New Years Eve, 2018. Myself and Jack were out day drinking in Norwich. At the time we were renting a two bedroom flat in Jesmond (just outside of Newcastle City Centre). We were paying a sizeable amount of our salaries in rent and bills each month and the flat was actually fairly run down. So, in various pubs around Norwich we hatched a plan, to save as much as possible for a house deposit so that we could finally buy our first home!
We are both research scientists working at Newcastle University. Jack researches liver diseases and I research prostate cancer. Because of this, we thought that we needed to be close to the city centre and focussed our search on where we were living in Jesmond and neighbouring Gosforth. Within our budget we could comfortably buy a flat in the area, and potentially stretch to a terraced house.
We had previously written out our list of things we wanted in a property; things like a separate kitchen and living space, room for a separate shower and bath and also a garden. It was looking like we just wouldn’t be able to afford a garden in the area that we were looking at, and so we made our peace with it. Then one night we were watching one of my favourite TV shows, Kirstie and Phil’s Love it or List it. The premise of the show is that a couple are trying to decide whether to renovate the home they’re in or buy something else. To my absolute delight one of the episodes was in Gosforth, the area we were looking to buy. Phil took the couple to Whitley Bay, a town on the North East coast, about a 15 minute drive from Newcastle City Centre.
The penny dropped! We regularly travelled out this way for days out. I was actually born out at the coast and knew the area well. Jack grew up right on the sea front down in Great Yarmouth. There are local metro links meaning that we could get to work in 30 minutes on the train. Most importantly, we could afford a house with a garden!
We frantically checked RightMove for the next few months and fell in love and lost out on 3 other houses. It turned out that loads of other people had had the same bright idea to leave Newcastle and move out this way. Then one day I refreshed RightMove and a house in our dream area had just come on the market. I rang the estate agent to book a viewing and was told I was the first person to ring (it had been live for 5 minutes). When we got to our viewing there we’re 4 other families in there and someone else had made an asking price offer without viewing the house. I knew as soon as we walked in the house that I’d fallen in love with it and we agreed to match the asking price offer. Fortunately, the house buying gods were in our favour and our offer was accepted!
The house was totally run down and needed renovating from head to toe, but, it was in our dream location. My favourite part of the week now is our early Saturday morning walks along the sea front. A bit mad to think that we have Kirstie Allsopp and Phil Spencer to thank for that.