks, I mean how do you not even know when your own property is no longer on the market and your agent is away on holiday!! Finally the last one we didn’t get to see was because the people who had seen it earlier in the day had decided to take it – grrrr!
However, it didn’t matter because one house we had seen that morning had been perfect. An old school style farmhouse with big rooms that were light and a lovely garden that looked out onto fields with sheep and cows in – perfect for any little girl to grow up in. We were assured by the letting agent that the landlord would love us and we began filling in the referencing paperwork ready to go. We then received another dreaded phone call – due to the fact the previous tenant had 4 boys ages 5 – 14 in the house and from the landlords perspective had completely destroyed the place, they were no longer accepting children. For a large 3 bedroom house. WTF?! Heartbroken doesn’t even cover it. We tried to explain that a singular 1 year old little girl was very different but the landlord wasn’t budging.
We began looking again and reading the details of properties very carefully and started to notice a horrendous trend on some of the property listings… “Children by Negotiation.” “No Children Allowed.” When we rang about properties one of the first things we were asked were “Do you have any children?” To which obviously we replied yes and in lot of cases were quickly rebuffed. It appears that having children these days is even worse that having pets?! What on earth is wrong with my daughter?!
I know that I shouldn’t take it personally but I did, I mean how can you not?! Someone doesn’t want you to have a home because of your child. Surely that is what security deposits are for? In some cases we even offered to pay a higher deposit in order to secure the property but they weren’t budging and it really and truly was heartbreaking. I felt like I was failing at one of the fundamental parts of parenthood – providing my daughter with a safe and secure home. What on earth were we to do?
A week or so before we were due to move, at home packing boxes that currently had no destination, we received a phone call from a letting agent who’d been away on holiday to say we’d been offered a property. The manager of Symonds and Sampson was very nice and said she was going to push it through for us so we’d have somewhere to move to in a weeks time. We were nervous about getting excited because by now we had lost 3 properties, but when the referencing forms finally went through, the agent told us we should get excited as there was literally the contract left to sign and we’d be in. 24 hours before we moved in, we received a call from the lettings manager. She sounded very different. No longer friendly. No longer understanding. By the end of our communications down right rude in fact. Who knows why, but maybe she felt bad about delivering our final and most fatal blow…