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What Was Your Compromise?

Author: Lauren Coleman

During the house buying process it always seems as though there’s something to compromise on. No matter how big the budget you have to be incredibly lucky not to let go of one or two aspects of your wish-list.

With our first house we compromised on period, size and style to get a pad in a village location. The house as so tiny we had to keep some of our everyday food supplies in the loft. Seriously there just wasn’t enough room for a can of beans let alone a tin of biscuits. This sacrifice meant we could live in a sweet village with a sun drenched garden and our own driveway. Apologies for the family album in the slider but as we moved out of that house in 2011 before Instagram took hold and so the only pics I have document the early years of my niece’s life as well as our decor. Check out those dress-up shoes and the inherited black ash furniture!

Given the smaller than average dimensions of house number one, we were after heaps more internal space with our second property. I also wasn’t prepared to budge on a period house. After the straight walls and lack of features in our newish-build I was after character and lots of it.
In bagging ourself an 1850s terraced cottage with three double bedrooms we sacrificed outside space on a big scale. The cottage didn’t even have a pavement outside the Farrow and Ball painted front door, dropping straight on to the street where our cars were parked. Rear access to the garden was through the house and every inch of our small east-facing courtyard was overlooked.

When we began the search for our current house our budget was larger and thus I felt far less inclined to compromise. I bloody well would have a detached period property with a south facing garden AND a driveway. James would have a garage and we would move further down south to shorten his commute.
No we wouldn’t actually. Early on in the process we had to ditch plans to move to a village closer to Milton Keynes. Four bed period properties in our budget had teeny gardens, crazy layouts and street parking. We were not prepared to compromise on outside space and moved the search closer to home but where were all the sun-traps? Not in Northamptonshire it would appear. A south-facing garden turned into the holy grail.
It was love at first sight when we found our current home. It didn’t matter the garden faced north as it’s large enough to get sun all day. We glazed over the fact we were joined on one side and that the fourth bedroom is downstairs plus the hallway is super slim. (Since someone usually asks, the lamp in the hall image is a bargain from The Range). Our commutes to the office are now actually longer than they were before but I’m glad we were realistic. We would have been foolish to have disregarded this house simply because it was on the wrong side of the street.

What did you sacrifice from your wish-list when you found your home? This applies as much to rented as it does owned. Good housing stock is few and far between!

On another entirely different note, Lolly’s husband Ste is sharing his experience on becoming a Dad over on RMF and unfortunately I can’t be held responsible if you shed a tear.


Hallway image by Little Beanies | Garden image by Adam Crohill

Lauren likes Paris, Prosecco and Paint Charts
Follow Lauren on instagram @mrslaurencoleman
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74 thoughts on “What Was Your Compromise?

  1. When we first bought back in 2009 we were moving out of my husbands 2 bed terrace in Manchester that wasn’t big enough for all our stuff together & we had started to get into cycling so needed a garage. We lucked out with out three bed semi at the bottom of a small culdedac with east facing garden but was big so got sun till six pm. It had a huge kitchen – but with time we realised it was very poor layout & freezing. We made over the house except never getting round to doing the kitchen all out. I didn’t feel we comprimised on that house as it was our first & the LOCATION was super…. see it on #projectcopley on iger
    Next up we were moving north to Speyside in Scotland where you get a lot more house for your money – we now have a grade b listed five bed detached house with half acre south facing garden with extra bit of land tagged on for another project. Great views etc. But it needs a new roof – which we planned and budgeted for and pencilled in to be replaced this august. There’s only two main rooms – large downstairs and I wild have liked another reception room so I’m creating a to snug in one of the attic bedrooms. More here #oldmanseproject – not too many comprises on reflection sorry!

    1. Don’t apologise Sarah. I’m so pleased you didn’t have to compromise! Hoping lots of other readers have the same scenario!

  2. Our current flat (our first home we have owned) is a beautiful, very spacious period conversion. Two huge bedrooms, with a big garden and shared driveway. But it’s not in our desired location. It didn’t bother us that it was a flat when we bight (first time buyers in London), but the area is a little…gritty. Now we have baby no2 en route and we are thinking schools and space. The house we are in the process of buying is suburban, private road, good schools, good trains and green space. It’s also 4 bed. Compromise- it’s a 60s townhouse so not pretty on the outside, the rooms are more boxy/less character. But we have a lot more of them- house no3, we will have it all!!

    1. Hi Anna, congrats on the move. I always think 60s houses have such great proportions and so much light. Well worth the compromise! x

  3. Ooh this is so interesting to think about. For us our biggest compromise was area, there’s no way we wanted to move out of our village. And there aren’t many houses here we love at all so when our new one came up we knew we had to go for it. Like yours it’s a north facing garden which I was really worried about but like you say when it’s over a certain size you pretty much get sun all day anyway. And it needed everything renovating, which is probably good to put our stamp on it but takes an ageee!! Xx

  4. Our compromise was the road. I wanted to be in a village and in a victorian property so this one ticked all the boxes. It also had oodles of space and a huge garden. Except it was on a busy A road through the village. I didn’t realise quite how busy until we moved in. Even triple glazing hasn’t disguised the fact that we may as well live on a bloody motorway!! At the back of the house it’s quiet but we get woken at about 5am in our front bedroom as the lorries start trundling past. It’s one of the main factors pushing us to move and next time it will definitely be to somewhere quieter. I just need to pick the house up and move it! x

    1. I wanted to pick up our old house and move it 90 degrees! I do miss our lovely old village.
      I’ve never noticed your road when I’m in your house!

  5. Interesting read! On our first house we compromised on the fact it is a terraced house rather than the semi we wanted, but it had better space inside than all the semis we viewed! It also doesn’t have a garage which I didn’t think was important at the time but 2 kids later I would LOVE a garage for the storage! We’ve just put our house on the market and from our next property we want a 4 bed detached with a garage and downstairs loo / utility… a south facing garden would be the icing on the cake! We’ve already accepted we’ll have to compromise on location slightly to get what we want (bit further from the train station, slightly longer commute…) but I’m really hoping we can get the other things on the list! I like to think we are generally quite realistic house buyers though, we’re not afraid of bad decor or old kitchens etc and can see potential. The main problem is now that doing work to a house with 2 kids is a different prospect to when it was just us and we could spend evenings and weekends covered in paint… ? X

    1. Hi Sarah, wishing you a very easy move.
      I can imagine it’s far trickier decorating when you have little ones under your feet but lots of exciting times ahead for you and your family x

  6. When we first started looking for our house four years ago, we thought we wanted a cute period terrace in a certain area of the city we live in that is made up of streets full of beautiful multicoloured terrace houses. It was only when we really started looking we soon discovered the only ones we could really afford were tiny. So much so some could barely fit 2 people in the kitchen and one had the bathroom in an attic room that pretty much required my husband to enter the room horizontally to be able to get in the bath! So we changed our search completely and ended up buying a 1930s people dashed semi on the outskirts of the city. pretty it is not but it’s got oodles of space and the garden catches the sun pretty much all day!

  7. Ours was location. I so wanted to live in my favourite part of Liverpool, a short walk from my favourite cafes, restaurants, parks and quirky little shops. As it is, we’re about a 10-15 minute drive away from them, on the edge of the city.

    We saved about £50k in the process, gained a load of outdoor space and we’re super close to grandparents.

    At first I did lament the loss of having japanese food within walking distance, but I’m over it now!

  8. With our house we did initially want a south facing garden too – but have ended up with a north facing one. However, it’s pretty long, so gets enough sun to not feel too hard done by! It also backs onto woodland so the lack of sun is more than made up for with the added privacy/no views onto another house.

    We also compromised on the drive – we do have a drive, but it’s really quite narrow (and uphill, although not too severely – plus this gives the house a nicer aspect being higher than the pavement!), I have problems getting the car on (although this is probably more my driving than the drive!). It’s definitely a one car drive (although being a one car household this seems ok for now!).

    We were not prepared to compromise on road (as flat as possible after living on one of the steepest streets in Sheffield), some sort of parking (street is fine if plenty of options – basically getting as close to the house as possible) and 3 bedrooms (although one is teeny!).

    We also upped our budget a little to get our house, although given what we ended up with I am SO happy that we did.

  9. I’m so glad that when we found our forever home, we didn’t have to compromise on anything. We moved up north (100 miles away from our family and friends) for my husband’s job. I didn’t want to go, so I basically demanded that we found the right house before we moved. It actually was’nt that hard. Selling 2 houses in Edinburgh meant we could afford a mansion house on 2 acres of its own land. It was built in 1840 for a Duke! There’s no neighbours, I have a chicken run bigger than most gardens, 2 polytunnels and still space to build a granny annexe that we are starting this summer (for my parents to live with us when they retire).

    However, whilst decorating and renovating, there were a few compromises. We couldn’t knock down a wall between our kitchen and dining room, we couldn’t have an en-suite bathroom upstairs and the major one… we couldn’t replace our windows like for like ?

    Our survey told us that the building was sound and that all we had to do was decorate inside. We spent every penny we had left to decorate with quality products. Then winter came. Our house was Freezing! Then damp! The beautiful sash windows leaked, the walls were running with water and the carpets were wet. Turned out the building was not sound. We had to employ a stonemason to repoint the whole house and then replace all 27 windows! I was heavily pregnant so there was no option to wait till we’d saved some more money. Repointing cost £50,000! That had to be done and there were no cheaper options. When it came to the windows, we could only afford basic tilt n turn pvc ugly windows. I hate them! For an extra £30,000 we could have had sash and case windows but we had to draw the line somewhere. They do not suit our house and it makes me sad every time I look at them. However, there is a silver lining. When they need replaced in the future, we will then be able to afford sash and case windows.

    Decorating and renovating is always full of compromises. Im still decorating and buying furniture nearly 2 years later! It’s definitely not easy. We must be mad as we’re about to go through it all again with our granny annexe. However, nothing will compare to having my parents nearby and that’s all that matters in the end. X

    1. Wow Gem, the repointing cost is making my eyes water. So pleased you’ve found your forever home and I’m very envious you have your parents nearby! x

      1. I know. We are currently in negotiations with the survey company though. I don’t know how surveys work in England but up here a score of 1 means ‘no immediate work required’. Ours definitely needed immediate work so the survey company has been out again and our lawyer is on the case.

  10. Our first house was a modern two up two down terraced house. We compromised on everything because it was all we could afford. It was small, had it’s original 80s kitchen, the parking was in a communal car park, the garden was a postage stamp..I could go on and on. We loved it though, it was ours. We knew it wasn’t forever so we made the most we could of it and it was in a great location. Just over a year ago we bought our current house. We bought an off plan new build. It’s twice the size of our old house, huge kitchen/diner, much bigger garden (south-west facing), three decent sized bedrooms and two car driveway. The catch is we had to move 5miles out of town to afford it and we still couldn’t afford one with a garage. They’re not really that hard to live with though, we’ve grown to love our village location and hubby has a huge man shed so we haven’t (yet) yearned for a garage. I know this isn’t our forever home though, so maybe in the next house. ?Xx

  11. The only thing I can think of that we compromised on is the road, it’s quite a busy road thru the town but it’s still only a 30mph and we are set back by a wide pavement/cycle path and decent front garden so it’s not really a problem. The house itself is a 1960’s detached 2/3 bed property with fab big light and airy rooms and the gardens are a perfect size for a busy working couple to manage !! However it did take us at least 2 years of hunting pretty much around the entire west midlands area – from malvern to Cannock and most places btwn! In the end we moved barely half a mile round the corner!! I definitely can’t see us moving from here for at least 10 yrs!

    1. I’m loving reading how many people didn’t have to give up on their wish-list. Your long wait was most definitely worth it Sandra.

    2. Hi Sandra. We’re contemplating buying a house at the moment which ticks every box (and maybe more) but the one drawback is the road. It sounds very similar set up to yours – detached 3 bed and set back from the road. The road has a 30mph limit but it is pretty busy still. How do you find it in reality? Are you glad you made the compromise? Thanks so much for any insight! x

      1. I would say we very quickly got used to the road noise and at weekends particularly on Sunday there isn’t any real traffic anyway. I guess the one thing that crossed my mind is that if we had young children (it’s just the two of us) I would be very nervous of letting them on the front and would probably be insisting on some gates being put on the front drive. Otherwise it’s convenient for getting places in bad weather it gets gritted etc we are just before a set of traffic lights so traffic is usually slowing for the lights or just pulling off which sometimes you get people in loud cars reving engines but if your sat in the back garden you really don’t hear anything. Good luck with your house hunt!

  12. What is it about the garage Alex? I’m surprised James doesn’t have a garage pinterest board. He’s obsessed!
    Your compromise sounds well worth it. Village life can be really lovely x

  13. We definitely had to compromise on condition of the house! I am currently tapping away on my phone while a very nice builder man is ripping out the bathroom in my flat (complete with polystyrene ceiling tiles & mobility handles…) that we’ve lived with for 2 & a half years! We’ve slowly worked our way round removing pink & cream striped wallpaper, green carpets & salmon pink ceilings but the bathroom had to wait until we’d saved up enough to make it structurally sound/treat the woodworm/install central heating… Enduring two winters with no heating in Aberdeen made me very sad! Feel like we’re turning a corner now, and my husband & I have both agreed there is probably enough space to have a little one here (a definite sign things have changed – previously I was dead set against letting a baby live in the ‘money pit’!). Sadly oil prices mean when we sell we’ll almost certainly make a loss, but we’ve been telling ourselves if we’d rented all that time we’d have lost money anyway & not had a choice in the matter!

    1. Lynsey, that’s such a good way to look at it. You would have been giving away money renting and I’m sure you’ve learnt a lot along the way.
      Bet you can’t wait for your new bathroom! x

  14. We found house buying full of compromises. Having rented a (gorgeous) flat for 2 years we desperately wanted to stay where we were (Burford) but everything on the market had too many compromises – mainly barely any outdoor space and no private drive which was non-negotiable. We fell hook, line and sinker for a gorgeous property in another village (the most stunning cotswold stone walled south-facing garden that dreams are made off) but it went to a private buyer, so that wasn’t meant to be. After 8 months of house hunting and me totally losing interest my husband and F-in-L spent a day looking at 10 houses, came back with a shortlist of 2 which I went to see and we ended up with a home 100m up the hill from where we were!! The compromise? It is a much newer property than we wanted. But it has a big private driveway, double garage, very pretty garden, 3 double bedrooms and heaps of space. So we did well, but heart is set on an older property next time! x

    1. I love that area Milly, I’m not surprised you wanted to stay where you were. I worked in Burford for almost 10 years. How do you keep away from The Burford Garden Company – that place is inspirational!

      1. It’s a gorgeous area isn’t it Kate? I grew up around there and my parents are still there so was logical post-London move! Ummmmmm, I don’t stay away from BGC. Which is a big, BIG problem for my bank balance!!! It’s literally the dream.

  15. Our compromise was the bathroom being off our bedroom. I organised ten viewings within a week and I discounted probably half of the houses (all terraces) for this reason, but pretty much as soon as we stepped in the door of our house we knew it was the one. It has never been a problem for us – even having people stay over we just leave our bedroom door open and tell people not to worry about disturbing us – it’s only for a night or two! I think I’m actually going to be pretty disappointed if I don’t have an en-suite in our next house now.

    We also have a north facing garden but it wasn’t a problem as at some point the alley way, which would have been between our gardens and the street we back on to, was claimed by our street so we have bigger gardens than neighbouring streets.

    The bar definitely will be raised when it comes to finding the next house in probably five years time though. I want a driveway, a proper hallway and the kitchen cannot be a galley. I have told the husband to expect to extend the kitchen if necessary.

  16. Our first house was a two up two down Victorian terrace. We had very little money so we were so happy when we found it. The biggest compromise was the lack of storage and no parking. Parking was on the road so it was just a question of finding a space in the road, if you were lucky! Not so great when you come back from the supermarket with bags of shopping. The back garden was tiny and east facing but I didn’t care as it was my first garden and I loved it. The house was small with no storage which wouldn’t have been too much of a problem if my husband didn’t have 3 bikes which lived in our dining room! For our second and current house, I was determined to remain in a period house but we wanted a drive, a garage and a bigger garden and we weren’t prepared to compromise on those at all. In the end due to budget we had to compromise on the period features to get the other stuff. The house we now live in is a 70’s dormer bungalow and I hated it on sight but it has a large south facing garden that backs onto a lovely golf course and the hills behind so the views are lovely and we have a drive big enough for 2 cars and a lovely big garage plus 3 bedrooms. I’ve grown to love the house. It’s in a great area with fantastic neighbours so I count myself pretty lucky.

    1. My MIL has a bungalow and they always seem to come on great plots. They’ve extended theirs and it’s huge with no impact to their outside space.
      Having lovely neighbours is such a big plus point.

  17. When searching for our first house to buy we both made a list of things which were most important to us, my number 1 being a period property with driveway. My husbands list was slightly different but each house we would tick off what it did and didn’t have, the top of the list carrying more weight and being “must haves” and towards the bottom things that would just be nice, both being allowed to veto if it didn’t tick our number 1’s.
    Funnily enough every property we viewed had beautiful fireplaces either with a log fire or wood burner (something that was on both our lists at some point), the property that managed to tick every other box and which we ended up buying didn’t (we have gas fires). Before we moved in we vowed that would be the first thing we would change to make the house perfect (However 12 months later and we still haven’t…its funny how priorities change along the process).
    We had moved from a flat so we wasn’t fussed about a garden, any garden would be a bonus, however I now appreciate the appeal of having a south facing garden …Coming home from work and having no sunlight in the garden is the biggest shame! Maybe one to put on the list for next time… xx

  18. I love these house posts. We moved late summer 2016. Two months after selling our house, which meant two months living with the in-laws. It really was fate the way we came across our new house…my husband leaving his car keys behind in the estate agent and going back to retrieve them just as the estate agent was coming back from valuing what was to be our perfect house. We secured it before it went on the market because of the position we were in (so living with the in laws does pay off). The house offers so much space. In comparison to the 45! other properties we viewed we were amazed we could get this for our budget. It’s in a beautiful setting on a cobbled square and we can see hills from the front and back on the top floor. As you say, there are always compromises and for us it’s that the property is a townhouse. This means that the kitchen is currently on the first floor. At first we didn’t think this would be a problem but it’s become clear we don’t use the downstairs space at all (and really should be as it opens out on to a lovely little south facing garden). So this year, we will be getting a new kitchen and utility room put in downstairs and changing the other rooms around so the dining room is down there too. This will mean we create another bedroom on the first floor so we can really use the space as a growing family for a good few years. The other compromise (for some) is that the garden is small but it is south facing and we both work full time and don’t want to spend all our free time maintaining a big garden.

  19. I absolutely adore your current entrance hall!!! Its everything I love!!! Are your walls brilliant white? And also what colour is the cabinet? Sorry for all the questions.. we’re just about to embark on a big refurb of our cottage, and those colours are just gorgeous!!! H xx

  20. Oooo this is pretty timely!
    The hubby and are a slowly nearing having a deposit for our first house (after renting for over 9 years!!) and so have been discussing our wants and needs from our first home.

    Our current debate is the compromise of location for space or vice versa!
    We have been slightly spoiled in terms of locations of all our rental properties and have lived in some lovely places, especially our current place which is in the heart of a beautiful town full of bars, restaurants and even an Abbey. I absolutely ADORE where we currently live and, although I know we cannot buy here (it’s commuter-ville, land of the extortionate house prices) I would still love to find somewhere that gives me something similar.
    This however means buying a much, much smaller property than we could get if we moved to a less desirable location nearby.
    Sensible me knows that the hubby is right that we should look at the bigger house option as we know we probably won’t be able to move again for a good few years, and definitely need all the space for the ever expanding crafting that comes from a new business venture.
    But dreamy, head in the clouds me, thinks she can cope with a tiny little place, because she is desperate to live somewhere pretty and fun!!!

    It’s good to hear others stories and to know that maybe if we compromise location for space this time, one day we might be able to get a tiny bit closer to the dream house (which, lets face it will change over time, I’m sure!!)

    One thing I’m not compromising on though – a dishwasher!!!!
    I honestly CANNOT wait for the day we finally have a kitchen with a dishwasher – 9 years of washing up is enough for me! hahaha!

    1. You do have to weigh up the location issue, Rebecca. We bought our first house in a village my husband previously said he wouldn’t consider, purely because of the space on offer. We got a four bed semi-detached as first time buyers, huge driveway and garage and SF garden. But two years later, we sold it because we missed our old market town where we had been renting and there was no sense of community where we were. Anytime we wanted to buy anything/go out for dinner/see family and friends we would drive back into our old town which meant that one of us wouldn’t be able to drink unless we got a taxi which was expensive and there was nothing for us in the other village (which was just being built and built on by new housing developers). So we made the decision to sell and move back in to our favourite place and haven’t looked back.

    2. Haha – the dishwasher comment made me laugh, i was the same! But then ours broke a year after we moved in and we got used to washing up again (with just two people it’s easy enough and I never put my pans/chopping boards in the dishwasher anyway, so always had some degree of washing up to do even with a dishwasher). We also decided that we’d rather use the space in the kitchen to bring the tumble drier into the house (was previously in our detached garage) – definitely a good decision with our little one on the way!

      Anyway, funny how priorities change!!

    3. We’ve been without a dishwasher since moving last July and it is awful! However our new kitchen will be here at the end of this month and I can’t wait.

      1. I am allergic to washing up liquid and gloves so for ‘medical reasons’ I’ve always managed to negotiate a dishwasher 😉

  21. Such a fab post, Lauren, and massively pertinent to me right now as we just had an offer accepted on our next house, our second! We really lucked out with our first from a financial perspective, it’s on a pretty square and only 10 mins walk to a train station with a very fast line into London, so a commuter’s dream (and a big reason why we bought it!). It’s gone up a lot in value so we can afford something bigger now.
    But…and this is a big but – it has thrown up the fact that my husband and I were on totally different pages when it came to our next house buy! He wanted to buy the “forever home” whereas I don’t feel quite ready to do that. We’ve got one baby but plan to have two so I just have no idea what I will want from a house in 10 or 20 years time (maybe not even in this country if Brexit starts going pear shaped!). So we’ve both compromised. We are moving a little further out of town which allows us to max our budget on a big five bedroom place so that we COULD stay there forever, but we don’t have to if I don’t want to! It’s a new build but by a small local developer so it’s gorgeous inside, lots of attention to storage and size of rooms and light. There’s a little porch round the side which means I can leave the pram there and don’t have to wipe down the wheels and drag it into our hall like I do now (a bit of a bugbear, is it obvious?!).
    I think compromise is good and important – because it teaches you how to prioritise and it does mean that you really appreciate when you get a bit older, have a bigger budget and don’t have to compromise quite so much! ?

    1. Thanks Kate, so glad you liked the post.
      Your new pad will offer you so much flexibility over the years and so good you both managed to reach a compromise. Congratulations on the offer acceptance x

  22. We have been in our first time but for 6 months but I know we won’t stay here, but appreciate we may be here for 10 years and I do love the house. Our compromise was the third bedroom, which is actually part of the second bedroom that had a stud wall put up for the previous owners second child. We needed a room for guests as some of our family lives a long way away. It has no windows and to get to the front bedroom (my sons) you have to go through that one. We sleep in there when we have guests now and give up our room for them. Our garden is a slightly strange hill set up. We need a new bathroom, Windows, front door and all the walls and ceilings need skimming and there is a list of other things I would like to have done.
    But it’s a great location on a quiet cul de sac with a parking space in front of the house and it’s mine. I think for your first house it doesn’t really netter what the compromises are, we worked hard to get the house so I’ll love it no matter what.

    1. I’m so with you there Claire. I was gutted we had to go for a newer-build with our new house but was so proud we managed to afford it all our our own (oh Northern Rock and your 110% mortgages). I was far more upset when we left that house than I was when we moved last time.

  23. We were in our first place for 8 years. After 5 years we were sick of the main road and having no outside space (flat in London). Now we’re out in the sticks and our only compromise is the epic commute time, that and the fact the whole house needed redoing as despite being 300 years old it was pure 1970s inside (but I’m enjoying most of that – except the rotten floor joists that weren’t picked up by the survey).

  24. This has made me laugh – I didn’t even want to see the house we bought three months ago and it is the most perfect place! I would encourage anyone looking to go and see anything and everything – you’ll know the right house as soon as you step inside. the things we compromised on were the things we never thought we would!

    We’d spent four years in our first three bed detached house, which we’d vowed was definitely big enough to stay in until we had a couple of kids and they were aged 10 or so…But as soon as little Lara came along we realised just how much stuff babies (and two dogs) have, and how said stuff will take up every blinking inch of space in a lounge if you’re not careful.

    So we were on the move. We wanted a bigger house in a better location, with four bedrooms, a playroom, an en-suite for us, a quiet road, a bigger garden and lots of character. Phew….not too much to ask….! Our estate agent begged us to see a house at the top of our budget before it went on the market. Problem being it was a semi detached on a busy road where I had flat-shared before and I had hated the noise from the road and other flats. My poor husband dragged me along and we loved it instantly – we put an offer in there and then!

    I really had no need to worry about noise; it’s about 120 years old and has original sash windows, but, crucially, has secondary glazing on all of the road facing windows which renders the noise unnoticeable. We have all of the rooms we wanted and they are all enormous (our en-suite has a huge rolltop bath and a separate walk in shower for goodness sake) and original fireplaces in nearly every room.

    It is by no means perfect. The road is busy and we’ve had to spend a lot more than we had stashed away on making the roof waterproof and sorting out the plumbing which has meant we haven’t even begun to decorate yet. But I am so so glad we went to see it and would encourage everyone to be willing to compromise.

    1. Oh Cat, imagine where you’d be if you hadn’t agreed to see it. Such a lesson to always go and have a viewing!

  25. Great post Lauren! Even Kirsty and Phil say that one must always have to compromise 🙂
    We bought our new build property last year. 3 bedrooms (and the third bedroom is NOT a box room – hurrah!) Detached, a driveway long enough for both cars and a manageble sized garden. We compromised on the south facing garden, it’s actually north facing but we do get lots of sun still throughout the day. The garden is very overlooked by one house which was another compromise but the house ticked every other box so we went for it. Sometimes you just need to weigh up what’s important don’t you! K

  26. We live in Germany and have just started the process of looking for our first home to buy. Unfortunately the bank has told us once Britain leaves the EU we are no longer allowed to buy a house… great! So this house has to last us a long time. We regularly have visitors from England and are hoping to start a family soon so we need space. Also some outdoor space, a garage and a big kitchen are on our list. It looks like we are going to have to buy somewhere with potential and spend a while renovating! Fingers crossed we find somewhere!

  27. We’ve rented for the last ten years and are still in no real position to even think seriously about buying but that hasn’t stopped us thinking about what our ideal home will be.

    Location is absolutely key for us – whilst we work in London, it’s not central by any means so commuting from outside of the city would be a) expensive and b) stressful. It’s something that we’re not willing to compromise and having looked at the current house prices and season tickets, the money we would save in buying a house would disappear in an instant on travel expenses (plus we’d have to get our first car = massive insurance premium despite being in our thirties!) We might have a bigger house in a nicer area, but I don’t know if we’d have the time or energy or money to appreciate it. Perhaps we’ll change our mind, but I’m not sure.

    Location aside, I am not fussy – a garden would be nice, but I’m not particularly green-fingered so small is fine by me. Whilst three bedroom would be ideal, we’d go for two big bedrooms instead. We currently live on a busy main road, so I’m so used to the noise that comes with it that I actually find it difficult to sleep or be in a quiet area (my parents live in the countryside and I have such broken sleep when I visit!). We don’t have a car (and if we stay in London, we wouldn’t get one), so parking/garage/driveways aren’t particularly necessary…

    Perhaps we are being very naive and when we start to look properly, we’ll wise up, but at this stage, I would just be over the moon to have four walls that we can call our own.

  28. Ah this is a great topic, I’ve really enjoyed reading your experience Lauren, and all the comments!

    For me it feels like its kind of the other way around… we bought our first house just over a year ago and definitely went straight for what I think is really a second house’. In theory it’s fantastic, it has everything we could have asked for – semi-detached, 4 bedrooms, playroom, utility large south-west facing garden, big drive etc. (really way more space than we need when we don’t have children yet and had previously been renting a one bed flat for 3 years!) So we didn’t make any compromise. Like not at all. It even has a bunch of stuff I couldn’t have hoped for in a first home.

    But when we saw it on the market after going through purchase process on two other places that fell through I just didn’t have any urge to go see it. Even as we were looking around and ticking off all of its attributes I had this weird un-bothered feeling, like ‘sure I could live here’ rather than ‘wow I want this to be my house’! I think we were just so worn down by the house buying process that we lost our enthusiasm. But there was no sensible, rationale reason *not* to make an offer so we did, and 6 months later it was ours.

    We’ve done lots to pretty it up and put our stamp on it since then, but sadly I still don’t totally love it. It’s just missing something undefinable to make it a ‘home’ rather than just a ‘house’. I feel totally spoiled admitting this, I’ve never even said it to my husband (he’d go crazy, he’s put so much into the DIY!) and wow aren’t we lucky to even be able to afford such a place. But it’s weird isn’t it – houses are so much more than the bricks and paint and carpets and stuff. So I guess we’ll wait a while and then look again at moving, and next time I’ll listen to my instincts a bit more, as well as the wish list of requirements!

  29. Our first house buying experience has taught me a lot, in a very fast-moving market we had to make decisions really quickly and, whilst I do like my house, there are definitely things I will bear in mind for next time! Our main compromises were that there wasn’t anywhere to sit to eat (just a very small back hall space that was a literal waste of space), but we’ve knocked down a wall and put in a new kitchen to accomodate that. The bigger compromise has been an north-east facing garden with the house next door blocking most of the sun. BUT, we are so lucky with so many things about it, and it’s made me change my priorities for future houses (like how much I now love mid-century properties. The light! The space! The teak!). One thing that does niggle is that I know we probably overpaid for it, with the silly Scottish system, and that’s money we will lose when we come to sell. Ah well.

    1. That is a niggle and a half but hopefully when you come to sell someone else may be tempted to overpay too x

  30. My life is all about the compromises at the moment! We moved from a tiny little place in Bedfordshire three months ago (our first place together, where we’d lived for 8 years and had outgrown) to move to Somerset to set up our business. We found a beautiful former lodge house dating to the 1860s, with three bedrooms and a great size garden, complete with veg patch, apple tree and fruit bushes. Compromise? Well, as the business is brand new, we haven’t got any funds for doing major stuff to the house, which we knew was a bit of a project. So, the place needs rewiring, the utility room doesn’t have a damp course, so it’s freezing cold and damp, both reception rooms have utterly hideous 1970s crazy paving stone fireplaces, and the bathroom? Rank-y McRank! However, for all that, I know we’re going to make it absolutely beautiful when we start on it. Despite it being pretty yuk just now, I’ve got that lovely feeling of anticipation, and I’m living the dream with my fab hubby in a beautiful part of the world, being our own boss!

  31. We bought our third (forever) home a few months ago and we fell in love instantly to the point that we abandoned the wish list. So it doesn’t have an open plan kitchen, no bifolding doors, but it’s got the most amazing feel in it, and most beautiful large south facing garden that I the wish list seemed irrelevant. On the other hand, the compromises on our second home had been so long we just didn’t settle and stayed only two years never really getting over the list of things which just didn’t work for us!

  32. I find this very interesting as I always feel like there will always be a compromise you would have to be extremely lucky to tick every single box on your wish list. I also think that sometimes people get so caught up in the wish list that they end up searching for years! Our first house was the first we saw we knew what we were looking for and what street we wanted to live on, it didn’t tick every box but we saw it as only living in it for a couple of years (it turned into 7!) it was a Victorian two up two down very small with nightmare parking. We out grew it and the parking which we thought would be find drove us nuts and the maintenance of an old house was expensive. So house number two we knew we wanted a bigger space, parking was a must and something that didn’t need loads of work. We found a 7 year old 3 double bedroom house with parking, a garage and three toilets (we only had one before) it was again the only one we viewed as we had did loads of research and knew it was the one. The compromises have been a small garden, we are over looked a bit and there are no period features. Living in our second home made us realise how much space means a lot as we felt very stressed in our first house. I suppose it’s only when you have lived in your first few houses you really know what is a must and what is a nice to have

  33. With our first and current house we had lots of compromises – it’s tiny, you have to walk through a bedroom to get to the bathroom (but there’s no way I’m ripping out a fireplace to put in a corridor), parking is on street so a bit of a daily bun fight and it needed everything doing (only toilet was outside, no central heating etc…) but it’s a house and everything else we looked at were flats. It’s charming, close to the station and shops with a lovely park at the bottom of the road.

    With two children and a cat, we’re literally bursting at the seams so are hunting for house number two. Our budget seems healthy, but in our area of London it really sadly doesn’t get you very far. We both definitely want period, good three bedrooms, garden and better parking, with great schools a must. My dream of a quaint market town isn’t likely to happen, as you don’t seem to get more for your money further out, just a longer and more expensive commute. My hubby can get back for bedtime at the moment and that’s incredibly important for him. It’s so hard as we won’t really want to move again unless we choose to and it feels like such a huge decision to get right.

  34. I’m house hunting at the moment and currently can’t find anything that floats my boat! Nothing is quite right and the one house I did fall in love with sadly I got outbid on. I’m desperate for a Victorian/period property with lots of lovely period features, but am willing to compromise (I think!) on most other aspects – I’d prefer a driveway, but it’s non-essential, I’d like a decent grassy garden but again non-essential. I’m prepared to compromise on space and storage, and do some work if necessary. I just wonder if I’m still being too picky? At what point do you admit defeat and compromise further?! I’m just hoping that if I wait I will eventually find ‘the one’. Fingers crossed!

  35. Ah compromises!

    For our first flat, our number one priority was location – we loved in London and wanted to stay in the pricey Shoreditch area. I started out absolutely against any ex-council properties, but frankly it was all we could afford, they were built solidly, and the floorplans were so much better than any private buildings we looked at. So we took the plunge, got a bargain, renovated every room so that (at least once you were inside the front door) you would never have known it was ex-council – and we loved it.

    We’ve now moved to Sydney and buying our second home was even more difficult. Although we made a good profit on the London flat, Sydney prices are eye watering. I wanted to live close to the beach, preferably with a water view (I know, I know) – but it became clear that to get that we would have to either settle for a nice 1-bed, or a small 2-bed with a tonne of work to do (and all of these were in old art deco blocks with strict planning regs and structural issues – a bit beyond our level of expertise). Then we starting lusting after little period terraces in town which had lovely gardens – we fell in love with the period features but they were SO TINY inside our practical heads won out. We eventually saw a 3-bed flat in a part of town that is very similar to Shoreditch and, even though it wasn’t at all what we were looking for, we took the plunge. It needs work, but it’s a relatively new build so that’s fairly straightforward. And with baby #1 now on the way, it was a great decision as we have bags of room. We look out onto a beautiful park (a reasonable substitute for a sea view) and although immediately below our balcony is a busy road, we’re used to it. The main problem we’ve discovered since moving in is that, being west-facing, the place becomes a greenhouse in the afternoons!! We had to get air conditioning installed to make it bearable while pregnant!!

    One day I want my period features and sea view, but I think when you’re starting out on the property ladder, the practicalities have to trump those nice-to-haves. If you buy in a good location, and get something you can add value to, my theory is that we will eventually be able to afford a property we actually love. At this stage in our lives it’s about building towards that – but it’s so hard when you are impatient and just want it all now now now!

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