I have been caught up in the chaos of the English property market for nigh on a year now, and in that time have lived a very basic existence centered on marketing and selling my home and finding and buying a new one, whilst going through the motions of standard day to day existence.
It has astounded me how such a vital and money making business, in one of the world’s more powerful, established and developed countries, could be so bloody badly regulated and stress inducing.
Although I’ve been one of the lucky ones with a cash buyer and no chain, I still had my initial buyer drop out at the nth hour and only managed to not lose the property I wanted to purchase, through a huge amount of work, pleading and general luck.
I sold my flat to clear debt built up many years ago, when I still had a credit card. I opted to pay back the money, rather than sell up and go bankrupt.
So for seven years I struggled. It is only in retrospect I can see how much of my time and focus was spent worrying about money and budgeting. Searching for the best deals, selling books and clothes and jewellery, walking everywhere and growing my own vegetables so that I could eat.
I was grateful, so grateful, for friends and acquaintances gifts of old clothes and left over makeup that would make me presentable for work. Having guests to stay or visit was a major issue as I rarely had enough food in the house for myself let alone others.
Meeting people for a coffee and perhaps a film was a very carefully budgeted for expense, and the possibility of my resident felines becoming ill would cause huge anxiety.
I struggled on and paid back a most of the money owed but decided that I was tired of living like this. It was time to let go of the house and move on.
Okay I haven’t come out of this transaction wealthy but I am not in debt. I can eat well; even catch a bus instead of walking home.
I no longer need to let myself be exploited at work because I am so desperate financially, and I have much more time as I am not so focused on a surviving on a pittance.
I’m feeling liberated in some respects, and enlightened to the difference the house sale has the potential to make on my life.
In the last month whilst I’ve been between homes, I also haven’t had access to my art equipment (and writing held no interest as my mind wasn’t clear enough to produce anything beyond a surrealist psycho-babble) which created yet another realisation.
My life’s main focus and joy is centered on my creative process. My social life has long been an extension of this but the last few weeks I’ve experienced a more mundane lifestyle, oriented around work, relaxed and sociable gatherings and days off that involved other people rather than me my glue, bones, gas mask and music. A wonderful change but not one I would like to make permanent as these activities simply don’t give me the same joy and passionate purpose as my obsessive pursuit of my art does.
So. All these revelations in my process of change lead me back to my original question.
Why does a country as ‘civilised and ‘advanced’ as England, have such a stressful, messed up and chaotic property market?
Could it be to discourage change? To make the property market and any potential lucre involved within it, only for those experienced with ‘the game’?
Whatever the reasons I’m nearly finished the process and looking forward to a future without debt, without the vulnerability that lack of money creates, and with my focus once more on my great and necessary passion: ART.