So we did make an appointment to view inside house number 4, Mick took a half day last Friday and we spent an hour having a really good look around it. The executor was up visiting friends and family, so showed us round herself, a really lovely lady. It was her aunt’s house, which she’d bought in 1976 as a kind of insurance policy against being asked to leave her family croft if either of her two older brothers came home and showed an interest in taking it over. They didn’t and so she stayed on the croft, with the house remaining mostly empty apart from the odd family holiday week and an occasional prayer meeting in the living room. She eventually moved into it in 2013, when she started to need more regular care visits and the house was more accessible for carers than the croft, which was down an unmade-up track. After two years there, she was moved to the local care home. For a house that’s been mainly empty for the past 42 years, it’s in pretty good shape, though it does need a fair bit of work.
We got home, had a good chat through it and decided to go for it. Cumberland, who does holiday let mortgages, had a look at the details and said that sadly it needed too much work for them to lend on it, but they’d be happy to do so once renovations were complete. I found a bridging loan company who would lend me up to 60% of the value of Ethel’s plus this one, but it would have been at 1.25% a MONTH and they wanted all the interest and fees taken out up front which (a) totalled over £20,000 for 9 months and (b) wouldn’t have left us with enough to get the renovations done. After a lot of calculator-bashing I realised that if we did it as a buy-to-let instead of a holiday let, then the Ecology Building Society might be able to help – they specialise in lending on houses with the potential for energy improvements and since the EPC graded it F, there was certainly plenty we could do on that front. They also don’t mind houses that need fairly extensive renovation work, so I gave them a ring at the start of the week and then went through things in more detail with a mortgage advisor yesterday morning.
The upshot of that call was that they’re happy to lend me up to £96,000 or 80% of the purchase price, whichever is lower, subject to completing a full application form and providing proof of income for us both. I’d also been in touch with Cumberland about taking a mortgage on Ethel’s and after a few questions, they also got back to me yesterday afternoon to say we could borrow £100,000 as long as we used some of it to pay off the remaining 0% credit card debt from renovating Ethel’s and could get Scottish Cottages to write us a letter confirming expected income was more than £7,500 net of commission. At 4.45pm I got through to the selling agent and, after a discussion with them about where to start negotiations, made an offer.
We’ll see what happens, I have a good feeling about this house, and it was 10 years ago on 14th February that our offer on the house we live in was accepted, so I’m hoping this is an auspicious time of year for house-buying for us! To take my mind off things, I’ve been busying away down the road. The hall is now completely painted and the knocks on the stair skirting touched up. Just the cupboard doors to go on, lampshade to fit, sockets to be screwed in and coat rack to be purchased and put up opposite the bottom of the stairs.
I’ve also touched up the scrapes in the kitchen and painted over the plasterboard cut-out round the extractor. You can tell that something’s been done there (the paint was still wet when I took this) but I think that’s sufficiently disguised not to need anything putting over it.
I painted the new wood frame around the bathroom window bay and, despite being very careful not to press the masking tape down too hard and removing it slowly as soon as the paint was dry to touch, a load of grey paint peeled off, so today’s first job is to sort that out!
David has been making doors for me in his workshop at home, one for the cupboard next to the bathroom and two for the byres outside, so I must drop him a text today and see when he’s coming back to fit them. Mick has taken next week off so we can have a big blitz and get everything finished. My to-do list is still looking frighteningly unticked, but I cheered myself up yesterday by realising that more than a third of the items on it simply involve buying something and putting it in the correct room. I shall crack on with that as soon as my cashback credit card ticks over to a new statement period in the next couple of days!