Making an Offer
It didn’t take us long to decide to submit an offer on the property, but due to the level of interest we didn’t really expect to be successful.
After our first offer we were asked by the agents to provide a “best and final bid”, so although we did increase our offer slightly we concentrated on convincing the agent that we were the ideal candidates:
– We were cash buyers
– We were renting and could complete quickly
– We already had a solicitor (from the sale of our previous house)
– We didn’t require a structural survey
– We wanted to create a home for ourselves and join the community
Much to our surprise, we shortly after received a call confirming that our offer had been accepted.
We instructed our solicitor to start acting on our behalf, but after several weeks we had heard nothing from them. When we contacted them, we were shocked to hear that they could not act for us as it was an agricultural property (which we had made clear from the start)!
We’d been planning another trip up to County Durham anyway to carry out a measured survey of the property, so we now also had to find another solicitor and reassure the agent that we were still committed to the purchase. Thanks to Nicola at the Fox and Hounds, who let us stay in the room longer than usual so we could make numerous phone calls. Thankfully the seller was understanding, and we found a local solicitor with the appropriate “farm” experience.
The measured survey took us 3 hours, so the agent agreed that we could return the keys to his office when we had finished. Being an older property, nothing was square so we measured every room, inside and out, in as much detail as possible so we could draw up the existing building AutoCAD which is a computer software package that many Architects use.
We also took hundreds of digital photos to show friends and family, and help us plan a scope of works for the building. In addition to the refurbishment work needed, we also intended to build a small extension and dormer window which we planned to model in 3D SketchUp software.
Whilst the legal searches were being carried out we learned that the property did not have a septic tanks as previously stated, and that protected White Clawed Crayfish are known to inhabit the River Tees. This meant that any discharge into the Beck running through our property would be strictly controlled.
Having renegotiated slightly due to the additional cost of installing a package treatment plant (instead of a septic tank) we completed the purchase and exchanged contracts.
Whilst travelling up the A1 to collect the keys, we brought the first trailer load of tools and building materials to make the building more secure and make temporary repairs to the roof.
After the first of many bonfires burning ancient chicken coops, we sat outside watching the stars in the clear night sky. We hadn’t realised at the time, but we’d moved close Hury Reservoir which is one of the U.K.’s Dark Sky Discovery Sites where lack of light pollution and uninterrupted views make for dramatic stargazing.
The North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is officially “the darkest mainland AONB in the UK” and is hosting a series of events at the North Pennines Stargazing Festival between 20th Oct and 4th Nov 2018. See www.northpennines.org.uk for further details.
We stayed overnight for the first time “glamping” down stairs near the open fire, listening to at least two different types of owls flying around outside. No traffic noise, neighbours shouting or loud music. Perfect.