After finally viewing some properties, prospective buyer Isaac Williams is optimistic that 2022 is the year he secures a first-time home

Last year I mentioned, with a degree of confidence, that spring/summer 2022 was going to be flat-buying time. By now, past me hoped I would be closing in on a two-bed place in south London with a bit of a garden and some lovingly aged oak flooring. There would obviously be a fireplace, too, and a really expensive-looking set of French patio doors.

I had been told this type of ‘manifesting’ – sending positive thoughts in the atmosphere, with the hope of making them real – was a good thing to do. But it seems results can take a while to be realised…

What with one thing and another – namely, an injury related to attempting to ski for the first time, followed by a long-overdue bout of Covid – this year got off to a less than flying start, and the quest to buy hit a snag.

Property viewings

Thankfully, though (putting the world ending to one side), things are looking up again, and over the weekend my fiancée and I finally got the ball rolling with a couple of viewings.

For the first – a first-floor flat not far from Gipsy Hill station – the estate agent sweetened us with the pièce de resistance: a fully insulated garden office (and a decent-sized garden to go with it). Our eyes lit up. Having spent the past two years working five metres apart from one another in a cramped living room, it represented some sweet escapism from overheard Zoom meetings. I imagined the best-selling novel I would inevitably be inspired to write, secluded from the world within these four walls. But then we were shown the rest of the flat…

It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great: low ceilings, a narrow hallway, tiny kitchen, and a few small signs of disrepair hinting at worse problems beneath the surface. Being one floor up, there was also a viciously steep set of stairs to contend with. ‘Tough after a few drinks,’ I said. ‘Tough with a pushchair,’ said my partner, leaving me to reflect on whether I was quite ready for this adult business after all…

Busy main road

Happily, despite sitting just off a busy main road, flat number two was much more up our street. A private side entrance was a good start, and though technically a basement flat there was no shortage of natural light. To the right of the hallway was the nicely laid out living room (wood flooring), with kitchen attached; to the left, a few steps up to the split-level bathroom, second bedroom/office and master bedroom. Everything felt nicely put together – homely.

The rear garden was shared, but clearly well maintained (as a leasehold building, every flat pays a monthly amount towards general upkeep), there was an off-road parking spot out front, and it was all within budget. We left with a sense of relief: even if we don’t go for this place, we should be able to afford somewhere we don’t completely hate.

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