Wednesday, 26 September 2012

How do you value your home?

Our House circa 1880
You can put a value on a house, in fact you can put a value on most things but putting a value on your home is a little more difficult.
Having had the Estate Agent round finally on Monday I now know an awful lot more about my house and indeed my home than I knew before.
For example my house is a lot larger than I thought - by about 2,000 sq ft. That's twice the size of my flat in London and that was considered a large two bedroom apartment. In fact 2,000 sq ft is a modest sized house in most people's language and I didn't even realise!
We've sort of seeped into filling the place up. It wasn't deliberate, because when we first moved in we only lived in the middle bit; a walk-in kitchen, two downstairs rooms and a bedroom and a bathroom upstairs. Gradually over the years, as we reinstated the house from wreck to habitable living space, we opened more and more of it up and spread. We bought chairs and tables, beds and cupboards as we needed so we never actually noticed how much we accumulated but looking at it through the eyes of the Estate Agent it was brought home with a rather sickening thought - how the heck am I ever going to be able to downsize?
The enormity of just that thought almost paralysed me as I tripped down the stairs while showing the Estate Agent round. I hope he didn't see the fear in my eyes or noticed how I gabbled.
To relax myself I started to listen to what he had to say - he was frightfully upbeat and optimistic and when at the end we sat down and got to the nitty gritty I was pleasantly surprised. The estimated value was more than I feared though not as much as I had hoped.
Selling the house will be a matter of semantics as the valuation is not quite enough to make the decision easy though not as bad as to make a move an impossibility.
But selling the home is a far more difficult problem.
Our House 2003 when work had just started!
As I showed off the place I told the agent all about the history of the house, the things that we had found and found out,  the stories behind the baby's skeleton in wall, the crude letters etched on the window in my office, poor pussy the mummified cat, the pram in the attic, the WAG who built the vast and garish 'modern' extension around the time Henry VIII was having a fling with Anne Boleyn,  how a Barley Baron farmer decided he needed to keep up with the Joneses in 1800s and Georginified the lot only to go bankrupt and have to sell.
And all the time I was telling the stories and making jokes and pointing out the carvings and the wall painting and other silly little things that we discovered int eh last decade as we brought this place back to life I saw how we had become part of the tapestry of the history of the house - a small part.
I'd like to think a crucial part.
Our House 2009
I looked out the window and I saw my eldest as a baby sitting on the seat of the big bright yellow decrepit dumper truck we acquired to do all the work that needed to be done. I saw him pretending to drive with his too large baseball cap on his head,laughing uproariously and banging excitedly on the horn.
I saw the men and boys who all worked so hard to bring this place back from wreck to home like ghosts laughing and chatting in my minds eye. All those memories crowding, demanding attention. Begging me not to forget.
And I know that my head should rule my heart but this house is too much a part of who my family is for any decision to be easy.
We LIVE here.
I suspect we will become history here too.



7 comments:

Jude said...

I really feel for you - it's not a decision I would like to make - my heart would probably win. Houses like yours are the reason why I did an MA in the archaeology of standing buildings - absolutely fascinating.

Expat mum said...

I complain about the size of my house but the problem is that it's on four floors rather than just too big. I have no idea how we'd downsize though as we seem to use every room!

mrsnesbitt said...

last night we "moved" into the snug! Without doubt it is the best room in the house, small and compact! It was a dining room when we moved here, 21 years ago - it evolved! I know we use the word "evolved" an awful lot but that's just how it is. Other rooms we have engineered - and they remain "engineered" will they ever evolve? I wonder. Keep us posted on what you are looking at too - keep positive hun xxxx

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Gosh, your house is beautiful. I know what you mean about the downsizing. We're in the same boat. I think we'll be here for a long time yet but what on earth we'll do with all the furniture if we ever do move, I have no idea!

CJ x

janerowena said...

I had to send off all my large pieces of (inherited) furniture in a vast removal van to be auctioned off. That felt dreadful, because I felt so guilty for having parted with it all and it had been entrusted to me - but no-one else in the family could take it. Another large van-full went into storage, precious pieces were taken to friends who promised to care for them until we were settled, another van was split between two garages belonging to my brother in law and the final van went with us to a flat until we could find a house to buy. Even when we got to the (large) flat, we found we had grossly overestimated how much we could squeeze into it, and ended up having to buy a parking permit and using the garage as yet more storage. We moved again 10 months later into a smallish house (you don't get much for your money in Winchester) and had to begin the awful task of retrieving all of our worldly possessions from various places we had stashed it. We lost one entire garage-full because the roof leaked. Everything was mouldy and wet and ruined. Storage was expensive, and of course we found that nothing suited the house or would fit into it.

If I ever had to do the same thing again, I would only keep a sixth of what I owned, and be really ruthless. In fact I am pretty ruthless as a result of all that. When we moved here from Winchester I sent 20 carloads of stuff off to a charity organisation, all collected by a volunteer who came so often that he became a friend! As a result of all that happened, I am far less sentimental about possessions. Although behind the door to the dining-room is a rolled up turkish carpet that is too large for any room and I am scared to put it into the loft because of mice, yet I won't part with it!

My biggest regret? Having to leave behind the height charts on the walls. I know someone will have painted over my childrens' heights by now, but it's quite nice knowing that they, and the handprints set in a concreted area, will stay. Even if no-one can see them.

Tattie Weasle said...

Jude - it is a fascinating house but all the mroe so becauee I had to learn all about it!
Expat Mum - My Mum frequently tells me to burn her in a pyre of all her posessions becasue she says I'll get so bored sorting it out otherwise!
Mrs Nesbitt - much prefer the evolution process!
CJ - It is beautiful thank you. Have feeling no decision will be made unless they are forced on us!
Janerownea - I know I shouldn't get sentimental but I do then it all just gets on top of me. We have a policy of never saying no because we know we'lll only regret it if we do. Luckily we have large watertight barns!

Annie @ knitsofacto said...

A home is a home, even a little hovel like mine would be hard to leave. We need to downsize too ... tent anyone! (With whippet annex of course ;) )

Go on you know you want to...

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