Jump to content

The journey so far...




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.

  • Like 4


Recommended Comments

Looking forward to following your progress. 


I've taken the long road.


Started in 2009 when I was youthful 22, now 33 and have some grey hair!

  • Haha 1
Link to comment
19 minutes ago, Russell griffiths said:

Lovely looking plot, anymore pictures. 

patience Mr. G. ?

Link to comment
38 minutes ago, Thorfun said:

patience Mr. G. ?

@Russell griffithsI realise that my response might be taken as being a bit rude and curt! I apologise if it came across that way. I've just been made to feel right at home on the forum and spoke as if we were just chatting down the pub but I'm not sure I'm there yet as a newbie and probably have to earn that right.


anyway, I felt bad so I just went outside and snapped a few photos for you. ?


here's a panoramic view looking north. the swimming pool is where the main new building will be. we have ancient woodland to the north and east (just visible to the right of this photo).




and here's a photo to the East of those Ancient woodland that can be seen beyond the pool and pool house. (I think the picture tells a story that the pool and pool house aren't in a usable state!)




the north end of the existing garden is currently an orchard. it's a shame that the majority of the trees will be removed for the new driveway, garage and house but some will remain and new trees will be planted to the south of where the existing building already is.




here's a photo to the south west at part of the existing bungalow.




and finally a snap of my boy and the bluebells growing in the garden.




we love it here. ?

Link to comment

Swimming pools in England seem like a good idea at the time, but in reality only get used for two weeks a year. 


Do some careful planning with tree removal, once they are gone it is very hard to replace something that was 40-50 years old even the fruit trees, I’ve got 12 acres of land and wish we had more old trees, most of ours are only 30-40 years old and haven’t got the character yet. 

Link to comment
16 minutes ago, Russell griffiths said:

Swimming pools in England seem like a good idea at the time, but in reality only get used for two weeks a year. 


Do some careful planning with tree removal, once they are gone it is very hard to replace something that was 40-50 years old even the fruit trees, I’ve got 12 acres of land and wish we had more old trees, most of ours are only 30-40 years old and haven’t got the character yet. 


our planning application has a pool in it but we have no real intention of building it. it's there just in case we ever decide we want to or if future owners (once we're dead and buried and the kids have sold up if that's what they choose to do) want to. thought it better to have the approval in place rather than apply at a later date.


we understand about the trees and we're gutted but the only other option was to retain the southern entrance to the property and have a driveway dissecting the garden which didn't seem right. as mentioned we are surrounded by ancient woodland so we do have our fair share of old trees. and our neighbours that own the woodland are happy for us to walk through it so we have the trees without the upkeep. win-win.

Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...