I remember it vividly. I had got up early, fed the pigs, the poultry, washed Johnny’s shirt, washed Packie’s, washed the floor, fed the ducks, the geese and the goslings…….(only joking, my mother used say a version of this.)
I sat down on the bed feeling dejected and picked up the laptop to go through every damn page on Daft.ie (My Home had virtually all the same listings). I trawled through 18 pages. I had accidentally forgotten to put in a price “ceiling”. And on page 18 I found my house. I rang my brother in a state shouting “I’ve found my house”. He told me to send him the link. I was shouting “just Google The Paddocks ffs”. I got up and danced a jig around the bed.
My joy was short lived. My phone rang. My brother said “have you lost your mind?”. He then proceeded to lecture me I was buying a builder’s bill. I said ” what are you on about, this place is newly renovated?” He was looking at the original advert which the estate agent had never removed. I sent him the link.
For some reason he couldn’t view it so I went to see it with my friend. We had met the estate agent in Enniscorthy to view another property. He struck me as a man I could do business with. The first house was no good so we followed him to see “my house”. As soon as I stepped out of the car I knew it was mine. I took off out into the field to look at the outbuildings. The estate agent turned around to my friend as he had the key in the door “where is she?” My friend said “out looking at pig accommodation, don’t mind her: I’ll view the house.”
We drove home later in silence. After a while I said quietly “what do you think?” Not wanting to hear. Up to this she had rained on my every parade. She didn’t answer for a while. The sky was getting darker and it looked like there was a major storm brewing. Marvellous, I thought.
It was made in a split second, the decision to move from where I had lived for 24 years. To this day I don’t know why, but all I can say it was the best move (in every sense) I ever made.
Instead of staying in the marital home after the divorce was finalised I found myself agreeing in my solicitor’s office to finding a place for me and all my animals in a limited amount of time. He suggested 6 weeks, I argued 3 months. I won.
And so the house hunting began.
I can tell you now that if you are looking for a place with character and a small bit of land; it’s a bit like looking for the perfect horse. The horse you are looking for hasn’t been born yet, nor has it’s mother!
You will find any amount of, as I referred to them “horrible houses”. Characterless, soul destroying bungalows plonked on sites with no consideration for the environment around them. Then you will find the “do er uppers” or a very big builder’s bill. In between, you will find small cottages that someone has tried to give “character” to and hasn’t always succeeded. Then the bit of land…….here in rural Ireland an acre give or take is referred to as “a garden”. I wanted more than a garden but not the next step up which seemed to be 12-15 acres.
And so the daily trawl through Daft and My Home began and the day trips to Wexford. A 2-3 hour drive each way give or take. I can tell you estate agents/auctioneers are an absolute nightmare to deal with. I had some that didn’t turn up for appointments because they never got the internal office memo. I had some that couldn’t have cared less if they never sold a property. And it seemed most were very economical with the truth. I would view a place and ask all the pre-requisite questions “had it been on the market long?” No. “Had there been any recent offers?” No. But lo and behold when I got back home to Meath and decided to put an offer in someone had beaten me to it……..and of course they offered a few thousand more than I had.
The very first place I viewed was perfect in every way except it had no land and only a tiny garden. I viewed it twice, I gave it very serious consideration. I asked the estate agent would it be a possibility that I could buy some of the land adjoining it and she went off to investigate. I remembered a long time ago going shopping with my sister for her wedding dress. The first one she viewed was perfect but she said she couldn’t buy it as it was the only one she had seen. My then husband on overhearing this piped up that he had bought a van that morning and it was the only one he had seen. She ended up buying the dress.
Could I buy the first house I had viewed? I put an offer in (a low one) thinking that as there had been no interest in almost a year and no recent offers and I needed to hold some money back to buy land. But guess what? Yes, you guessed right, a higher offer was on it. I refused to increase mine and I waited and waited.