The crowd here in our North Wales caravan park are already showing signs of taking wing and running on before the winds of winter. Time for us to find a more permanent home, too. Time for me to learn the tricks of buying real estate in the UK.

Estate Agents:  Firstly don’t look for a Real Estate Agent. They’re called Estate Agents. Maybe the ‘Real’ is dropped here because you’re likely to not purchase property (called freehold) but to rent it (called leasehold). In many cases the lease can be for 999 years, which might be tricky for your descendents when they renegotiate the ground rent in who knows what currency.

Prices: At first glance the house prices may look deceptively cheap. Make sure to convert square meters to square feet. You may find you’re looking at a walk in closet sized house. Buying a ‘one up one down mid-terrace house’ would be similar to buying a converted central stairwell in an American apartment complex.

This place, even though it is called Little Moreton Hall, was big enough for us but unfortunately it wasn’t for sale. In fact it has never been for sale in its 500+ year history.

Plumbing: Make sure there is indoor plumbing. If there is verify whether the plumbing is in the walls. Some Brits are so proud of their indoor plumbing that they would never think to hide it in walls.

Little Moreton Hall should have immediately been off the list had we known that the WCs were in obviously added on, three story outhouse towers (called garderobes). There is no plumbing in this case. Look through the hole and find the moat 30 feet below.

Closets: Verify whether there are any closets at all. In the case of Little Moreton Hall the closets were the garderobes. Apparently the smell of ammonia prevalent in the garderobes kept lice and moths away from clothing.

Undermining: Check that the foundation has not been undermined by verifying that walls and floors are all true. The only thing ‘true’ in Little Moreton Hall was that it made Erica seasick.

For now we’re feeling very lucky to have the caravan as our home for the time being. More house hunting adventures coming soon.

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