Here’s one way to scale down the stress levels of moving house
WE all know that moving house is a terribly stressful experience. The anxiety is partly caused by stepping into the unknown: a new neighbourhood with new neighbours and a home full of new pieces of equipment, each with its own idiosyncrasies, just like the people among whom you’ve chosen to live.
But before all that, you have to find the right property that you want to buy. This means scouring estate agents’ windows, receiving endless property details that don’t match the specification that you so laboriously went through, checking out websites that show properties that look perfect but, sadly, have either just been sold or are far too expensive.
Anyway, you make your selection and set out about arranging the viewings. All too often, the descriptions don’t quite match what you expect. “Near to a station for easy commuting” turns out to mean that the house is on a railway platform. “Lake views” omits the additional fact that there is also a gravel works on the shore and its loud machinery operates 24 hours a day. “Spacious” is an adjective that has a wide variety of interpretations. However cosy a cupboard-sized bedroom with a sloping roof may be, it is never going to be the airy, cat throwing space that you had imagined. Those Star Trek aficionados (or “Trekkies”) may believe that “space is the final frontier” but to you and me it’s what we never have enough of.
After the viewings have been carried out, there’s more stress as you submit an offer and still more stress as you wait for a reply and even more stress when it’s accepted. This is when the real anxiety begins. For most of us, there’s a survey to be undertaken, a solicitor to be instructed, a mortgage adviser to be consulted and a valuation to be commissioned. And all these have to be paid for. Then there are forms to fill in… lots of forms… and then the worries set in. Is it really the right property for me? Should I have offered a lower price? Will I get the best mortgage? Will my husband/ wife like the new home? Are the nearby schools really as good as reported?
And finally, with mounting anxiety, there’s that unanswerable question, “Have I done the right thing?”
Now let’s imagine another, completely different scenario. You see the house you adore but don’t fancy where it is. You simply pick it up and move it to your preferred location.
You don’t need any professional advice or involvement in the purchase. You don’t have to worry about a mortgage because you simply don’t need one. If family members don’t like the new property, it doesn’t really matter because they don’t have to live in it. In fact, if you don’t like it, you can just stick it in a cardboard box and forget about it.
This anxiety-free property purchase is, you guessed it, a dolls’ house.
Now dolls’ houses are usually Georgian country houses, Victorian town houses or sometimes thatched Tudor cottages but very occasionally a more modern property comes on the market like the identical copy of the architect Arne Jacobsen’s own house in Charlottenlund, Denmark.
It is constructed in 1:16 scale and you don’t need a survey to tell you that it is made to the highest craftsmen’s standards. The house comes furnished with iconic pieces of contemporary furniture, carpets, wallpaper and even a painting to hang on the wall.
Unusually, the house has three detachable outer walls so that you can easily see what is going on beyond closed doors.
Best of all, if you don’t like the neighbours or the views, you don’t have to worry as you can just pick up the house and place it somewhere else.
Now that’s what I call a stressfree house purchase.
Robin and Patricia Silver are owners of The Home, Salt’s Mill, Saltaire www.thehomeonline.co.uk
PERFECT COPY: The scale model of Arne Jacobsen’s house.