I've been a bit stressed the past several weeks while the new flat search has been on. We saw several places that weren't good, one that was fabulous (really!), and one that was 'okay' but not quite right.
Fortunately, because we have time, we weren't TOO panicked, but you know how it is - you just kind of want it over and done with, so you just don't have to think about it anymore. Other things are still going on in life, after all!
After losing the really fabulous (yet unaffordable) flat, I'm very relieved that we have actually found somewhere! This place popped up several weeks ago and Roomie E was on it like a fly on poop. I also sent an email about it, but got a call from the agent to say that it had been rented already! The agent said it had gone to an older couple (I think in their 70s) and as the building residency leaned more to that age group, it probably wasn't what we wanted anyway.
He obviously has no idea about our lives...hahahaha!
At any rate, we were disappointed, so I lined up three more potential viewings and a half-day holiday to see them. But on Monday afternoon I got a call from the agent to say the flat was back on the market if we were still interested! So I arranged to see it Tuesday evening and took my sister with me as a second pair of eyes.
The photos are pretty accurate, although it's actually a bit roomier than it looks. The rooms are all good sized, there's a small dining area off the kitchen and we have a small outdoor space off the living room. It's literally just a patio but we can put a bench out there, some plants, a bird feeder, etc. and it'll give us some peace and quiet. The landscaped gardens aren't used for anything except to make it look pretty (shame), but that's not too much of a problem as we're now only a 15 min walk from the beach. It's in a lovely residential area, has two bathrooms, an enormous amount of storage and comes with a garage!
The reason the original interested party backed out is that it's only a 12-month lease and they want long term. Roomie E and I are fine with a year (unclear if there's potential for an extension as I believe the owner is looking to sell it eventually) so more or less from the moment I move in, I'll be saving for the next move, but there we are.
The only concerns I have are: council tax is quite high (just the county we're in) and heating is electric storage heating. This is an older style system which can be more expensive, but we don't need it at the moment, so we'll manage ourselves accordingly through the summer. There's no gas supply, so that's one bill saved at least, although I know very well how expensive electricity bills can be! And council tax is only paid over 10 months, so we'll have a couple of 'free' months towards the end of the tenancy which will help.
Roomie E is taking the larger bedroom, but I get the larger bathroom in lieu (with tub). A democratic agreement I'd say! :D
Our move-in day is while my Mum is still here, but it won't take very long for us to get ourselves set up, as we don't have much stuff. My sister will be around to help too, so all we need is a man with a van and really, we're all set for a few hours. We'll probably be able to leave a few bits & pieces at the house if we need to, as well, and pick them up later.
We still need all the referencing and applications to be approved, but I can't foresee any issues with that part of it.
One good thing is that by this time next year, there will be NO agency fees to pay on top of rental deposits! Roomie E and I, between us, are paying £675. On TOP of the 6 weeks' deposit for the flat. I understand the deposit, that's expected, but the fees are horrendous. I'd actually be okay with, and understand an admin fee of £100-£200, but almost £700?? Ridiculous. And that's to EACH agency you register with (costs vary). But the Government has stepped in to finally say 'enough' and will let renters off starting next April, although I'm sure the agencies will find some way of taking a cut. But it's a start.
Otherwise, I had a lovely birthday in Edinburgh at the beginning of the month, although the weather was atrocious - rain, snow, more snow, some snow...and me without a sweater! Honestly. It did limit my excursions, I have to admit, but I saw plenty and the day I left was absolutely beautiful - clear and cold. I hadn't realised when I booked my dates that it was Easter break for the kids so there were a billion people around and lineups everywhere! I avoided lineups where I saw them but did enjoy a walk around the beautiful castle, which affords views for MILES from the top.
The flat I had was fantastic, comfortable, in a perfect location for everything and I spent a decent amount of time there, too, as I would take myself back for lunch or to warm up with a cup of tea before heading out again.
Edinburgh is a small city. You can walk around the whole thing (the old city at least) in less than two hours but it's absolutely beautiful. It's a city I would love to explore more of - in much better weather - so is going on my 'to do' list again.
I did a great ghost walk, too, an underground one. There are plenty of options about, walking through graveyards and underground during the day and later into the night, but as I was a bit pushed for time, I decided an early afternoon one would be best. It was great, and next time I might even take on two of them, as I would have liked to have had one around Greyfriars Graveyard, which is the largest - and most haunted - graveyard in the city.
Next holiday is May when my mum is here, then a long weekend in Nottingham to visit my friends there (and go on a ghost hunt in Sherwood Forest!), and then hopefully a few days in September when I have some friends visiting.
Hope everyone has a great weekend!