My house is finally on the market...
We're moving. We've been looking for a while - almost 20 years, in fact, so you'd be right in thinking we didn't rush into it.
In the early 1990s, we were living in London in a flat that we owned on the fringes of Islington. We'd been married for a couple of years but hadn't started a family. We had a vague notion that we would move back to Dublin at some point in the future but hadn't got around to doing anything about it. And then my mother spotted a large Victorian terraced house in Dun Laoghaire in need of renovation. She thought we should buy it. We were so nonchalant that we flew in to view it one Saturday morning and flew back to London again that evening for a party. My husband is an architect and was unfazed by the amount of work involved. I trusted him.
A couple of weeks later, we asked our solicitor to go along and bid at the auction. I remember him calling me and saying, "Well. Do you want the good news or the bad news?" The bad news, in his opinion, was that we'd got it. The good news was the price. The property market was on the floor and the figure achieved by the vendors was cited in the press as an example of just how bad things had got.
It has been a great house for us, seeing us through so many phases of our lives. When we moved in we were a childless couple who threw a lot of parties. Seemingly overnight we became the harried parents of four under six. Now only one is still in school. We've both worked from home at times - and we've continued to throw our fair share of parties.
Like most architects, though, my husband has a hankering after living in the city. Over the years, we've gone after a few houses in town and lost out. Now, with our three eldest children in college in the city centre, we've finally done it. We reckon that we'll see more of them this way, that we'll all spend less time commuting, and that it's an opportunity to figure out whether city life is for us before it's time to downsize.
So, 25 years on, we've bought another big house in need of renovation. This time it's Georgian, and it's been lived in by the same family for 80 years.
The period features are magnificent, but the lack of heating and the rudimentary bathrooms are daunting. We're going to undertake a few basic repairs before we move in, but we've decided that the best way to get to know the house and decide how to use it is by living in it.
First, though, we're going to summon our courage and show it to the children. And get on with selling our own. Wish us luck on both fronts.
Sunday Indo Business