Moving to Scotland (in a pandemic) – Episode 6

A bench in the foreground, surrounded by tall trees and misty mountains in the background

It’s been 9 months since the last episode of this long-ass tale, but in those 9 months, a lot has happen.

When I last posted, we had yet to make an offer on a house but we’d viewed three houses over the course of two weekends. The first house was a former coach house in Selkirk and had a beautiful location, but the house itself felt wrong somehow – neither husband nor I felt like we could make it into a home so we very quickly ruled it out. It was a real shame because the drive there was beautiful (the drive back was terrifying as snow hit very suddenly which no one was prepared for!) and I would truly have loved to live in that area.

The second house was incredible – a farmhouse dating back to the 1800s, but the owners had renovated it beautifully. Their sense of style was amazing, and I could see us moving straight in without having to change a thing. At the end of the hour-long tour, the owner was very frank with us about the situation they were in – they had secured a sale which had fallen through, and they were now on a very short countdown to moving abroad so needed to move quickly. She also told us that the offer they accepted was for £110,000 more than the sale price – a fact that nearly made me fall over in shock. I think I managed to smile and nod through that revelation without making myself look unprofessional. I drove away from the house almost angry that I’d allowed myself to fall for something so far out of our league.

The final house was different again – a sympathetically extended croft house which had the most amazing bathroom in a glass cube attached to the back of the house. I fell for this one instantly as well – the location wasn’t as good as the first two as it was right in the Glasgow commuter belt, albeit with about enough land so it wasn’t like we’d be overlooked. I could picture us living here, cosy around the fire in the living room in winter, sitting in the garden in the summer.

Over Christmas 2021, we had lots of conversations about what we’d do, and we decided to put a bid in for the third house. We faced a nerve-wracking week as we waited for the bidding to come to a close, but then our solicitor told us that we were unsuccessful – ours was the second highest bid. I think it was quite telling that neither of us were particularly disappointed and we didn’t think it was worth the money that the successful bidder offered.

As all of this was going on, the estate agent from the second house had contacted us and gently encouraged us to make a bid. Apparently, everyone involved with the first sale thought that the original selling price was insane so they weren’t expecting anything near as high as that. We spoke to our solicitor who thought it was worth a try, and we could offer them a quick turnaround time as we weren’t in a chain. So a bid went in, and we again waited for the outcome.

We were the second highest bidder again, but this time, the sellers chose us – apparently, they really liked us when we met back in December and they wanted to sell to us. I screamed when Husband told me – I couldn’t even say that this house was my dream house because it was so far above what I expected to find. This was next level.

Sadly for us and the sellers, Covid delays meant the process took about three months longer than everyone expected it to. There was a lot of bureaucracy again (just like the sale of our house in England) and every day, we expected to get a phone call from the sellers telling us they were dropping out.

But, at the end of May, I found myself in the estate agent’s office collecting the keys to our new home, and we spent the first two weeks of June moving from west to east Scotland. After two years of living with pretty much everything we owned in boxes, we unpacked and rediscovered things we’d forgotten we owned. I now have a guest room where people can stay, I have my own office space to work from, I have a utility room (which is an odd thing to be excited about but I love it so much!). I’m only slightly terrified of how we’re going to maintain our garden which is about an acre, and we’re trying not to think about whether we’ll be able to get to a gritted road in winter (we might need to invest in a big freezer).

A white farmhouse with blue skies

Almost six years ago, I sat looking up scottish jobs in The Pineapple in Dunmore, ever so slightly convincing myself that we could do it. Three years ago, our Texan friends asked what was stopping us. Two years ago exactly, we pack up everything we owned and drove 400 miles north in the middle of a global pandemic, house not yet sold and uncertainty around every corner.

And now I sit in my dream house in my dream location, so thankful that we finally got here.

If only I could pull off the accent.

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