On first looking, it seems there is a huge number of available properties, but the vast majority of them are for sale at prices way beyond anything we could ever consider - this includes most of the short assured tenancies being on the market at the same time! I really don't think they should be allowed to put tenants in without telling them up front that the house is also for sale!
It's hard to believe that so many people must be living such precarious lifestyles, trying to establish some sort of normality, building a home for themselves and their families, yet having no real form of security regarding the roof over their heads.
Countless, fruitless phone calls have been made from here, many home reports studied and a few properties visited, but we're still at the start of our search. I reckon that the best thing to have come out of this situation, so far, is discovering the true value of Google Maps. What a God-send!
Having lost the car the same week we found out we were losing the house, this has left us pretty much stranded in our rural rental, relying almost entirely on the kind help of our neighbours. Google's online mapping system, however, has saved us a small fortune by way of travel expenses. Being able to sit in the comfort of the livingroom in front of a roaring log fire, while gliding virtually around the local towns, streets and villages to view locations and amenities is fantastic! Better still, 'visiting' postcodes corresponding to the estate agency property details allows for all sorts of exploration.
I'm not sure about anywhere else but rental properties seem to move really quickly here, especially those priced under £500. That's a huge amount of money for some of us but I guess it will seem a drop in the ocean to big city dwellers with good salaries and everything available on their doorsteps. That lifestyle all sounds very tempting, but 'the biz' is not for us - we appreciate the peace and quiet and love our frugal, rural way of life, pursuing a semblance of self-sufficiency while earning everything else we need from home.
I called about another house this morning, one we saw yesterday. (We've been up and down that street a dozen times on Google over the past 24 hours!) We need to wait for the property agent to contact the owners, first, then get back to us. I'm guessing that won't be today, as it's now just gone 5pm and I've been on tenderhooks all day!
Of course, this is Friday... another weekend of not knowing. We'll be waiting and watching, wondering if there'll be any updates to websites or any new ads appear anywhere. We'll be wondering if the owners will meet up with friends over the weekend and strike an agreement elsewhere. I've blogged, forum posted, phoned, tweeted and contacted everyone I know in the area to alert them to our quest for a new home, so don't be scared to contact me with anything you hear of if it's in southwest Scotland.
Our turn will come, I know it will. In the meantime, we need to sit out another weekend waiting for Monday and the relevant offices to re-open.
It's a horrible situation to be in, knowing you have to pack your entire life back into boxes without knowing you have some place to move them. Like I said, this is only day 17 of 66, so we have another 49 days left to complete this next big 'challenge'. It's rather weird thinking that seven weeks from now we'll need to have found a house, emptied a garden and moved our entire lives elsewhere, yet we have no way of knowing where that might be. I do know one thing for sure - it won't be too far from all the great friends and family we have around here.
Much number crunching will be going on this weekend to see how best to cope with not being able to find a rented property in time. Who knows what tomorrow might bring? I wonder if the weather will improve? I wonder if anyone will catch a glimpse of the aurora borealis if the sky clears tonight? That would be a once in a lifetime experience and might just help to turn the tide of bad luck that seems to be flowing over many of us. At least we know the tide WILL turn.
Hoping to keep you up to date with the progress and also hoping none of you reading this is in a similar situation. Catch up again soon - keep on frugaling!