Sunday, April 05, 2009

The house that almost was ...

Ever since my recent run-in with our landlord (a small conflict over the hoovering and so on, that he yelled about on a "drop-in" visit - long story!) we've been looking at houses, to buy, wondering if we could do it.

I started looking at mortgages, and with our wages, we are approved in principal for some fairly hefty sums of money. This got us a bit excited, if we can get a mortgage, we can buy a house! So we started looking. I like modern houses - but I also like a bit of quirk and interesting-ness too. Older houses tend to come with problems, and since we don't have family close-by to help us out with issues, modern seems to be the way to go. I heard about the site on the radio, and started idly browsing, seeing what was available in the area.

We started looking in the village we live in at the moment, it's somewhere we know, and like, and we're comfortable here, but sadly, the prices are just a little beyond what we'd really like to pay. Which is a shame, because there are some nice houses round here! (For example this one, this one and even this one)

So one afternoon I just checked out all the available developments around Cork. We're not tied to a specific area, we have our own car, so transport isn't an issue, and we don't have to rely on buses or trains to get to work. So we could pretty much go anywhere, and this opened up a whole host of opportunities. Then one particular development caught my attention. Mullavale, in Castletownroche.

The thing that really got me about this place, was that it was an "eco-build". By that I don't mean it has a grass roof and a reed bed for it's own water filtration, nothing quite so eco! But it's designed and built with a higher level of energy efficiency in mind. I like that, that means we save money on heating! It even has a really cool wood-pellet stove in the living room, that serves as a focal point much like a fire would, but also, acts as the central heating boiler. Nifty!

The boiler even goes with the colour scheme we had always wanted to put in our living room, black and red! It was like fate.

We booked a viewing, and were really excited to go and have a look round, check out the village, and try and picture ourselves living in our own house! Imagine that! The viewing didn't disappoint. The furniture and decoration weren't exactly to our taste, but that's fine, it's just a show house, we could do anything we wanted in our own version! Paint the walls! Put up shelves! Design our own kitchen. After 10 years of renting, these are big things, trust me.

We set to arranging finance the very next day, our hearts in our mouths as we phoned the bank and applied for a loan to cover the deposit. Sadly, through one thing and another, we've never had a chance to put away savings. For nearly 4 years we had only one wage, and everything that was earned went on living costs, so our savings are fairly pitiful. We prayed and prayed that the bank would look at our history with them since we moved to Ireland, and agree to loan us the money.

Unfortunately, it wasn't to be, I guess in the current climate, we're just too risky. We don't have enough credit at the moment, to show we can responsibly pay back money. How stupid is that? So, having spoken to a friend who had the same issue, she recommended another bank, who had happily given her a loan when our own bank hadn't. We tried again, with less excitement and anticipation, knowing that the answer would likely be no. And we were right, still no luck.

This story doesn't have a happy ending yet, we're still renting, and still don't have the deposit to put down on the house we have totally fallen in love with. We might try the Credit Union, but at this point, we're really not expecting a different answer. So for now, we will keep saving, and hope that in a year, we're in a better position, and that phase 2 of the development is well underway, and we can book one of the houses in that phase instead. I just hope they don't go back to pre-recession prices, otherwise we'll be needing another €60,000 overall. Ouch!