Buying our first flat

First Home

So a few months ago I wrote about how I was buying my first house… and that was the plan until, near the end of the process, we found out that the house had suffered from subsidence and was going to cost an absolute fortune to fix! This led to us having a rethink about what we wanted and where we wanted to live. The house we almost bought was in an area not too far from us, but the downside was that there wasn’t a tram… something that, as city dwellers, we find very useful. Instead, there was a train, which was more expensive and in hindsight, not the most practical way of us getting to work, due to the proximity of the train stations to where our offices are.

After Christmas, we spent a good month thinking about different areas. One of the main areas we focused on was Prestwich, an upcoming village area just outside of Manchester city centre. We looked around a couple of houses and even put in an offer on a house, but nothing came of it. We got outbid, and houses were flying off the market before we could even view them.

Things were getting a bit frustrating and we were both becoming conscious of the fact that the house we wanted, in the area we wanted, we couldn’t afford. That’s when we talked about the idea of buying a flat.

Admittedly, I was a bit sceptical about it. Not because I didn’t like living in a flat, but because one of the main reasons we wanted a house, was because we didn’t have any outside space and really missed having a garden. On sunny days, being cooped up with no one to go and relax in the sun, wasn’t ideal.

Nonetheless, we decided to open up our search to flats. It had got to the point where I was looking at any area within South Manchester (we currently live in Sale and have been really happy here). One weekend, after just making a viewing on a terrace house I wasn’t convinced about and neither was Rich, we made a viewing on a flat in Altrincham.

We hadn’t looked at much in Altrincham before, as we thought it would be way out of our price range. I’d been searching by price mainly, and had discounted everything that was above our budget…. which unfortunately seemed to be most things. However, as luck would have it, I found a lovely looking flat with a view over one of the nicest parks in Altrincham. It was just about in our price range, AND, it had a balcony. The only downside was that it needed a bit of modernising.

As we pulled up to the property, I wasn’t sure what to think and was keeping an open mind. When we actually went inside the property, I wasn’t so sure. The living room was huge and open plan and the view outside was stunning, especially as it was a sunny day. The kitchen was twice the size of the one in our rented flat, too, which had been one of my requirements, as we’re constantly tripping over each over in our tiny kitchen. The only problem was that I wasn’t too sure about the bedrooms – in my opinion, they were a little bit too small. That’s why, when we came out of the viewing, I turned to Rich and told him no. I said I liked the flat but I wasn’t 100% sure. Rich was a bit surprised as he loved the flat, and thought I had too.

We went back home and I asked Rich to measure the rooms in our current flat, as the bedrooms feel like a nice size and there’s plenty of wardrobe space for all of my clothes. Once he’d measured them, it turned out that, actually, the rooms were a similar size to the ones in the flat we’d viewed. That’s when we decided to make an offer, as if the size of our flat now works for us, why wouldn’t this one? And it was rare to find something within our price range, which had outside space, and in a nice area.

We decided to put in a lower offer, as a bit of a starting point, and because we didn’t want to stretch ourselves too much. We’d learned by now that bidding wars were commonplace around Manchester and that properties often went for way over the asking price! So we put an offer in and left it at that. I went off to Chester for the night as I was meeting up with some of my friends for a girly weekend.

The next day, me and Rich were booked into a cocktail masterclass at Cloud 23 in Manchester (totally amazing, will be posting a review soon on this!). As we were sipping on delicious cocktails, looking out over the Manchester skyline (because the views at Cloud 23 are absolutely stunning), we got a phone call from the estate agent. The seller had rejected our offer because it was too low, BUT, had agreed to meet us between our offer and the asking price. We couldn’t believe our luck, as we’d never expected to have got such a beautiful flat.

Two months down the line and we’re still not in the flat, but we’re hoping, fingers crossed, that we’ll be moving in in the next few weeks. Personally, I can’t wait, and I’m so glad that I didn’t let the clutter of the bedrooms ruin what will be a perfect first home for us!

For now, I’m having fun picking out colour schemes, ordering furniture and dreaming of decorating… More to come on our flat adventure soon!

 

 

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A city love affair

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As many of you  know, I used to live in Chester. Chester is a beautiful city in the North West, and it’s the first place I lived entirely on my own without my family or any of the people that I grew up with all of my life. I lived in a tiny room in a old fashioned block of flats, and my friends lived directly across the road. Things like not being able to drive weren’t an issue as shops were a ten minute walk away, and as I lived on campus, it was literally a two minute walk to lectures. For that year, my friends became like a family to me. I think that because of that, Chester always feels like home to me in a way that I’m not always convinced Manchester does.

Although I class myself as living in Manchester, where I actually live is Sale, a small town in the suburbs which is technically in Cheshire. Where I live is very leafy and green, and it does feel more like home to me now than it did a year ago. It helps that Rich is here and that my family aren’t too far away, and I do feel as if I’m putting down more roots now that I have a part time job in the city. But then the other day, I caught the train down to Chester for a night out with some of my friends who live there. And I got that feeling as I were going home, as if I still lived there.

Although I’ve accepted that Manchester is my current home, and I’m happy with living there, I guess a part of me will always love Chester. It has beautiful sunsets, it’s where I met my boyfriend, and it’s somewhere that for a short while really made me happy. What I’ve got to remember is that life goes on, and that Manchester is somewhere that opens up a wealth of opportunities in a way that Chester didn’t. I have a lovely flat with Rich, I get to live the cosmopolitan city lifestyle, and I’m closer to my family and hometown.

I think I need to remember that whenever I do travel down to Chester for uni, which I currently do three times a week, although Chester is no longer my home, it’s still there for me when I want it. It was a stepping stone into my current life, and in the same way that my memories are always within reach, so is my favourite city.

Do any of you feel like this about a city? Let me know.

Beth xx

The City

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It inhales the early morning air, fresh, tangent with diesel, with petrol, with a sort of smog that fills your lungs. It’s a concrete jungle inhaling the smell of panic and thriving on the worry that seems to infect the rush hour crowd like a plague. It towers,  it’s waiting to conquer the urban wastelands on the outskirts that have not yet admitted that there’s no escaping the giant beating heart that is engulfing the core. At times it is deceitful, it offers an adrenaline rush to the susceptible, a feeling that at first is warm and inviting, that makes it seem like it is humming, buzzing with excitement. It poses as a metropolis of life, and you can become tricked by this mirage. It’s only as the clock ticks on, when darkness cloaks the skyline, that the cracks of society can be seen. There’s a sense of desolation in the midst of the morning before the city awakes and the cycle repeats itself.

VENICE- THE CITY THAT TIME FORGOT

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I recently travelled to the city of Venice, crested as one of the most romantic and breathtaking cities in the world. Venice is situated in the North East of Italy and is made up of one hundred small islands in the middle of a lagoon. Its most popular attractions include St Marks Square, the Basilica, the Rialto Bridge and the Grand Canal which winds its way through the main island.

Upon arriving in Venice, after travelling across the  lagoon on a small boat, seeing as the only transport to the island is boats, due to the fact that there are no roads, we were met with a city guide, who was to take us on a tour around the city showing us its hidden gems alongside all of the famous sites that you expect to see in Venice. To do this, he decided to show us what he called the ‘real Venice’, which consisted of a walk around the dark backstreets which winded and turned in what felt like every direction. After arriving at midday in the baking heat, the backstreets were a welcoming oasis of shade and serenity after the business of the landing port on the front facing side of the island where the boat dropped us off. It was quiet, alarmingly quiet, however charming at the same time, as we meandered around the small alley walls, discovering a treasure strove of tiny shops selling everything from deliciously expensive leather handbags to tacky souvenirs. Upon this walk, I noticed the deterioration of some of the buildings which seemed to tower over the tiny walkways, the sun kissed walls starting to tarnish, starting to grime with the dirt of the city, and windowpanes seeming to be clouded by a dust of a time long since passed. And this was when the tour guide told us the sad truth about this beautiful and unique timely city- Venice was becoming a museum. Over recent years, more and more of the Venetians have moved away from what was once a paradise for the rich. We were told of how the workers lived on the islands nearby, or from towns on the edge of the lagoon, where it was cheaper and a higher quality of life was available. Away from Venice there was more to do for the young people, higher paid jobs, and larger houses with gardens for family.

As dusk started to fall over the city, the sky became streaked with a kaleidoscope of orange and pink and the waters of the Grand Canal became still, nostalgic for the earlier paths of the gondolas and watertaxis, which provided such pleasure for the tourists who visited in the day and left Venice untouched by nightfall. The old opera house sleeps in the slumbers of the city’s labyrinths, whilst the Rialto bridge stands proud over the canal, remembering days of when it was used by the locals both day and night.

It seems that once the old generations of Venetians fade, so will the city, which will leave in its wake, a museum of memories of what once was.