Lovely house, do you mind if I poke around?

Double post day today you lucky people!

My wife and I have decided to move house. I bought the house we live in off plan before I had even met her, so it was never our home, rather a stepping stone for us to something bigger which we could buy together. After saving enough money for solicitors fees and stamp duty, we have finally decided it is time to move.

We have been looking online at house in our price bracket for a while now, but today we finally went on our first house viewings, and it was an unusual experience to say the least.

As I have said, I bought this house new. I joke that I actually bought a patch of dirt, as building had not begun when I reserved my plot. While I had a look around the show home at the site, it was clear no one had yet lived in it, and was decorated in the bland and inoffensive way only house builders seem to achieve. Today, we went to look around homes which people were currently living in!

Obviously, I have been into other people’s homes. I visit family and friends, and one of the privileges of my job is people invite me into their homes so that I can assess their mental health and make changes to their medication. While I do not do home visits often, I have seen my fair share of the homes of Leeds and the surrounding area. None of this seems particularly strange, I visit their home with a purpose (spending time with family and friends or a medical review respectively) and then I leave. Yes I will have a look around, and I might even silently judge the wallpaper or furniture, but these are peripheral actions to the main reason for my visit.

Viewing a home someone is currently living in to buy was subtly different. We have viewed two houses, both very different, but both sold by the same estate agent. It was the agent, rather than the current owners, who showed us around. The owners were nowhere to be seen, having gone out I assume specifically because we were coming. Wandering around a strangers home is one thing, doing it when they were out felt almost like trespassing. It has also gotten me thinking about selling our house. We will have to allow people to wander around the place we have called home for five years, and in someways it will be an invasion, albeit a necessary one.

The next oddity of house viewing is the strange questions you find yourself asking. What appliances will be staying in the kitchen? As if the fridge was just about to sprout legs and skip into the bathroom. Or does the area have good bus routes? Despite the fact I have not used a bus since I was 18 or so, but suddenly today it became one of the most important things in the world. I think the only useful question I asked was about broadband speeds, but the answer was nowhere near as exciting as a dancing washing machine.

And then there are the doors and cupboards. Do you open them? Would that be rude? Personally, I wanted to open every cupboard and door and drawer in the place. If I am buying a house, I want to know every detail of every nook and cranny, and if we find a hidden portal to Narnia, then I might just increase my offer a little. But at the time, it just seemed wrong. The estate agent opened the doors and cupboards he wanted to show us, so I put my hands in my pockets and did my best to fight the urge to open more when his back was turned. If we do make an offer then maybe I will arrange a second viewing and get rooting…

We have another viewing booked this week, another chance to wander through someone’s life and home, although we already have a favourite picked out from the ones we have seen today, and by a small miracle it is the same house, so the next viewing might be a moot point. Regardless, we will probably still go, it’s a great chance to be nosey after all…

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