To get the background on this story read search for a campsite parts 1 to 3. They can be found on the “News” section of the website.
One sunny saturday afternoon in September we arrived at Valley View Cottages in our camper van. The first thing that struck us was “how long is this drive!”
We had arranged a Saturday afternoon viewing so we could see inside the cottages during change-over / between guests. Sarah saw the van pull up and came over to welcome us, I think we had already decided we wanted to buy it at that point. We had already seen the estate agents details and looked at the actual business website so knew a fair bit about the property already. A tour around the four cottages first followed by a look at the house, garden and sheds and we were hooked!
To be honest neither of us can remember too much about that first visit other than thinking that this was what we wanted and could we dare to dream that it could be our new home and business. We left the current owners Sarah and Jim and kids Ethan and Scarlett to their family life and drove to a pub car park which was our home for the night.
Visit two followed a couple of weeks later, this time we camped for the weekend nearby with my brother and his wife, Tony and Liz. Tony is the oldest and along with my other brother and their partners had run a successful hotel / pub. We wanted them to help lift the rose tinted glasses and point out some downsides so we took them along for viewing number two. Another warm sunny day, we sat in the garden drinking delicious tea (the water there is from a spring and makes the best tea!). They failed to talk us out of our plans, they were just as impressed as we were and thought it was ideal for our new venture.
At this point we were hooked and set about working out if we could afford such an audacious move. First step get the house valued, worth a bit more than we thought so a step in the right direction. Next several spreadsheets trying to work out how much income we needed to live our new, paired down lifestyle. We knew we would be giving up expensive holidays, weekends away in our campervan, music festivals and generally living a fairly extravagant lifestyle which compensated for our stressful working lives. Having got the expenses nailed sheet number two was how much can we afford. The bulk of the money would come from the sale of our house with extra money coming from the sales of our beloved campervan, savings and a modest loan which we knew we could afford to pay back.
I was less than two years from my 55th birthday which is the magical age when the chancellor lets you get your hands on some of your hard earned pension pot, the plan was to pay off the loan by drawing down some pension and effectively investing in our business, it would be released if and when we retired and sold the business.
Armed with all this I phoned Sarah and opened negotiations, I was basically saying if we achieved X from the sale of our house would you accept an offer of Y for Valley View Cottages? I remember the moment, we were out enjoying a pub meal celebrating our wedding anniversary 31 years, Sarah phoned us and accepted our provisional offer! Double celebration!
House went on the market the next day!