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Boxes, Brexit, business and a lot of bottle!  – Our painstaking family journey through a hellish property market!

Moving house.  How was it for you?  We all say never again.  I did last time but I mean it THIS TIME!!   3 on and off years of selling, 3 houses in 1 year, new schools and the juggle of a new business.

Our journey began in the early summer of 2015 – we had talked about moving for a while; wanted something more rural as we didn’t need the town on our doorstep. Our daughter knew which Secondary School she was going to and we had an idea where our son may go in two years time so decided to take the plunge.  We went on the market in June – filled with a sense of hope as most people do.  However I feel we had already left it too late. The schools were breaking up soon and all but the desperate buyers seemed to disappear.

Once September hit, the weather was turning and minds turned to Christmas. Stamp duty was fairly high in our bracket, people weren’t committing quickly. Preparing for viewings was exhausting and as they became more sporadic, we realised this wasn’t going to be straightforward. Flowers stopped being bought before viewings and bread stopped being baked ( yes, the last one was a joke 😉 )

By the Spring of 2016 with the Brexit Referendum fast approaching we made the decision to come off the market. Buyers were cautious. We were seeing places we liked but were obviously not in a position to make any progress on them. Frustrating though it was, we took the house off the market and decided we had to be patient.

My photography business was starting to grow.  I was running outdoor photography sessions alongside studio style which I set up from my lounge and that is how we lived until eventually we moved out.  We watched TV amongst lightstands and photography cupboards heaving with props and every time a new client was due I would have to evacuate my children and CLEAN and tidy from scratch again. It was tiring and having a negative impact on my desire to do studio work. It was also having a negative impact on my family who were starting to resent my work.

 

By February 2017 we decided to try again. My son had gained several places to go to school but we knew that the place that would be right for him would not be commutable from our current town.  Our original motivations to move still stood and now I had the business as well fighting for a little separate studio of its own.

However, we were not returning to a market that was any easier and it seemed uncertainty kept on coming with Brexit about to be triggered, and later elections and political instability. Prices in our range were dropping and we were seeing our hard earned savings disappearing as we too slowly had to come down. Our agent this time round (details below) was fantastic, giving us carefully considered advice so we made sensible not rash, yet realistic decisions in the light of the current climate and our own situation.

It is not easy living in limbo.  We had to keep the house well maintained, and things always fail or break when you least want them to. Yet on the other hand it wasn’t right to start putting picture holes in beautiful wall paper when we knew we would be leaving soon.  Our problems were 1 st world ones but in our heads we had moved out a long time ago and it wasn’t easy especially as I suffer with anxiety dealing with not having a place to properly call home.  Little did we know things were going to get harder.

By the summer of 2017 despite having second viewings, the uncertainty in the market was rife with interest rates rises on the horizon and the continued political and European issues.   We had to cut our losses and move out into rented whilst we continued to sell to enable our children to commute to school.

Not only did this hit us hard financially, but we were travelling home on a regular basis to get the house ready for viewings.  We’d stay over at weekends in our “old” home as it was difficult to swing a cat in our rental and we had a cat and a dog !! Fitting our belongings into the rental was like trying to put my foot in a size 3 shoe!  I was getting blisters.  We had to have a lot of bottle to keep on going and to try to keep our chins up through what felt an extremely wearing time.

I was now juggling a business between two areas and I couldn’t use my rental for studio work as it was too small. This took its toll on all of us, even more so as I was turning down enquiries. I put a brave face on and worked where I could with a smile on my face.

I am not one for wanting the world. My anxiety leads me to a place that feels I shouldn’t have what I achieve or work for but creating stability around me does help to get me through. I run a business that creates memories and yet day in day out we were unsettled in our own lives.  We weren’t even allowed to put a photograph on the wall in our rented. The kids were in new schools and we knew nobody. It felt like we were starting from scratch at 45.  The business ticked over but mainly back in my own town and the commuting back home was taking its toll.

It helped us to get away so we took a little holiday in half term. The sun shone and that always makes me feel better. This period led to me growing patience in bucket loads.

By Christmas 2017 we had a buyer!! Then it fell through…….

So we began in 2018 all over again.  Luckily we acquired another lovely buyer quickly who was keen to move fast. But our problems weren’t over as we now had nowhere to buy!  The properties up for sale in the areas we were looking for were sparse. We had seen two houses we liked but lost them both in the meantime when our original buyer fell away.  Week and week would go by and no new properties that were suitable would pop up.  And so it ran that by March there was a rather complicated move out of our family home fully into our current rented property with half of our bits going into storage.  We wondered when we’d ever see these belongings again.

 

But here we are in July with a completion of the end of the month.  We have found somewhere and it was worth waiting for. Just a couple more weeks of yet another move this year, just a few more ( ok a lot more) boxes to trail their way from their various hiding places and we will be done. Finally I may be able to find something.

We have not endured our house flooding, or the death of a family member or a serious illness like a variety of our friends and family have this year. We are still whole and we must keep things in perspective.  We are all tired and yes still anxious, but we have got there. I will have a studio in my garden and some beautiful countryside around me to shoot in. There is room for a second pup who is arriving when we move and we have the Victorian place we dreamed of with so much history it was worth staying strong for.

I do hope you visit us in Dormans Park, West Sussex. We will be on the borders of Kent and Surrey and just 20 mins or so from the M25.  Map on the website under Where to find me

Oh and the agents we used in Tunbridge Wells were Jackson Stops who deserve a shout out here for their dedication and wisdom. I cannot recommend them highly enough. 

Nic is a portrait photographer at Nic Bisseker Photography.  Her passions are dog, children and family photography.

Dog Photographer Kent, Sussex, Surrey

Children’s Photographer Kent, Sussex and Surrey.

Family Photographer Kent, Sussex and Surrey.