we are proud to announce…

our plans to the whole world 🙂

We have been waiting for everything to fall properly into place before the final stages of the adventure start and we ‘go public’. Today Ady has handed his notice in at work so the rest of the world can now know.

We have firmed up a date to be out of our house and for tenants to move in which gives us slightly longer than we first thought. This is great as it means everything comes together as per my originial plans. It does mean we will end our time in the house without TV, phone or internet as I’d already given notice for the earlier date but I quite like the transition happening in staggered steps.

Willow the van is at the garage, having an MOT and getting checked over to see what is happening with the batteries to make the vehicle battery not keep it’s charge. We’ve had the landlord gas safety check done and we have waterproof jackets on the way. I’ve ticked off most of this weeks job list, the chickens who left have done so and are happily installed in their new home, the rest are staying here as the tenants are keeping them on.

I anticipate life (and therefore this blog) to rather degenerate into a slightly wibbly heap for the next month as we frantically try and pack everything up, say our goodbyes, documenting as much as we can and heading off on our way.

6 weeks to go, could be 5, could even be 3

But we’re hurtling towards it whatever it is!

We have tenants, not 100% confirmed as there is still paperwork to go through, references to be taken etc. But they have paid a holding deposit and we should have everything signed and sealed a week from now.

We’ve set a date to hand the keys over which gives us a deadline for being out of the house. 3 weeks. 3 weeks!!!

I’ve handed my notice in and Ady has his letter drafted to print off, I’ve put a poster in the staffroom to arrange a meal out with my colleagues, I imagine Ady will have the same and we have a party planned with friends before we go. I’m expecting lots of teary goodbyes, promises to stay in touch and people torn between feeling envious of our adventure yet grateful to go home and sleep in a  real bed at night!

So 3 week countdown to house plans go like this:

3 weeks to go:

  • Friends to stay for a night who are taking 3 of our hens for rehoming. The tenants want to keep the rest of our chickens -yay!
  • Trips to the tip for anything that isn’t worth freecycling
  • Ebay listing of last few things we uncover potentially worth selling
  • Freecycling anything that could be of use to anyone – already sent off a bike and a treadmill this weekend to new homes.
  • Start arranging Zone three hosts.
  • Begin boxing up stuff we won’t need in the last couple of weeks and clearly label boxes.
  • Try and sell old washing machine for spares / repair
  • Order years supply of mail order contact lenses

2 weeks to go:

  • Get kitted out with workboots, waterproofs, thermals etc. We have a mix of these things but need to a proper inventory of clothing we have and clothing we’ll need and fill in the gaps. I have contacted some suppliers of work wear, boots and waterproofs to see if any companies wanted to sponsor us, have us give their products a really good test or let us review for them but no one has showered us with showerproof stuff!
  • Email first round of hosts to confirm dates, give mobile number for contact etc. Draw up a map of locations with contact details to leave with a couple of people who will be keeping tabs on us to ensure we’re safe.
  • Book van hire for Moving Day. 
  • Reduce contents of two freezers into one and two fridges into one, freecycle spares. If extra interest let people know a second one will be available in a weeks time
  • Go through clothing and box up, give away or get ready to pack in campervan.

1 week to go:

  • MOT van
  • Do SORN declaration and cash in road tax for Sharan
  • Cancel car insurance & breakdown cover
  • Cancel house insurance and take out landlord insurance
  • Finish boxing up house
  • Revel in last baths, last sleeps in beds, last sits on sofas, last cookings in kitchen etc.
  • Put together How To Guide to the house to leave for tenants
  • Cancel all household bills

Moving Weekend

  • Transport all stuff for keeping to my parents for storage
  • Clean house
  • Take meter readings
  • Take some photographs of empty rooms
  • Drop keys off with letting agent

We’ve had an incredibly productive weekend and totally cleared the garage and garden of everything except for a few garden tools which we have already agreed with the tenants we’ll be leaving. The chicken coop is all cleaned, raked over and we are leaving a full dustbin of bedding and another of food for them. We feel like we’ve had  taster of bloody hard work (I spent over an hour chopping up firewood and nearly as long again moving logs about and we’ve all been hulking stuff in and out of the car and around the garden) and are looking ahead now ready to get started on the adventure.

Need to update

rather quickly on todays earlier post really. And I have some other updating stuff to do too.

First though, Operation House to Let. I had two letting agents round today. They both offer pretty similar service give or take a percent or two of the monthly fees. The first was a nice woman who did a fairly soft sell on me, said the house would be worth pretty much exactly per month what I had concluded would be market value, answered my questions about marketing and management competantly and clearly knew enough about the market to give me confidence they would do an adequate job.

The second was slightly different in that the representative had more charm, clearly had a fair degree of business nouce about him and actually concluded with me what the price might be before he actually looked all round the house. Sure there was smarm and typical estate agent-ness about him but he chucked in enough personal anecdotes, enough insight to convince me he *really* knew his stuff and several common sense tips. He also undercut the other agency and offered various options from guaranteed rent per month (vastly reduced per month but defnitely into your bank account) to arranging a tenant one off fee. We also have the option of a private rental agreement and a friend has recommended an online website for that so various options to explore in the next few days before making a decision and setting the final wheels in motion for that.

Hearteningly both agents saw no issue at all in finding a tenant by March 1st and indeed both felt our potential to be out of the house earlier if needs be might need to be exercised. Which is all nice and promising. Ady and I need to have a chat about it and see which option we’re wanting to go for before setting the wheels in motion – both felt it would be worth getting the property on books before Christmas as it is the time of year when people are browsing although unlikely to have anything secured this side of 2011, which gives us all of January to find a tenant, or allows us to put back our first hosts and wait until we have tenants secured to give a months notice to work.

In other news we have all of zone one booked up now; March, April and May with a couple of small gaps I am hoping to slot some hosts who said yes in principle but to contact them again nearer the time into. I have contacted 14 potential hosts for zone two and already had four back with yes replies, I have contacted them again to set dates and assuming they are all okay with my suggested dates we already have all of June booked too.

With the exception of a few small items which still need ebaying but we’ll wait until after the crazy Christmas period is over, the house is decluttered, redecorated and ready to pack up and vacate. The chickens are still to be rehomed but we have a permanent new home for 3 of the hens and potential chicken sitters for the remainder of the coop.

A final highlight today was the reaction of both letting agents when they asked where we were off to for the year on being told ‘around the UK in the campervan on the driveway’ which was met in both cases with a wistful ‘oh, how exciting, wish I could do that’ response. Whenever I have a little niggling doubt I picture how I’d be feeling if it were someone else doing this next year other than us…