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Beautiful Chaos

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Finding "The One": the brutal honesty with myself

I've already shared my 10 top tips to help you in your search for a renovation project, but I thought I'd share my own journey in finding "The One".

The brutal honesty with myself quote

When I first embarked on the hunt for my first property I had romantic ideas of period features, curb appeal and finding "that feeling"... oh how wrong I was! It all came back to compromise and the driving factors of that were, ultimately, finances and potential.

The first property I viewed ticked most boxes; in fact it even met many of the romantic ideals I had in my head: a pretty little Cotswold stone cottage at the end of a terrace, tucked away from the road and on a good-sized plot. Despite it oozing charm and potential, it was tiny! A classic Victorian 2 up, 2 down, it had the scope to double in size BUT it had very limited access (everything would have had to be 'barrowed up and down a 50 yard path between the house to the road and passing 6 other houses in the terrace!); no parking (even on the road); no where for building materials to be dropped off; nowhere for a skip... And to turn it into the type of home I was looking for wasn't going to be cheap.

The hunt continued. Finding something that ticked enough boxes and was in budget proved unsuccessful and forced me reassess what compromises I was prepared to make.

The fact was, I wasn't looking for a forever home: I realised and accepted I was looking for my first step onto the property ladder and to buy a property that I could make some money on so that the next house might just be, or at the very least take me a lot closer to my forever home. I didn't need chocolate box charm or to walk through the door and get a feeling. The brutal honesty with myself meant I needed to be able to walk through the door and see potential. And that potential needed to not become an endless money pit.

I started focusing on floorplans and plot: the most useful insights into a property's potential.

And with that, off I trotted to view a house I had previously discounted - a 1930s end of terrace that was in desperate need of some TLC. Smaller than I'd have liked and with a layout didn't work, I knew walls could be moved. However, its garden was its selling point! While no wider than the property itself, it was long and immediately I could see how I could open up the whole of the downstairs into something really special. It's main drawback was how overlooked it was but it was not to be my forever home and even this could be remedied with some clever tricks. After a good review of budget and focusing on whether what I wanted to do could be achieved with this property, an offer went in.

Now this is where building up a really good rapport with your local estate agents is worth its weight in gold! Shortly after making an offer, the agents called to say the same vendor was listing another property on the same estate but it was slightly bigger and more importantly, wasn't overlooked in the same way! The garden was smaller and it was more money but they felt it ticked more of my boxes - was I interested? Within minutes a viewing was booked!

Did I get that feeling? Nope! Not at all. In fact I'd had a stronger feeling with the smaller property. But it did tick more boxes and it didn't need extending, so in reality it was going to cost less to get to where I wanted it to and hopefully make me more money when the time came to sell. It was a no-brainer and I offered just over the asking price to secure it.

7 years on it is one of the best decisions I've made: after all expenses have been taken out, my little project has easily doubled in value and made me a 6 figure profit! Keep your eyes open for my posts where I'll be sharing exactly how we've achieved that.

And the best bit? Whenever I walk through the door, it feels like home - because that is exactly what it has become. Goes to show you don't always need "that feeling" in the first place...

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