A Facebook chat message pops up on my phone from Peter with a link to a ‘property for sale’ advert in it. Buying a house starts with a link to a property advert, so I’m aware that clicking on this could result in mortgage applications, engineers reports, solicitors and very serious dotted lines.
I click on the link and see this…
The photo on the left was taken when the house was in its prime. The image on the right shows what it looks like today, after being vacant for four years.
This 200 year old stone house, nestled in to a gentle slope overlooking a Wexford valley, is a dream house. The old part of the house is where its three bedrooms, living room and two bathrooms are. It has a modern extension with a huge kitchen/dining area, a second living room, floor to ceiling windows and beautiful exposed wooden beams. It also has the biggest utility room I’ve ever seen, a hall and a porch.
Two days later we’re driving up a leafy country road towards it to view it. It’s actually the first ‘for sale’ property we’ve ever viewed – up until now it’s always been ‘to rent’. The narrow road is lined with parked cars and it becomes apparent that plenty of potential buyers are interested in taking a look.
‘It comes with an acre of land, a one bedroom granny flat, a workshop, a wood chopping shed, a greenhouse, a chicken coup, a pig pen in need of repair and a stable’ I say, ‘For 170k what’s the catch?’
The image on the left shows the front of the house when it was loved. The image on the right is what the house looks like today. It just needs some TLC.
We’re greeted by Gary the estate agent. ‘Take a look around’ he says handing us a brochure. We explore the giant garden and out houses before venturing inside.
Inside, it’s love at first sight. The kitchen is so beautiful that it stops me in my tracks – I just have to stand there staring up at those exposed beams taking it all in.
Two weeks later there’s an offer of €153k on it, which would suggest we might even be able to get it for cheaper than the asking price of €170k. But Peter’s Dad had a look at it and said that the roof needs to be replaced, the walls could be unstable and we might never be able to solve the damp problems that come with a 200 year old stone cottage. ‘If you put twenty grand in to it you might be able to bring it up to scratch’ said Peter’s dad, ‘or you could unearth hidden problems and end up putting money in to a bottomless pit. You guys are not in a position to take a risk so I wouldn’t advise you go for it.’
I’ve tried to find things that I dislike about the property so that letting it go will be easier but I struggle to find anything. If I had a spare few hundred quid I’d pay surveyor to assess it. But I don’t.
My aunt told me that when she was house hunting and losing bidding wars she shed many a tear over houses she loved and lost. ‘You’ll cry over lots of houses before you find the right one’ she said.
I had my first ‘house cry’ over this stone Wexford treasure. It just wasn’t meant to be.
By Jenna Crotty.