We decided to make a weekend of our visit to Kent and stayed in a lovely Airbnb that I managed to snag for less than £35, including breakfast). The weather was cold and a little drizzly but that didn’t matter. We were on a mission.
Since booking the initial viewing on Tuesday, I had lined up a second property to view an hour after the first. Although not one we were seriously considering, the opportunity to nose around another curious property that we had known about for several months was too much of a temptation to miss out on. Then on the day before we were due to visit, Mrs FmC tacked on a 3rd viewing for around lunchtime. This was a nearby apartment that, again, wasn’t a serious contender – but something about it intrigued us and it would give us something else to compare.
So on Saturday we were up early and set off on the approx. 2.5-hour drive to the Kent coast. We arrived outside the Airbnb (where we could conveniently park for free) around 20 minutes before our first appointment at 10:00, giving us just enough time to walk downhill into the town centre.
The estate agent was waiting for us outside the small retail unit on the ground floor of the property, which is where we started our tour. My first reaction was that it was a lot smaller than I had envisioned from the photos! The agent then broke the news that the current tenant was about to vacate next month, taking advantage of a break clause after only moving in sometime last year. Not what we wanted to hear.
We then spent some time looking around the maisonette above – which was spread across the remaining two floors of what was presumably an old mid-terrace townhouse originally. Again, it seemed so much smaller than the photos had led us both to believe beforehand.
After around half an hour of poking around, we exited the property and shook the agent’s hand. I stopped recording on the small action camera I was holding throughout the viewing. We felt a little disappointed, having got our hopes up and travelled all this way for this one particular property. Perhaps it was not meant to be.
We walked around the local area discussing the property before heading to our 2nd viewing at 11:00. This was just a bit of fun and we enjoyed looking around. The owner happened to be there as well as the agent, so it was interesting to get more background on what it had originally been used for. We had already come to the conclusion that estate agents really don’t know much about the properties they are selling – having failed to answer many of the questions we had over the past hour or so.
So with the second viewing complete and two hours to kill before our final appointment, we headed to a local pub for a drink and something to eat. For a late January (wet) weekend at the seaside, the place was quiet but still had a certain charm about it. We chatted about how we were still excited to be here for the weekend and would make the most of it regardless. It felt like home.
With a few minutes to spare we headed to our 3rd viewing at 13:30, where once again, the estate agent was already waiting for us. After a brief introductory chat, we headed towards the rather scruffy looking door to the ground floor apartment we knew very little about.
We had assumed this was a communal front door – considering we saw no other way of getting to the two properties above. But we were wrong! We walked straight into a large open plan apartment!
Oh. My. God. We were instantly blown away by the sheer size of the place – especially after looking at the two previous properties. The hallway area opened up into an island kitchen area followed by the main living space. Off the hallway was the main bathroom and next to that (opposite the kitchen) was the master bedroom complete with en-suite.
As we walked further into the apartment and into the main living space we realised just how practical this could be. As well as wanting to downsize from our current 3 bedroom house, we were also keen to find somewhere with open plan living at the heart of it and this place was beginning to look ideal. The original wooden floorboards and raised stage near the wall of light at the end of the room looked magnificent. Off this area was a set of stairs heading down to the second bedroom – which I instantly thought would make an ideal study for me.
It was clear to the agent that we were both excited and impressed. This wasn’t what either of us was expecting. Our mood totally changed and we couldn’t stop cooing and clucking over the place – already picturing how we would lay things out, what we would do with the space and more importantly, where we’d put the fruit machine we had long since talked about for our forever home.
But this was a leasehold property. We would have unknown neighbours above and beside us. There was no outside space. No parking. Limited natural light. But it was in the perfect location. A quirky bolthole with character. A stealth apartment only a stone’s throw away from glorious sandy beaches and more shops, bars and restaurants than we would know what to do with.
Could this be our forever home?