Home, Home on the Quay
Looking for an apartment for the next 8 months proved challenging. We had specific parameters that were at odds with the market:
- Pets: Very few rentals allow pets: I’ve asked around a bit and it seems that people either keep their pets against their landlord’s wishes or they buy a home. Because there are so few apartments that allow pets you have to be the first caller to secure a viewing in order to even have a chance of getting the apartment.
- Student Apartments: Quite a few of the rentals are “student lets” i.e. leases run the length of the school year. I’ve even seen a few clever promotions that offer students a pass to a nightclub when they sign the lease. The rules are different for student lets as you have to register with the local government and obtain a special license.1
- Furnished: It’s common to find furnished apartments which I rarely came across when looking for apartments in the states.
- Holiday Lets: Because Bournemouth and Poole are hot destinations for Brits in the summer months, some desirable apartments are short term lets to maximize profit during the warmer months.
Even with all these limitations we found an absolutely gorgeous house in Bournemouth that had everything we wanted: three bedrooms, a “garden” aka yard for the dog, and it was furnished to boot. It was recently remodeled by a contractor and interior decorator husband and wife team. It was a dreamy house with a high ceiling in the kitchen and lots of natural light. But there was one big catch: we could only negotiate for a 7 months lease and we would have had to move at the end of November on our own dime. We considered it but ultimately decided that the expense and inconvenience of moving in the winter couldn’t justify the benefit of living in such an enchanting space. I was stuck on living in this seemingly absolutely perfect house but I knew that it just didn’t make sense. And I was afraid that we wouldn’t find anything nearly as nice that allowed pets. The heart wants what it wants, but the head knows best.
So we kept searching. We toured a house that was amazing! right on the water in Bournemouth. But the house felt more like a weekend getaway than a home: it was somewhat neglected. I could tell the little things would have gotten old and wouldn’t have felt like home longterm. We contemplated a small three floor apartment that ultimately felt too small for more than one person. And we fell in love with a posh house in Christchurch that had the most amazing bathroom with LEDs lining the tub and a huge secret-garden-style yard. But none of them were just right. So we went back to the internets. Oh, the agencies we called and called! But struggle we did, for the perfect combo we could not find.
Now at this point my heart was still hurting that we had to let go of the beautiful house in Bournemouth, and we were getting discouraged and stressed about finding a place to call our own. We were tired of living in our small furnished apartment and were ready settle in for the year. So I said my prayers and asked for provision, not thinking that any place could compare to the Bournemouth house. Then after a night spent anxiously hunched over our laptops feverishly scouring listings, Andrew found a newly listed prospect and called to book a viewing.
So we waited ’til our appointed day and toured the apartment. And it was everything we were looking for! We signed the paperwork following the viewing. We were both so relieved to find a place to live. And I felt at peace.
Now we are moved in and while our apartment did not at first seem as dreamy as the Bournemouth house, I know we are in the right place and my heart is at peace (and I also really love our apartment). You see, I set my heart on living in Bournemouth because it is quite hip and has lots going on, but in the end our Poole apartment ended up being a better choice than the house in Bournemouth (even if the lease length hadn’t been an issue). If we had ended up in Bournemouth, I think I would have felt very isolated: Our Poole apartment has a stunning view as we are right on the quay. We very close to the high street, grocery store, and the mall. I can walk to coffee shops, the pool, the library and the gym. We live right by a huge park where Ezra dog can play and frolick.
So yet again, God knew best and provided something that would be for my good, even better than what I had set my mind on. And I feel like He even said, ‘ see, I am watching out for you and really do have the best things in store’ because we moved from the Ballard neighborhood in Seattle to Ballard Road in Poole: I don’t believe in coincidence, but I do believe in providence. Thanks be to God. We are grateful.
“If the property has three or more storeys, five or more unrelated people living there, or there are two or more households living there, you will need to register your HMO with the council and secure a license” http://www.independent.co.uk/property/house-and-home/property/if-you-want-to-let-to-students-then-do-your-homework-9101637.html ↩