I can't believe I've gone a whole month without blogging. Mind you, I can't believe how quickly the last four weeks have flown by. I've been very very busy, goodness knows how I ever previously found the time to earn a living! And I've been faced with so many choices, choices, choices.
I last reported about the new apartment I was buying in the centre of town. Having signed the paperwork on the 6th March, I exchanged contracts on 23rd March and completed on 30th March. The legal process was short but intense. In the meantime, two letting agents were actively seeking my business and getting the keys from the sales office to show potential tenants around. Both agents found me suitable tenants so I had to make a choice between agents. The agent with the lower upfront charges found me a divorced lady of a similar age to myself. This was someone who I felt would take care of my new apartment, so I went with that choice.
Having completed the legal process on 30th March and assessed what additional things were needed for this already "full-furnished" apartment - things like a cutlery tray for the kitchen drawer, towel rails for the bathrooms, loo roll holders, doormat etc. etc. - I had to hurriedly buy these (choices, choices, choices) and place them in the apartment. Then having liaised with the builder over the "snagging list", the tenant moved in two days later, on April 1st.
Whilst all this was in progress I also spent a lot of time in March coordinating the recruitment of a new Headteacher at Troy Junior's school. I haven't mentioned much in this blog about being a school governor as the details have to remain confidential. But having taken over as Chair in January, one of my first tasks was this recruitment. Meetings to decide the wording for the advert, draw up the information pack for applicants, review application forms to create a shortlist for interview, decide on the interview process - choice of questions and projects. Then a day and a half for the interview process itself. This all clashed with the apartment purchase requiring a lot of time juggling. I did however find the entire recruitment process (choices, choices, choices) to be a most rewarding and enjoyable experience and I believe we've now recruited an outstanding new HT.
Good Friday was my father's 80th birthday so early that morning we drove down to Bournemouth to be in good time to take him out for a special lunch. My sister and her husband together with my dad's best friend since his schooldays also joined us. Here's my dad, looking a tad silly, but also throughly enjoying his special birthday.
I mentioned before about wanting to buy a property to renovate then sell on (or rent out). No sooner had I bought the new apartment than our local property auctioneer posted their new auction catalogue which had several properties being sold by a housing association. Previously this association used a central London auction house and I was loathed to spend a whole day travelling up to London just to be outbid by others with deeper pockets. But now there were some great local properties being auctioned locally by a small family auction firm that we already knew. We viewed four properties shortly after Easter. At the guide prices they would all make great purchases (choices, choices, choices). Having got the apartment sorted - bought and tenanted - I was looking forward to this next challenge.
Then I got a call from the builder who sold me the apartment. The few remaining apartments in their final phase, the tower block, were being sold off at special low prices. In fact the prices quoted for this final phase were 20% less than I was quoted in March (remember I thought them then a little overpriced). In fact they are actually now going for less than half the price the builders had initially envisaged when the whole development started a few years ago. Troy has an eye for a bargain, so we went back to have another look. These prices seemed just too good to miss - but then I couldn't buy another apartment AND a property at auction. Choices, choices! After a lot of deliberation I decided to buy another new apartment! They won't be finished until the end of May at the earliest but here's a photo of the tower block as it is now:-
My apartment is half way up, so above the neighbouring roofline, with a westerly outlook. With so much glazing it is very light and airy. The balconies have still to go on and landscaping completed, and then they should look like this:
The letting agent went for a look then e-mailed me "I think it is fabulous and a great buy".
So, a hectic four weeks have flown by. No blogging done, but days full of choices, choices, choices. I've spent all my "ready cash" so will now need to carefully watch the pennies over the next few months. Its a shame I couldn't also buy one of the auction properties to renovate - I would really have enjoyed that challenge. I will hardly dare look to see what they sell for in the auction next Wednesday. But no doubt I will.