A long time ago (about 15 years) in a county not so far away I met and married my wife. Soon after we had a couple of kids and started thinking about our future.
When I was a teenager my parents moved us abroad and built their own house and I think that sowed the seed for me as it seems that I've always wanted to build my own house and would sit down and watch Grand Designs back in the day and be drawn to the idea of it all.
So about 10 years ago we decided that we wanted to build our own house but weren't in a position financially to do so but I was always keeping my eye out for something with potential and signed up to self-build websites and plot searches just in case something popped up.
As life went on we sadly lost my Grandmother to the sands of time. The upshot of that was my inheritance (every cloud does have a silver lining I guess) that gave us a bit more capital to allow us to widen our search a little. Then about 4 years ago we found a house within 1.5 acres that was ripe for knocking down and starting again. it would've stretched our finances but we could've lived in it for a bit to get those sorted out while we planned for the build. We put an offer in and it was accepted. We were so excited about it all that we got an architect involved and paid for surveys to be done and drawings to be made only for the sellers to let us know while we were out of the country on a family holiday that they'd decided to accept another offer on the house and would no longer be selling to us. talk about a kick in teeth! we were shellshocked.
But, life goes on I guess and a year later we found a steel framed agricultural barn with 4 acres of land/woodland that had planning permission to convert to a residential property. offer made and accepted although with the old adage of once bitten twice shy we decided not to get ahead of ourselves and didn't shell out for architects etc at this point, although we did spend a lot on solicitors fees and also a contamination survey so it was not cheap as we moved towards an exchange of contracts. The barn had agricultural access over a 3rd parties land but no residential access and as the seller's solicitor tried to get that access it seemed to be apparent that the owners of the land (the Catholic Church) were against the development as they slapped a £200,000 price tag on the access (about 1/4 mile of farm track/bridle path). as we weren't paying that we thought the negotiations were ongoing with the sellers and the Church until one day out of the blue I got an email from my solicitor saying that he'd heard from the seller's solicitor and that they were no longer proceeding with the sale. this was 2 YEARS after the offer was made. it seemed that we were destined to never find somewhere to build....
...but never say never as about 2 weeks later we found an old 70's built bungalow that had outline planning permission and full planning permission for a replacement dwelling in 0.8 acres of land surrounded by woodland. it was perfect and we had our offer accepted and started the purchase process. little did we know that we couldn't get finance on the property even though it was a habitable property no one would offer a residential mortgage as the construction of the house was 70's prefab and the banks wouldn't lend on it. I even had a bridging loan company refuse to lend on it despite the inherent value in the residential plot and land. it was crazy and the house was put back on the market while we tried to sort something out. fortunately, our family were able to sell an overseas property to allow us to get the funds to not need a mortgage and we exchanged and completed in October 2019.
We're now living in the bungalow as we await planning approval for the new designs our architect has drawn up, but that will be the subject of another post.
thanks for reading and I hope you find our journey interesting. I'm sure it'll have many more ups and downs as we progress but we're hopeful that at the end of it we'll have a house that we can live in for the rest of our lives.