There’s a lot of thumb twiddling going on here at the moment.
I was correct in my assumptions in the last post that all that remained to do was get the crofts registered and transfer the ownership, and the forms were duly sent off to the Crofting Commission and the landlord on 21st January. Knowing that my neighbour’s first registration took 14 weeks to go through, I rang the Crofting Commission on Friday and asked what their backlog currently was.
“Oh, it’s about three months at the moment.”
I guess my roofer is not going to be starting work in March, then! That said, the lady I spoke to was incredibly helpful and explained that as long as the maps were deemed to be of an acceptable standard, it might be a bit quicker – once it goes from them to the Registers of Scotland, it’s only about a week to get turned round. She found the application while I was on the phone to see where they were with it and said she’d get it sent to the map-checking people and try to give it ‘a wee bump’ through the system for me.
Thank you, whoever you are, it’s very much appreciated.
We had a bit of weather up here this week as Gertrude blew through, so I went down the road to check the byre roof was still on. It was, but a white box near the front gate, which we suspected was something electrical, has been blown off its post. There are a couple of wires sticking out, but nothing sparking – I assume the power is off at the moment.
A letter from my solicitor, enclosing a copy of the formal letter sent to the seller’s solicitor before Christmas and telling me that she’d heard from them to say that the transfer paperwork would hopefully be signed by the end of the week (i.e. Friday just gone).
I’ve emailed her to ask what hurdles we have left to jump – as far as I’m aware, it’s just registration of the crofts and entry of my name into the register as the crofter. Time to start investigating my insurance options, which I think is going to be a whole post in its own right.
One of the long-running arguments in this house about just how high-spec we’re going to make this holiday cottage has been centred round a hot tub. My husband thinks it’s an absolute essential. I’ve been pointing out that since we’re on the north coast of Scotland it’s likely going to be (a) raining, (b) blowing a gale, (c) freezing, (d) midge city.
However, today he came home with what might just be a killer blow to my anti-hot-tub sentiments. A friend of his is looking at buying a holiday cottage further south, in Aviemore, and has found that houses with a hot tub can command a premium of £200-250 a week over ones without.
That’s not a figure to be sniffed at, so I did some research and it does seem that hot tubs are pretty in demand for holiday homes – I was wondering if the extra income would be negated by lower occupancy, but that doesn’t seem to be the case, or at least not significantly so. I also considered the fact that Aviemore is the hub of winter sports in the Highlands and the tourists it attracts are sporty, outdoor types who would appreciate a soak at the end of a hard day out in the hills, but then thinking about my target market for this house, which is a relatively high-income couple with children looking for somewhere they can surf, walk, mountain bike, play on the beach etc. – it actually describes one of my brothers-in-law’s family to a T and they absolutely adore their hot tub.
I’m guessing ‘watch the Northern Lights from the comfort of our hot tub’ might be a pretty good selling point. Next time I’m down in Inverness I’ll take a detour to Nairn and go and talk to our local dealers/installers.