Realising the dream

To arrive at this point we had decided to resign from our jobs and move to the countryside and run our own business. We had found the perfect business and decided we could make the finance work.

What followed was a painful, rollercoaster ride during which we sold our house, resigned from two jobs, raised the additional finance required, sold our campervan, wrangled over the details of the purchase and finally jumped in the car, drove to Wales and left our old life and started a new one!

This process is not for the fainthearted.

Selling your home is rarely simple. We didn’t have too much trouble finding a buyer, we spent a fair amount of time and effort into preparing our house for sale, it was already in good order and we are pretty clean and tidy people, never-the-less we finished all the little jobs, touched up the decor, tidied the garden, cleared out the shed etc. We also made an extra special effort for every viewing, flowers in vases, took the dog out of the way, put his bed under the stairs etc. Then one sunday we had a knock at the door from a couple who had arranged a viewing, the estate agent thought they wanted to look at another house in our road and had gone there! They caught is totally unprepared, I was making home made cider and Clare was upcycling furniture in the lounge! None of this mattered, they loved it and made an offer very close to the asking price. Step one taken or so we thought. They had found a buyer for their place and were ready to go as soon as we were. As we got close to exchange however our buyers buyer demanded a ten grand reduction as there was some asbestos in the original build. Our buyers couldn’t afford to proceed so asked us if we would drop our price. We agreed but passed on some of the drop to the owners of Valley View, in effect we shared the drop between us. Once this was agreed this person demanded a survey by an electrician, obviously fishing for a further reduction! All this was after everyone in the chain had paid for searches and surveys and were ready to exchange contracts. Our buyer decided enough was enough, pulled their sale and put their house back on the market. It was all so stressful, in the end they quickly found a new (sensible) buyer, all the agreed purchase prices went back to original and the chain was complete again with a delay of just 4 weeks.

The next problem we had was raising the small mortgage we needed. Although we both had stable, well paid jobs and borrowing a few thousand pounds wouldn’t have been an issue, as soon as we told the borrowers that we intended to rely on the income from the purchased business to pay the loan they didn’t want to know. I sat down one day and wrote down the list of skills and attributes that i thought a successful holiday cottage owner should have and then in another column wrote down the skill, attributes and experience that Clare and I has between us. The lists were so similar, the biggest gap was a lack of marketing experience but even this I had studied at college a few years back. It was enough to convince one lender who agreed to the loan. Our joy turned to despair however when the senior credit controller of this building society refused to rubber stamp our application and we went back to square one.

Eventually we raised the loan by other means but it sure was a roller coaster ride of emotions.