The Property Ladder

money down the toilet2008 is so far turning out to be a year of lucky breaks for me. Round of about the closing days of December of every year I run around telling everyone I meet and ringing up my long suffering mates to say that the next year is going to be the best yet. That the platform is finally there for the good ship Bolo (and by association the Groover) to reap the dividends of years of late nights, furious thinking, growing hard work and sadness and loss for the ones we left behind.

Of course, things never quite pan out quite that way, as the weeks and months fly by and you settle into old patterns, shelve plans for movie scripts and get on with scheming about Friday nights down the pub, late night donner kebabs, and keeping out of argument with your work colleagues on a day to basis.

But this year I was doubly determined and so far, whisper it mind, I can confirm that things are going smoothly. As an example, (and the only one that seems fair to talk about here) my prognostications of doom about the house buying have turned out to be untrue. After a brief spate of viewing unsuitable shanty town properties and shirking my property searching responsibilities I let upon a fine flat in the distant shire of Ealing which seems perfectly adequate for my needs. Following a couple of days of offer making and general estate agent rinsery I find myself with an offer accepted and the thought of imminent financial ruin offset by the delight in a good deal, done quickly allowing decent living and (perhaps most importantly) preventing any sort of return to the parental mansion.

Those of you who are familiar with the crazed world of English property buying will be quick to point out, that an offer accepted is by no means a done deal. That now I must be wary lest I get gazumped (which twat invented that word?) by some plumbait or be fearful of a poor survey result or the chances of the process dragging on for months and months. However, for the moment I am content to ignore these concerns, and to revel in the possibilities of progress, an escape from the suburban dark ages (well semi-escape), the prospect of choosing life, a wide screen television and a well stocked fridge full of fine delicatessen delicacies and strange and obscure liquors.

It’s funny because years ago, when I was younger (inevitably), more foolish and sometimes more perceptive, I realised the link between the system (the man) and the property-ladder and the dangers it posed to the best intentions of the individual. To illustrate: As a generally socialist and free-thinking individual I am not down on the asylum seeker or the junkie seeking therapy. I feel for the kids on corners hanging around with nothing to do rather than put their hoods up and shit up old ladies with their mobile phone tunes. I am free to do as I please, to leave the country, to stop work for months at a time or to spend my wages on loud music and trainers.

As a home owner, I have to start worrying if someone builds something down the street that affects the value of my property. I have to keep an eye on mundane percentage figures and the economy. The bank will own my soul and in times of trouble can finally turn the tables and seize my worldly assets if I get unctious or refuse to pay my offensive debts. Oh yes debt. Debt to the hilt and beyond, the kind of staggering figure which is so large in terms of comprehension of salary, overdraft and that jar you keep with your bits of change and carpet fluff, that it is a figure without meaning, an immense pound sign that owns your soul, hangs a noose over your children and threatens to shut down your brain if the web work stops coming and the coffers dry up.

Home ownership takes away a little of your freedom to do as you please and forces you to stay within the confines of society. It keeps you pushing towards the big bucks and putting your feet on the faces of the proletariat. Ah Marx, you never saw London house prices coming.

Still, I wanted to do it. Partly peer pressure I guess. Didn’t want to be the last person in my group to own a small bit of space, four walls and a three piece suite. But also something deeper. Maybe something in the classic adage about an Englishman and his castle. After all these years of flat sharing and seeing the washing up pile up while the walls get covered in the dirt from scuffles, exploding bottles and office chair rides down the stairs, the urge to claim a place of my own. A safe sanctuary where no fucker, be they landlord, drunken pal, or wandering gate crasher can rain on my parade. A place to plot future plans of world domination, to escape from these petty provincial despots and to create great things in peace and safety.

Jesus, that sounds like a distant dream. Like an advert for a car, or maybe Playstation 3. A perfect hermitage in a digital landscape, but I’m not sure. I think there is some resonance here. I think this could be the right way to go, that this place of tranquility could exist for real. Perhaps most importantly that it could be the right time to set up headquarters, that it probably is about time that I get some space, convene my best generals and plan the next (ideally mortgage clearing) epic campaign.

Ah well, who knows. The deal is done now and tomorrow the estate agent will be ringing to advance the process. I could duck his call, plead insanity or a lack of clean underwear, but I am pretty certain this will not be the case. I will answer the phone with a gag ready for him to laugh at (he’s paid well to laugh at my jokes), and the great wheel, despite my best efforts, will keep turning.

3 Responses

  1. Dan says:

    Tentative congratulations old bean. Ealing’s alright, innit mate. Got family r’aand there. Don’t rely on the fact that drunken mates won’t still be around to mess you about though. Homeownership never prevents that.

  2. Dan says:

    What’s the news old chap? Should I send out for champers and a batch of Asda snack packs, or did the weasels get in first?

  3. Groover says:

    Still doing all the surveying and general extra bits of money taxing flim-flam. If my associated and overpaid experts give it the green light, I think it’s a done deal…

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