Buying update: I finally got the contract through to sign woohoo!
One of the first questions estate agents seem to ask you after ‘what is your budget?’ (answer – tiny) is ‘what are your requirements?’. I soon learned that the best answers were ‘an enormous mansion’ (hilarious!) followed by ‘I can’t afford to have requirements’ (realistic!).
To be fair I did have some things I was aiming for (mansions aside):
Good public transport links
Brighton is easy to get round by public transport and residential parking in the city is really limited (plus I absolutely can’t parallel park) so I wanted to be near key bus and/or train routes. My current commute can be a bit unreliable so being able to get to work easily was important.
Flat score: Good – on a major bus route and walking distance from a train station
Definitely one, maybe two bedrooms
One actual bedroom, not something listed as one bedroom that is actually a teeny tiny studio (yeah I’m talking to you estate agents!). Two bedrooms wasn’t very likely on my budget but gives me space to have an office/craft room and space for friends to stay plus the back-up option to have a lodger if I need the money.
Flat score: Good – two bedrooms (and the second one isn’t even the size of a cupboard which some ‘2 bedroom flats’ turned out to have for the second bedroom)
A bit of a project but not a disaster
I didn’t want somewhere pristine where I’d be paying extra to be stuck with someone else’s design choices. Equally though I wasn’t going to have the budget to do major structural work or big stuff straight away so no major disasters. My over-optimistic approach to DIY meant I wanted to give it a try.
Flat score: Good – as you will have seen from my massive to do list there is lots of cosmetic stuff to do but it is in a livable condition.
I’d love to have a little garden to potter around in and so that maybe one day I could have a dog.
Flat score: Meh – there are communal gardens (which aren’t enclosed in any way so really they are just massive grassy verges) but I’ve put myself on the allotment waiting list and I can at least walk around on grass which makes a change from our current crazy paving patio mess.
No weird conversions
Much of Brighton was built in the Georgian and Victorian periods (says Wikipedia and my sketchy knowledge of British history and architecture) and there isn’t much more modern housing, particularly in the city centre, so many flats are conversions rather than purpose-built. This often means you get a lovely exterior and the occasional period feature but can create some weird interior layouts. I saw one flat where none of the walls were at right angles to the others which was too weird for my parallel and perpendicular loving brain.
Flat score: Good – It’s purpose built (and none of the walls appear to be at weird angles to the others!). It may not have any fabulous Victorian architecture (it was built in the 50s) but at least you don’t have to go through the bedroom to get to any other rooms.
No damp problems
I saw one flat and it had the worst damp I’ve ever seen (or smelled!) Having lived in a flat with big condensation and damp problems and had friends struggling with damp I didn’t want to take that on.
Easy access to shops & useful places
Having lived on one of Brighton’s main roads with three supermarkets on my doorstep and more charity shops and coffee shops than one road should probably have I have missed living further away from handy places.
Flat score: Meh – it is walking distance from a big DIY shop (a win for my DIY projects) with a big supermarket a little further away there aren’t many other things within immediate walking distance. As it is so handy for the bus route directly into the city that shouldn’t be too much of a problem though.
All in all I’m pretty chuffed with the new place. It isn’t what I thought I’d ended up with but I love it. Once I’ve exchanged contracts I’ll share some photos of what it looks like currently so hang on in there for the full glory of the carpets!
Photo by Anguskirk