Fourth time lucky – search for a home in Radcliffe-on-Trent

In July 2015 we sold our house in Bardsey, a village between Wetherby and Leeds. We had lived there for 42 years, our three girls was raised there, went to the local school and two of the three were married in the local church. We did not realise it would be six months before we again had a house of our own. As I wrote in my diary in late December 2014, I hoped that within a few weeks we would eventually own a house of our own here in Radcliffe-on-Trent. It’s hard to believe that even with £485K in cash to spend, from the sale of our house in Bardsey, by December 2015 we had so far failed to purchase another house in Radcliffe. This story is heavy going but worth reading if you are intending to move house!!

“Couples should downsize in later life” 

Our house at 7 BIngley Bank Bardsey

So what started all this removal saga back in 2014? How did we get into this homeless predicament? Why did we move from our comfortable house at 7 Bingley Bank, Bardsey near Leeds (photo) where we had raised our family and had lived happily for over 42 years?

Well, there were a number of reasons.  First, we were “getting on” in years (83 and 75) and considered we should be nearer to at least one branch of our family.  Also it would be easier for the family to visit us and for us to visit them in Sheffield and Cardiff if we moved more centrally to Radcliffe, a village near Nottingham. Second, there were a diminishing number of neighbours and friends in Bardsey as many had either died or moved away. Also during January there was our sister-in-law Pat Littlewood’s funeral and our neighbour Brian Smith’s memorial tea in the village hall and later Ian Adams’s (our best man) memorial service in Ilkley. In fact Archie Crompton, a retired surgical colleague with whom I played golf every Thursday, was the only person outside the family with whom I had any regular contact.

We discussed the possibility of our moving with the family

We did nothing positive then but in early July 2014 I wrote – “Discussed downsizing house with possible move to Nottingham before we become helpless – seems a good idea. Will discuss with the family. We both seem quite keen to start a new phase as we don’t have many ties in Leeds now”.

So the idea of moving was discussed occasionally but more frequently in early 2015 when we both had flu and felt under the weather.  We had some really kind messages from our daughters and their families regarding our possible plans for a move to a smaller house nearer to one of them. All were very supportive whatever we decided re. when and where. We appreciate how fortunate we are to have such a kind and caring family. 

We decide to move and put our Bardsey house on the market

So in February 2015 we contacted the local estate agents in Wetherby, Renton and Parr and a member of the firm came to see us and value the house. He seemed impressed and suggested an asking price of £525,000. So the process had started and the decision to move had been made and a  “For Sale” notice went up in the garden (photo).

Nick Haines, our son-in-law, finds us a very suitable property in Radcliffe-on-Trent

Nick is married to our eldest daughter Susan and they had raised their three sons in Radcliffe and have been and are very happy for over 25 years. A few days before finally contacting the estate agents, we had an interesting trip to Radcliffe to look round houses for the first time – to see what was available. Nick drove us round a few of the more likely roads and arranged for us to visit one property with an estate agent; it was reasonable but we could not see ourselves living in it.   However, as we were leaving the property, Nick had a  telephone call from a hairdresser he knew in the village, who said that there was a house at on Cliff Way whose owners were thinking of selling. So Nick rang them immediately and the owner confirmed they did want to sell. He agreed to show us round that very same afternoon. We couldn’t believe our luck!

The house on Cliff Way (photo) was a four bedroom 1930 detached property (photos front and rear) but very impressive inside having been generally renovated to a very high standard by the owner – a local builder. Last year it had been valued at £390,000. I rang the owner later that day and said we would like to buy when he was ready to move. We agreed to keep in touch. It was unlikely we would find such a good property and I obviously sounded very keen and committed when I spoke to him. Ann and I were both very impressed with the house. It was good that it was just a few hundred yards down the road from Nick and Sue who had lived at the top of Cliff Way for many years.

On February 16th we arranged for a solicitor at Ware and Kay, a Wetherby law firm, to handle the sale of our house at 7 Bingley Bank. We soon had our first request to view but the couple never turned up!  We had another couple the following week who liked the house but wanted a larger garden and although  they came for a second viewing they eventually bought another house. I suppose we expected things to move more quickly although the agent did warn us selling was likely to take three to six months.

We reduce price of 7 Bingley Bank in March to speed the sale

At the end of March, after only three viewings in six weeks, we asked the estate agents to reduce the price to £499,000 to move things on. There was another family (Family A) who had been to view and they returned for another visit. They were a very pleasant people, with a small baby and another small boy at home, and they seemed very interested; we hoped they would make an offer. The husband took many photos and inspected the outside in detail. They were reported to be “very interested” by 4th April and they offered £459K but we would only accept £489K. 

We were increasingly keen for a sale as the owner of the Radcliffe house had seen a property in Radcliffe he was interested in buying.  We had another viewing of 7 Bingley Bank on the 14th April by another young couple, who had a small boy and baby a few days old. They liked the house, particularly the husband, but his wife was obviously tired out with her recent pregnancy and eventually they failed to make an offer. 

7 Bingley Bank is sold on April 27th to Family A

We left for two weeks at the HPB Binorella in Majorca with Ann’s sister Mary on April 20th with our house still not sold. However, we had great news from the agents on 24th April.  The family who had already made an offer were still very interested in our house and wanted a third look; they had an offer on their own house. We were obviously very keen and we would like them to buy it. We could see them being very happy there with their young family, as we had been. 

Three day later on 27th April there was more good news from the estate agents with better offer of £475K for our house. We agreed to take it off the market for a month if the offer is raised to £485K to which the buyers agreed on the following day. So on the 27th April 2015 our house was sold subject to contract.

We arrived home from Majorca on the May 1st and the solicitor was advised to go ahead with the searches on the house at in Radcliffe.  We asked the owner, if we could visit the house again. Agents say the buyer of the our purchaser’s Leeds house is putting his own house as “open visiting” this bank holiday weekend. They seem to think it will sell quickly as it’s a small town house in Roundhay – a popular suburb of north Leeds.   I informed the Radcliffe owner of our progress and he seemed pleased things were moving forward; he agreed that we arrange a Full Survey.  He and his wife were actively looking for properties now. He agreed for us and our daughter Sue to visit again on the May 10th. It really felt as if things are moving now!

So on May 10th we went to view 5 Cliff Way again with Sue – fabulous! Everything in showroom condition – we couldn’t believe it was so tidy with absolutely nothing out of place. The house was even better than we first thought. The garden was very neat (photo) as was the rest of the property with trees obscuring virtually all the houses beyond. The house was originally built in the mid-Thirties and had been virtually rebuilt by the owner in the last few years.

Owner of Cliff Way house has problems finding a property

In the following 2 weeks we started actively clearing out unwanted “stuff” that had accumulated over the thirty years we had lived in Bardsey. Renton & Parr confirm all is well with the house deal. Ann had a word with the Cliff Way owner who knows to start looking for accommodation and he is happy about this. On June 2nd I emailed Cliff Way owner letting him know that our buyers want to move during the week of July 13th. He replied that he is still having problems finding a suitable property. I needed to remind him that he did suggest renting if there was a problem finding suitable accommodation for him to buy; however he was unwilling to rent even if a property was found.

On June 10th we proceed with our sale of 7 Bingley Bank and receive various documents from our solicitor and we paid £250. We were concerned not to have heard anything more from the Cliff Way owner. However, on June 17th there is encouraging news from him following my email enquiring re.progress. He has made an offer for an empty property which has been accepted and he will hear confirmation tomorrow from the vendors. We were beginning to wonder if all was well and were now much relieved. But not for long!  He emailed to say he is not going ahead with purchase of the property as the vendors have increased the price by £25K.

Cliff Way owner suggests we should look for another property.

I emailed him commiserating and suggesting he rent, as he had originally suggested; also if he is not going to sell please let us know as soon as possible as our sale was going ahead.

By June 20th progress was not good. However, we wanted the house on Cliff Way and we will complete with our buyers in mid-July as agreed and if necessary rent a property in Radcliffe until 5 Cliff Way is available. However, we must have some end-date agreed in case he fails to find a property that meets his standards and eventually decides not to move – 3 months seemed reasonable? I sent him an email along those lines.   Nick rang us at 12noon the owner had been to see him to assure that he is searching hard. So perhaps things look good again!  We spoke once again things seemed to be on an even keel. He seemed very pleased at the contact with our family and all appears well. He maintains he’s searching very hard – I said pressure was off to a certain extent as we have decided to rent. Little did we know that short term renting was not easy in Radcliffe.

We start our search for a rental property in Radcliffe in late June

We travel from Cardiff, stay at Doreen’s B&B on Shelford Road and spend the day in Radcliffe looking at potential rentals. Nick suggested a little Victorian semi-detached house in Albert Street (photo). We viewed it and immediately applied to rent unfurnished for the minimum of 6 months at £550 per month. The only problem was the lack of a shower (this would have been a real problem but we were desperate!); otherwise it was a small but pleasant house in mixed type street. We provisionally intended to take over on July 9th if our written application to the agents was “successful”. I had not realised we would be vetted so thoroughly by the letting company but I can understand it is obviously necessary. We waited patiently for almost a week to hear if we had “passed” the overseas landlord’s approval. We did not pass but it was perhaps a blessing for, on reflection, it was very small and there was no shower!  The landlord wanted a one year let.

We had not realised it would be so difficult to rent a property in Radcliffe.  There were few available and most of those wanted longer lets – 6 months being a minimum in most. 

We asked the Cliff Way vendor for a firm completion date

On June 30th we sent a polite email expressing our concern at approaching homelessness, asking re. his progress and requesting we fix a firm date for completion on the purchase of Cliff Way; this open-ended arrangement could not go on indefinitely.  Apparently the owner had made an offer for another property but obviously there was no way he would be vacating his house by the time we moved from Bardsey in mid-July. We were not sure what to do – whatever we did it was going to cost thousands of pounds. It was likely we would aim to move to an unfurnished house in or near Radcliffe (at £600 to £700 per calendar month) so as to avoid storing our furniture (at £700 pcm) but we were now asking for a definite time limit as this couldn’t go on indefinitely.

On the morning of July 1st we wait anxiously for a call from the vendor to say he’s either purchased the property he was interested in and made another offer or he’s back to square one!  Hadn’t heard anything by 10.15! Or by 2pm! Then agents tell him the owners will not give a decision until tomorrow!

The move from Bardsey is booked and furniture is to go into storage

We reach a definite turning point. Our house move is booked for July 15th for all our furniture to go into storage. We were very grateful for the offer to stay at our daughter Sarah’s house in Cardiff. We were still waiting to hear if the Cliff Way vendor had secured the property he was after. Offers of help for us from all our family were really kind and very much appreciated. 

The following day we saw our solicitor in Wetherby, and signed contracts for our house and provisional contracts to be ready for the Cliff Way house. The change over date for 7 Bingley Bank was fixed for July 15th and the move fixed with McCarthy’s Removals in Leeds. Fortunately Ann took out insurance that the move may be delayed – as it was.

On July 3rd we heard from the Cliff Way vendor that he has no news from the agents re. his house purchase. He says he will “walk away” if he hears nothing by 5.30pm today.  We now make a firm arrangement to stay with Sarah and Richard until  we have the Cliff Way house or failing that somewhere else in or around Radcliffe. The move from Leeds seemed settled for 15th July. We went to McCarthy’s Removals in Meanwood Rd, Leeds to collect large cardboard boxes (photo) and cardboard wardrobes.  The next day there was still no news from the vendor who said his deadline was yesterday evening. Not sure what to make of this. It seemed rather strange selling up and having no home of our own to go to.  By 7th July we had still not heard any news re. the Cliff Way house. 

New problems with the sale of 7 Bingley Bank

Oh no! Our solicitor’s assistant says contracts not yet signed and the deposit had not been received from our purchasers who have not yet signed, but she assures us they will sign in 3 days on the 9th. She will “look into it” – but we did not hear from her by the afternoon when I again made contact.  I rang our agents (Renton & Parr) to express our concerns particularly as we had been pressurised by them to complete by July 15th – which we had done at some inconvenience to ourselves.  

I contact all the involved solicitors

I considered firm action was called for!  So, ignoring the quite unreasonable legal rules that afternoon, I contacted all the various solicitors (much to their horror and annoyance!) to discover that the 4th couple down the chain had not yet even obtained a mortgage! So there was no way they would be able to complete with the 3rd people in the chain who would thus not be able to complete with our buyers, who would not be able to complete with us on the 15th July as arranged. So the chances of our completing on 15th seemed to be remote.

Why did our solicitors and our buyers’ solicitors not know about this? It had been known by the helpful solicitor of the 4th couple, to whom I had spoken, that her clients did not even have mortgage approval. The  legal rules only allow contact between solicitors one down and one above in a “chain”; our solicitors hadn’t checked with one down couple from us. Fortunately, the fourth couple’s solicitor was a very helpful lady who provided me with all this information. I confess that I had obtained her contact number from the third solicitor’s clerk, whose boss was very angry at this devious behaviour. His boss, the third solicitor, kept repeating the legal rules to the extent that, following my comments on the legal system in general! He could not comment on the financial affaires of his clients – perhaps because he did not appear to know his own clients’ purchasers were in no position to settle on July 15th as they had no mortgage agreement! I was disgusted with the rules and behaviour of some of the so-called professionals involved.

On morning of July 8th I summarised the very unsatisfactory situation relating to the sale of 7 Bingley Bank as follows –

LITTLEWOODS.   Solicitors A.  Provisionally agreed to complete on  July 15th as we were informed that our buyers were very keen to complete on 15th; no future onward purchase settled at present so we can settle at any time. As it was implied July 15th was a reasonably firm completion date we made arrangements to move on 13th, 14th and 15th. If this is not to occur need to know by morning of July 10th so as to cancel removal.

OUR PURCHASERS. Solicitors B.  Prepared to complete and sign on 9th July. BUT are they aware of COUPLE FOUR’S Problems obtaining a mortgage (below) – also this couple had not intended to move until mid-August anyway?

FAMILY THREE.  Solicitors C. From the agent’s clerk I managed to obtain name of COUPLE FOUR’S solicitors. Later solicitor C complained that his assistant should not have done this. He seemed unaware of property details. He was particularly unhelpful and agitated when questioned as to why he had not informed the our Purchaser’s solicitor B of the Couple four’s problems in obtaining a mortgage. He seemed more interested in the legal rules rather than interested in his clients .

So the Couple Three will not sell their house so as to complete with our buyers on July 15th unless, of course, they do not depend on the sale of their house to Couple Four. Obviously they may have private means and so do not depend on their sale to complete with the our buyers. This is most unlikely as they were unable to purchase our buyer’s house until they sold their own house.

COUPLE FOUR  Solicitor D.  I spoke to a very helpful partner solicitor who even rang me back. She firmly denied her clients had pushed for July 15th completion – in fact, she was concerned they did not yet have a mortgage agreement! Also they were in rented property and had paid up for 2 months. They would be prepared to sacrifice a month’s rent but this would mean mid-August would be the completion date even if they obtained a mortgage.

On July 8th Ann spoke with our buyers regarding the present position 

Our buyers agreed to contact their solicitor B at once. Also they had spoken with the agent at the Wetherby estate agents. Our solicitor, told us the sale still may go through but it didn’t seem to be likely. I wrote in my diary that I’m loosing touch with this dreadful house situation. We have told all concerned that if it is not settled by July 11th we will cancel our move.  On July 9th we had an email from the Cliff Way vendor who was still trying to find a suitable property to “do up” but still he has found nothing suitable yet. 

Purchase of 7 Bingley Bank becoming clearer

Our situation re. completing on the sale of 7 Bingley Bank is becoming clearer. Our buyer became more involved and forceful, thank goodness, and they will let us know if all the two lowest in the chain (Solicitors C and D) can settle before afternoon of the 10th. If not we will all settle on Wednesday 22nd at worst – so sounded much more hopeful.

The Cliff Way vendor emailed to say that his offer on the property he wanted has been accepted so, all being well, we should not be too long without a home. Also mortgage of the couple at the bottom of our chain has been approved (but read on!).

On July 17th we hear that the sale of 7 Bingley Bank is going ahead and the contracts have been exchanged satisfactorily.  The very pleasant removal men from McCarthy’s have now left and will return in 2 days to finish clearing everything out. We are into very basics now – knife, fork, spoon and plate! However it’s good  things are moving forward at last.  

On July 19th Sarah and Richard arrived to help with the packing. We had a pleasant evening meal at the Bingley Arms – the last supper!! Food was very good – prawn cocktail and steak – what else?! They left with a full car after breakfast – the case of the Phillips grandfather clock and lots of our stuff.

On July 20th 2014 we leave Bardsey for the last time after over 42 years

On July 20th we pack up and leave Bardsey for the last time. Men from McCarthy’s arrived for the final clear out this morning.  Sue, who also came to help, and Ann cleaned and Hoovered to leave the place looking good. The family all visited at  various stages and were a great help in sorting and clearing  out.

We go to Rosemary Search’s, Ann’s cousin, later in the afternoon  and will stay there overnight.  We have a pleasant meal with Sue and Rosemary at the Scott’s Arms in Sicklinghall after which Sue returned to Radcliffe.

We move into visitors’ room at Lydmore Barns on July 22nd – our home for the next 3 months

So here we are at Lydmore Barns near Cardiff and are made so very welcome by Sarah, Richard and the girls. Little did we realise at this time that this would be our home for the next 3 months. The Evans family left for a holiday in Barbados. 
We had some lovely emails from our girls e.g the one from Sue who wrote –  I was pleased to be able to assist if only in a small way. It is such a big change and was such a lovely home for us all for so many years. It was nice to meet the lady that is moving in and see her lovely little baby; it is right that a new young family now can make Bingley Bank their home. For all of us in our family, home will be where you both are and that doesn’t matter which house or place. We are so looking forward to you coming to live in Radcliffe and being able to see you so much more. 
Lots of love Sue xxxxx

Sarah and Richard made us so comfortable in their home and very welcome in the spare room at Lydmore Barns; we were so grateful not to have been obliged to rent any of the many rather dubious properties we inspected in Radcliffe and the neighbouring villages.

We suspect that the Cliff Way vendors are reluctant to move

July 29th and another week passes. They did not like the property he was looking at so we are now back to square one.  We are on the books of two Radcliffe estate agents (Bercotes and Watkinson’s) and they inform us there are some reasonable properties coming on the market in the next few days. 

There was no response from the Cliff Way vendor to our offer of an extra £5K if he would move out before the end of August. We suspect he really doesn’t want to move particularly as they are having great difficulty finding a suitable property. We can understand that as his house is very good and he has done so much work on it. Apparently originally the house was owned by the owner’s father-in-law so there are additional family ties. The owner says these ongoing problems are affecting his sleep – worse his golf!!  Later says clearly renting is not an option even with our offer of an extra £5K as there would be a problem storing his cement mixer!  We replied this is all very disappointing so we are now looking actively for another property while living at Sarah and Richard’s in Cardiff. We travel to Radcliffe periodically when necessary to see properties and stay overnight at Doreen’s B&B on Shelford Road. Doreen’s B&B is beginning to feel like home and the breakfasts are very good!

August arrives and we search for another property in Radcliffe – one in Hunt Close in the village is a possibility

We are increasingly interested in a property in Hunt Close – a large modern house on a very modest  plot with limited parking particularly as the garage had been converted into an office. However it was a large house with 6 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms and ideal for intermittent family visits and only just over £400K at £425K. Sounds big but neat.  Was described by Bercotes the agents as  – 

A fabulous, show home condition, six bedroom detached property. Situated within walking distance of the Village Centre within a Cul-de-sac position. Offering spacious living accommodation and benefitting from a converted tandem garage giving even more flexible living options. This property is offered for sale CHAIN FREE! Viewing is highly recommended”.

The house was priced at £425K and the owners accepted our final offer of £418K. We were delighted with it particularly as the owners said they would be able to vacate in 3-4 weeks. I emailed the Cliff Way vendor to let him know and wished him well with eventually finding a suitable property as follows –

We have been searching hard for other properties. We thought we  should let you know at the earliest that today we have had an offer accepted on another house in Radcliffe. The owners are able to move out within 3-4 weeks as they already have another property to move into.
We are very sorry to lose your house, but we hope you understand our present situation. We’re sure you will be relieved that you can now take your time time looking for a suitable property. When you are successful we think you will have no problem selling 5 Cliff Way.
With very best wishes to you both. We hope we may see you again sometime, either in the village or even on the golf course.
Kind regards
Jim and Ann

He replied –

Dear Jim,
Anne and I were very disappointed to receive your news but it is understandable. I can assure you we have done all we can to find a new home. This last week we viewed two properties, the first was a two bedroom bungalow with a price of offers over £300,000. The only outdoor space was a garden to the rear, there was just enough room to put up a clothes line, but I kid you not, you would not be able to put any clothes on it as they would hit the brickwork one way and the boundary hedge the other. The second property, again was a bungalow it really did not match what we wanted but feeling under pressure to find somewhere I did make an offer, it was rejected because they wanted £20,000 more. I assume you will be having a survey done on your intended purchase, I hope it all goes well. We have decided to give up looking for a new home for the time being, it certainly has not been good for my blood pressure over the last few months and more importantly it has not been too good for my golf.
Kind Regards,

So that was the end of our attempted purchase a very pleasant house in Cliff Way!  We now were looking forward to our purchase of the house in Hunt Close and we could at last see an end to our homelessness.

There is a potential (but as it turned out major) problem with the purchase of the house in Hunt Close

On August 8th there was bad news. The owner, while attending to a burglar alarm in the middle of the night had fallen down the stairs and fractured his patella and ankle. He would be unable to bear weight for 4 weeks. We wondered what else could go wrong with this ghastly process of moving house.  We despair of ever completing a house purchase and are becoming increasingly depressed by the whole business. We are beginning to feel we would never get another house of our own and spent a miserable day brooding over the possibility of missing out on yet another house. We pay for a Survey and Search

By August 14th we were waiting to hear from the estate agents, Bercotes, regarding the situation re. Hunt Close. They promised to contact us this evening when they had heard what was happening with the owner’s leg. In the meantime we have decided to wait for the house as, with its problems, we like it so much better than all we have seen.  We visited our (hopefully!) new house in Hunt Close, that we now discover, from a plaque by the door, is called The White House. We spent an hour taking photographs and Ann discussing details with the owner’s wife.  

We are very pleased with the house. It is new and in superb condition and obviously good quality. We would need more parking space for when the family visited so perhaps would need to convert the garage back from an office to being a double garage. The photo (above) of the back patio is where we intend to have a substantial conservatory built across the back. Despite the husband’s recent leg injury they seemed keen to get the move underway. Sue came along to take notes. 

By August 24th yet another week had past and we were beginning to be concerned about the owners moving out. Our solicitor had heard nothing from their solicitor re. forms for moving etc. The owner was due to attend a fracture clinic today so hope the news is good.   BUT IT IS NOT!  MORE BAD NEWS.! The estate agent informs us the family can’t move until late November! Apparently one can have a guaranteed move date for a move in 2 months ahead. Have suggested they reduce price to £410k in view of all our additional expense would involve and then we would settle for a mid-November move.  There was no interest in these suggestions.

We were recovering from the disappointment re. severe delay in our house purchase and were now resigned to a long wait, perhaps into late November. However, we remained keen on the Hunt Close house and the estate agent assured us that the owners really do want to sell it to us – although they had not spoken to us directly for some time. So we decided to stick with Hunt Close house and continue living with Sarah, Richard and the girls in Cardiff – who incidentally were really kind and hospitable making us feel at home there in their visitors room.  

The agent says no deals at present and no action possible for at least 2 weeks until the owner has been reassessed at the hospital. He may need another operation on his ankle and then will require another 1-2 months recovery. So the owners would not enter into any arrangement until they knew more accurately what is happening re.the owner’s leg. But the agent still maintains they are very keen to sell to us and presumably is not keen to loose his commission on the sale!

Unfortunately we failed to find a reasonable house for short term rent in Radcliffe – there were very few available and they all wanted at least 6 months tenancy.  Richard and Sarah are very kind and assured us we could stay in their spare room as long as necessary. We had increasingly gloomy thoughts about the owners of Hunt Close deciding not to sell their house and leaving us with nothing but a mass of furniture in storage. We could not understand why we had to wait until the owner’s leg is healed before they can at least give some firm commitment! 

David Pidgeon, a surveyor sent us his report on Hunt Close. It seems satisfactory but see his report below. He also thinks maximum value is £410K and we have offered and had accepted £418K. He makes the point that additional expense on changes such as major conservatory and alterations, as we mentioned, is unlikely to be recovered on resale. Specific points David Pidgeon made are as follows –

“The property is within 500 metres of an area affected by flooding, however, the Environment Agency website seems to indicate that the subject property is not directly at risk. This can still affect the cost and availability of buildings insurance.
British Geological Survey report a moderate potential risk of foundation damage to domestic properties from subsidence hazards within this postcode area.
The property is situated in an area of past mining activity and a Coal Authority mining report is recommended.
An analysis of Ordnance Survey maps published between c. 1840 and the current day, in conjunction with current published surveys, indicates that this postcode area has a history of past industrial use.
The above environmental matters should be reported upon further by your legal advisors”.

Lewis Haines, our grandson, had a look the report and didn’t consider there was a significant problem.  However, we have started looking at other properties. We had really kind email from Sue also offering us accommodation with them if ever needed.

On August 25th Ann rang the solicitors and neither ours nor the Hunt Close family’s solicitor had heard a thing from them. The agent confirmed they would not make any decision until they had been to the hospital again in 10 days – so we decided yet again to start looking for other properties in Radcliffe. 

It seemed increasingly likely the Hunt Close vendors will say they don’t want to move at the moment as judged by the way they have behaved up to now. Also there is the added problem that they had apparently lost the letting to which they had arranged to move temporarily had they sold Hunt Close to us.  The wife rang on the 28th to say there would be definite information in 4th September – a move could occur in October if her husband doesn’t need another operation.

On September 4th we heard at 5pm (only after we rang) that the vendor’s knee had improved, he can drive but his ankle was still swollen and no decision would be made regarding further treatment for yet another two weeks.  The agent says the vendor is very cheerful and talking about a mid-October move but still cannot give a definite date for completion.  We even wondered about speaking again to the owner of the Cliff Way house as we had already had a survey on his house! (We had now spent £1500 on two surveys and still no house!)

We start looking for other properties 

On September 7th Ann did more telephoning. Our solicitors have had no communication with Hunt Close vendors’ solicitors and the family had not returned the required forms about what they are leaving in the property. This was very worrying so we decided to try and find another property. 

On September 11th we travelled again from Cardiff to Radcliffe to see houses but had no success. We saw three houses – a large Victorian 5-bed  semi, a nearly new small 4-bed – really too small and the third a rambling shambolic house essentially a double house and annex. Also there was a very nice house that unfortunately backed onto the main A52 road and too noisy to be considered.  So no joy this visit. 

Before we left for Cardiff I rang the Cliff Way vendor and told him we were still keen to buy his house – said he would keep looking and even start looking harder and we’d keep in touch. A few days later Nick spoke to him. He is looking hard but as he views more properties he wonders if his house in undervalued! However, I recall our recent survey on his house valued it at £400K. Even so, as mentioned previously we would have be prepared to go £5K higher if that was all that was required to get him out.

We hear of a property in Radcliffe to rent and meet the owner Simon Mellor 

On September 16th we were all ready to travel to Radcliffe to view a town house to rent in Hunt Close (same road as the last failed purchase) when we hear the landlord only wants a 2-year let! Yet another plan falls through. We decided to cut our losses and rent  unfinished so we can store our furniture in our own property.   We visited three properties – two in West Bridgford and one in Bingham but none in Radcliffe. However later Nick told us of a friend, Simon Mellor, who was renovating a small house in 28 Cliff Crescent which we should see. The next day we met Simon who has a small house (photo – 28 Cliff Crescent) just round the corner from Nick’s in Cliff Way. Simon is a property developer and has almost finished refurbishing the house to let at a rent of £675 per month. Although very small, it’s absolutely what we want with the bonus of an absolutely enormous double garage for storage of as much furniture as we require. The whole place is clean and fresh and redecorated throughout. We agreed to rent it for 6 months from 19th of October. At last a place of our own! 

We rent 28 Cliff Crescent for 6 months

28 Cliff Crescent

What a relief! The rent of this house (£675 pcm) is the same as we are paying for furniture storage! Also we can now be on the spot for any properties that come on the market in Radcliffe.

Nick hears a house in nearby Fernwood View is for sale

Also at the same visit Nick heard there may be another house (in Fernwood View) coming on the market from Watkinson’s the estate agents and we are promised an early viewing. We did not realise  reasonable properties were in such short supply in Radcliffe. This house would possibly suite us, priced at around £340K.  So we arranged to visit next Monday the 21st on our way to Anglesey where we were going for 2 weeks holiday – after yet another night at Doreen’s whose excellent B&B on Shelford Road was becoming our second home

On September. 21st we view the house at in Fernwood View (photos front and rear). We liked it and it  seemed to have possibilities so we offered the asking price which was accepted (£325K). We also visited our rental house at 28 Cliff Crescent which was being refurbished to a high standard by Simon Mellor. We confirmed we wished to rent for 6 months from 26th October whatever happens in terms of obtaining another house and confirmed we still want it for 6 months while doing up our new house.

Fernwood view house – front and rear

By September 30th there was good progress with the various housing matters.  The date to move to 28 Cliff Crescent was fixed for 27th October. Simon Mellor reported the house renovations were going well and he will be sending us the letting agreement. We arranged to stay at Doreen’s for 2 nights before we moved on the 25th and 26th. Also a survey on the house in Fernwood View was arranged for the October 12th.

We sign agreement for 6 month’s rental of 28 Cliff Crescent

On October 2nd we received the formal agreement for our 6 month rental for 28 Cliff Crescent, Radcliffe from Simon Mellor which we signed and returned promptly on the 6th October. 

Joy from Watkinson’s sent us the official agents pictures for the Fernwood View house (photos).  We received a letter from Jo at Watkinson’s the estate agents informing us the owner of the house had signed her contract which is now with her solicitors in Radcliffe; they will now proceed with arrangements for the sale . 

Ann had a great deal to sort out relating to the rental of 28 Cliff Crescent and the main purchase of the Fernwood View house.  Also we received a long email from Simon with details – he seems very nice person and very efficient – indeed as time went by he proved to be a very good friend.

On October 20th we returned to Cardiff after a 10-day stay in Sherbourne at the HPB flat. All seems to be going ahead with the purchase of Fernwood View – Ann rang the owner and it was now just the searches that needed to be done by our solicitor. It seems we may exchange on the suggested date of November 30th? (But read on re.“just the searches” which proved to be yet another major problem). We have already paid for a survey.

We move from Sarah and Richard’s in Cardiff to 28 Cliff Crescent 

On October 26th we take over our tenancy of 28 Cliff Crescent and stay at Doreen’s B&B that night.  At last, a place of our own albeit very small. However, Simon has upgraded the house to a very high standard. Much new equipment including new fridge (ours), new gas cooker (Simon’s), new washing machine (ours) and other new units and tops etc. This was quite a different standard to the other properties we had viewed with a view to renting over the past 3 months.  We had Virgin media fitted in the lounge and bedroom. The Broad Band was very fast. Also we had a new land line phone number.

Simon has been working hard all day finishing-off jobs, fitting the new fridge, cleaning out the massive garage in readiness for the furniture arriving in the morning. The little house is really immaculate and we are delighted with it.

27th October. We moved stored goods and furniture from McCarthy’s Removals in Leeds to 28 Cliff Crescent

McCarthy’s Removals from Leeds delivered half the furniture by lunch time; the rest arrives tomorrow. Simon was finishing last minute jobs including lining the huge garage with stiff polythene sheeting to ensure it would be dry. The back garden is also very large for the size of the house and represents a double plot. Simon cleared the back garden except for one mature apple tree and planted with grass seed which is now coming through; he says it will need no attention for the next few months.

Garage is filling up. Elliot, Ann and Simon

The garage is huge, even bigger than a standard double garage (photos). Apparently originally accommodated the previous owner’s mobile home. It is ideal as a store for our furniture until we move into Fernwood View (fingers crossed!).   Luckily the weather was good and the transfer of furniture went very smoothly. Sue and Nick were a great help. Although there was still a great deal more boxes and furniture to come the next day, the garage was not yet half full! In the evening we had fish and chips washed down with Oyster Bay.  Ann managed to get the TV going and both reception and the WiFi with Virgin are excellent.

Garage in lined with polythene

The amount of “stuff” that required space was nearly overwhelming. Nick was a great help and also assisted Simon with fitting some of the appliances (photo Nick with fridge).

On October 28th we both slept well in our new bedroom on the twin beds from our downstairs bedroom in Bardsey. Unfortunately the weather was really terrible with almost torrential rain this morning. Fortunately the next McCarthy delivery arrived around lunch time when the weather was improving. There seemed to be even more ‘stuff’ in the second load and the very capacious garage was filled to the roof. Elliott our grandson helped us throughout the day and the two McCarthy’s men were excellent and Simon was finishing off a variety of jobs. 

Undoubtedly by the end of the day the little house was looking very homely if somewhat over-crowded! However, were it not for McCarthy’s taking our “tomorrow’s antique” dining chairs (photo) and our bulky lounge suite round the corner to Sue and Nick’s, we would not have managed to accommodate everything. 

Nick at work in kitchen
No room for “tomorrow’s antiques”

Although we were not clear as to where everything was in the many boxes, it was good to have completed the next phase of our move, to have all our goods on one site, to no longer be paying over £600/month for storage and to have a place of our own again after 4 months, even if was rented (view from road rear and back)  

View from side road – black roof is huge garage

 Simon Mellor has proved a quite exceptional landlord and worked tirelessly to make the house comfortable and provide excellent facilities. He showed us his plans to build an impressive 4 bedroom house in the large back garden of this property we are renting. It could be ready in a year! Photo of the extensive rear plot of our rented house which extends right across the length of the near privet hedge. Also shows the huge double garage and greenhouse).

Large back garden where there is now a house

In fact Simon did build  an excellent luxury 4-bedroom house on that plot which was finished in 2018 and on the market for £495K).

At this time various family members were a great help. The house was still in some disorder and there’s obviously a major sorting out job to be done but we’re are going to enjoy our time here from where we can supervise the work which we plan the Fernwood View house.

On October 30th the Whiteheads from Sheffield arrived and worked hard all day sorting and labelling many of the boxes in the garage. In the afternoon we took my daughter Katie to see Fernwood View. The following day they departed before 10am after a full vegetarian English breakfast – our grandson Zack had cricket practice in Sheffield at midday. 

On October 31st Sarah, Emily and Lowri arrived at lunch time with more of our stuff from Cardiff. Richard and Jasper remained in Cardiff so there was more room – also Richard wanted to watch the Rugby World Cup final between New Zealand and Australia with some of his friends.  

In the afternoon we took Sarah, Emily and Lowri round to see the new house (photo in lounge). The owner was very welcoming. The house looked good in the glorious sunshine – our previous visits had been on rather dull days. 

On November 1st I cooked a full breakfast for Sarah and the girls. Then we loaded the ottoman from Bardsey into their Land Rover. They left at around 11 am after having a chat and a coffee with Sue who walked round to say cheerio (photo).

Susan arrives to say goodbye to sarah and the girls Frenwood Drive

In early November, reading the early months of my 2015 family history was depressing realising all we have given up in leaving Bardsey. I must confess that the difficult temporary lifestyle in this tiny house, with most of our ”stuff” in the garage, is not easy.  I’m not doing much computer work and have mislaid my large monitor screen which is buried somewhere in the garage among the mountains of boxes.

First doubts about Fernwood Drive 

On November 6th we spoke to Lucy, our Wetherby solicitor, and were delighted to hear she has already obtained the search results, a week sooner than expected. She sees no reason why we shouldn’t complete on 30th November. She sent us a good report about new house. The survey had been completed and was OK. The only slight doubt was regarding an application for underpinning for the house made in 1990. However, there were no other details as to whether it was done and completed. Lucy would be making further enquiries.

On November. 18th we have YET MORE BAD NEWS!! The opinion of Lucy our solicitor, the advice from the Internet, the views of Simon Mellor and of the surveyor were unanimous –  buying an underpinned property was unwise both from the resale and insurance aspects – particularly at our age. Also the underpinning had not been signed off by the building inspector.

So we withdraw our offer on the Fernwood View house

Although our solicitor promised to obtain more details, whatever she finds we could not go ahead with this purchase. It is also difficult to understand why this had not been mentioned by the owner or recorded by her in the property report. We assume she did not know about it (as she later confirmed).  I informed the agents we wished to withdraw our offer and they quite understood. I phoned our solicitor and confirmed we had withdrawn our offer.  Ann emailed the owner expressing our regret but emphasising our solicitor had advised us against proceeding in view of the underpinning of the front of the house.

We view a nearby property in Fernwood Drive 

On November 20th we note, from the notice board outside, that the house directly opposite is for sale so, now yet again searching for a property, we went to view it. Seven Fernwood View (photo) was on the market for £360K.  

7 Fernwood View

The house had definite possibilities. It was generally untidy and needing superficial attention but quite a nice open plan layout downstairs. We arranged with the agents to pay another visit the following morning. We showed Simon the particulars and he came to look – he was not impressed!

We visit 1A Holme Lane and are immediately impressed

On November 21st although we were due to visit the second Fernwood View house again, Charlotte, of Bercotes the agents, said we really should look at a property at 1A Holme Lane which she considered would be very suitable for us. So we arranged go there first. It was on the market for a short time in the summer but we discounted it as there were only three bedrooms. We were both immediately impressed with the whole place which was of very high quality and would need no alterations, changes or even decoration. In fact, we could move in tomorrow if necessary! We had only walked halfway through the lounge towards the sunroom (photo) when we agreed to pay the asking price of £453K.

Of interest, we looked on the internet for the previous purchase price of the property which was only £297K in 2006/7 and we had paid £435K. However the explanation was clear. Although the house was priced at £297K in 2006/7, it was then as on the left Google photo a small house and huge workshop. Subsequently it had been renovated, and virtually rebuilt by the new owner, a local builder. This involved a new double garage and sunroom extension, utility room and alterations to the outbuildings including partial demolition of a large workshop (photo) – hence the great rise in price. In fact it was reassuring that the surveyor also valued the house at £435K.  

1A Holme lane pre-2006 on the left and in 2015 on the right

The left photo shows the old layout before the extensive alterations in 2006 – in particular before the addition of the sunroom and garage and partial demolition of the long barn at the rear leaving a small stone building at the bottom of the garden.

On November 23rd we received great news! The owner accepted our offer of £435K. Provisional completion was projected for mid-January. She would leave all fittings, carpets and curtain rods and blinds.

Apparently the owner’s husband had died earlier this year which was the reason for his wife selling the house. The neighbours are said to be very pleasant and they have never experienced flooding except on one occasion when it was due to blocked drains (there was some concern as the house is on the flood plain of the River Trent – as is the whole of Radcliffe on Trent.

CWH Surveyors were contacted to do the survey; it would be done by a James Glover. They required payment of £720 before doing the survey. This is now the fourth survey we have requested – making a total of over £3000 spent on surveys up to present time.

On the advice of Julia Blott at Bercotes we contacted a firm of local conveyancers. I was not impressed by the sound of the receptionist on the phone and also we were uneasy about using conveyancers rather than solicitors. So we contacted a solicitor, Leah McSherry at Cleggs Solicitors in West Bridgford; she was recommended by our present landlord Simon. Leah soon sent an estimate of her legal fees at £980 and £13,479 with tax included. So we decided to go with Cleggs the solicitors – a good choice thanks to Simon.

It was encouraging that Leah emailed back and arranged an appointment for Monday November 30th.  We were asked to bring photo ID for both of us, either passport or driver’s licence, proof of address for both that’s not more than 6 months old, such as a utility bill, a bank statement or council tax bill, and our National Insurance numbers. So we are hoping that matters will move quite quickly now as only the searches need to be done by Leah our new solicitor; and she seems to move quickly. I learned from the internet that around this time she was made a partner in the firm.

Leah McSherry

We received a very detailed Surveyors Report from GWH Surveyors LLP by James K Glover dated 26.11.15. Apparently they had had a cancellation hence the survey was done sooner. The report was satisfactory with no major problems which was a great relief. 

Ann had emailed the owner of the Fernwood View property expressing our regret at withdrawing our offer. We had a nice reply from her. She was sorry we pulled out of the purchase but quite understood. She assured us she was not deliberately holding back the information about the underpinning, merely unaware that the work had been carried out to the front of the house in 1990 by her ex-husband

On November 30th we visited our new solicitor Leah at Cleggs Solicitors in West Bridgford. She thinks it is quite possible we could exchange contracts before Christmas and finally complete in early January (this proved to be correct). We hoped this would be possible as this would give us some welcome security of purchase which we desperately needed before Christmas; our vendor was also keen on this

On December 2nd various documents arrived from Leah McSherry including a request for £350 which Ann bank-transferred at once so as to move matters on as rapidly as possible. We arranged to take the completed forms in to Cleggs office the following morning.

By December 10th we had the seller’s property forms from Leah for 1A Holme Lane and all seems to be OK. Now just waiting for the searches which she requested yesterday. We’re beginning to feel guardedly optimistic! Leah again confirmed we could exchange contracts before Christmas.

December 14th.  We are both looking forward to hearing when we can exchange contracts on 1A Holme Lane. Now only waiting for Leah to obtain results of searches which should be back this week. Although the purchase should go through, it is perhaps understandable we’re loosing faith that we will ever get a house of own again! There was generally good news from Bercotes about the owner and a good chance of exchanging contracts before we leave for Cardiff on the 23rd December. That would be wonderful! December 17th we had a very encouraging visit to our solicitor Leah McSherry who had everything organised. All the searches were back and satisfactory. We signed the contract for 1A Holme Lane and agreed to exchange contracts on Monday 22nd and complete finally on January 8th.

On December 18th the owner showed us round the house and explained all the details. The house is even better than we remembered from our previous visit and in quite a different league to any of the other properties we had seen over the past 3 months – even including Cliff Way although we still felt that was a very good property.

By December 19th we are now feeling more secure about the new house and are thinking about what needs doing before we move in and where to put our furniture. It has been agreed that we will “complete” finally and take possession on January 8th. We will move in soon after this, perhaps not waiting for any changes to be completed. 

December 21st.   Contracts are exchanged

We eventually exchange contracts and Ann arranges bank transfer of £43,500 to the solicitors. The agreed date for completion is confirmed as January 8th. Sue, Nick, our grandsons and Grace came round to 28 Cliff Crescent for drinks and snacks to celebrate. 

December 22nd.  Contracts of 1A Holme Lane are signed

This afternoon we signed the contract and had our signatures witnessed by Julia Blott at Bercotes. I posted it in Tesco’s at Culverts Cross on the 23rd when we reached Wales.  Also Ann arranged with Amy, the manager at Barclays in Wetherby, for the final payment (£391,000) to be transferred to our solicitors. She agreed to do this after Christmas on the 5th of January in good time for completion on the 8th.

December 23rd – 29th. We had a very enjoyable Christmas in Wales at Richard and Sarah’s with all the family. Back in Radcliffe we had a very pleasant New Year’s Eve at Sue and Nick’s with four of their local friends.

January 7th.  Ann confirmed with Amy, the Wetherby bank manager, that the residual money had been transferred to Cleggs who confirmed the transfer. It was arranged that keys would be handed over tomorrow, January 8th.

January 8th.  We receive the keys of 1A Holme Lane 

We meet the owner and her daughter. She gives us a detailed tour of the house and the various keys and instructions re. alarms etc after which they leave us alone in our first home for nearly a year.    On reflection, this is far the best house we have seen in all our searching but also the most expensive!

So, it was indeed fourth time lucky!

January 20th. We move from 28 Cliff Crescent to 1A Holme Lane.

So the saga of our move from Bardsey to Radcliffe on Trent ends happily eleven months after we first decided to put our house in Bardsey on the market.

February 20th.  We have now been in our new home for a month and the time seems to have passed quickly.   We remain delighted with the house which everyone who visits seems to like.  Although we could have moved in straight away, there have been a number of changes as follows. Decorations – flowered wall paper removed from kitchen, dining room and all bedrooms. All these rooms had one flowered wall. Landing hall and stairs wall painted magnolia. Downstairs toilet wall paper removed. Long orange lower lounge wall pointed magnolia and wood fireplace painted. Kitchen floor replaced with off white tile effect.  Hall carpet replaced by wood effect covering.  Gas cooker replaced by large electric induction hob. 

Already IA Holme Lane feels like a real family home and we are very happy here.  Life in Radcliffe suits us very nicely. It is delightful village and it’s good to be so near Nick, Sue and their family.