Spring 1970. The estate agent opened the front door. Yes! I felt an immediate affinity with the Victorian terraced house we were viewing. The motley furniture which crowded every room didn’t distract from its solid appeal. It was the sort of property I felt we might end up in years down the line, rather than it being our first purchase. The price was within our range as the owner wanted to sell quickly. We telephoned our offer to the agent that day and set about trying to find a mortgage. Figures for the last three years were required to prove our self-employed income. We worked through the night of 5th April and dropped the company’s books off to our accountant in the morning. Working in his spare time, he took six weeks to confirm our income met the criteria.
The agent’s response to our good news was devastating. We were too late. The property had gone to another couple. Why, when we had had our survey done and kept them informed of our progress over the finance, had we lost out? Our agent was in fact the sub-agent and the main agent had accepted the other offer.
Our second child was due in July so we abandoned house-hunting, intending to resume the search in the autumn. A telephone call from the agent on a July morning asked if we were still interested in the house. Were we! Apparently the other couple still hadn’t had their survey done and the owner was getting desperate. We went mortgage hunting a second time, the previous offer no longer being available. The best we could find was for £400 less. Family helped and we scraped a further £100 of our own. The final £100 was paid to the vendor @ £10/month.
Our daughter arrived that night which sealed the good feeling we had had for that house from first viewing. We lived there, raising three children, extending and improving the property over the next 47 years before downsizing to an older house. It too had the Yes! factor, in spades.
Submitted by Hilary Monk, 79, Easy Molesey