blog, by cristina lanz azcarate
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Happy where I live?


Three and a half years ago, my husband and I decided to buy a property… He is into economics (as a hobby) and so we were aware of a more than cloudy horizon ahead of us, which meant that our normally carefulness with moneys turned even more so.


In Britain there is something called stamp duty and it basically is a benchmark to identify the level of contribution you must make to the government at the time of purchasing a property . To cut the story short, if you exceed the limit of a band, you automatically pass to the next one up, which means that you feel even poorer … It is such a draw back that many agents pay it for you as an incentive to purchase one of their homes…


Anyway, moving on, as I was explaining, my husband particularly was convinced that the crash was going to happen even earlier than the end of our first “first fixed term” on the mortgage, which meant that before Xmas 2008, we would have to re-evaluated the value of the house against the then to be current market…. (Looking back it seems amazing that he knew all this… and I must admit that ever since, I have never argued about this kind of subjects… if he says something is going to happen…)


For anyone who has decided to buy a house, the picture must sound familiar: You don´t have a lot of money and so you want to buy what you can, without stretching. The problem is that what you could at the time was small, pokie and charmless. Badly converted flats were the order of the day and frankly we were getting bored by the time we came across our home. I had begun to feel that architects are the worst possible clients to an estate agent… picky, worried about things which nobody else does, thinking about how to change everything…


In the 70s, Camden had (even if i might say so) the bestest architectural department in town. They were delivering exemplary pieces of social housing amongst which the estate were the house that we found is. So much so, that many still are current, and featured all over Europe… In Christmas for instance, we attended an exhibition in Toulouse (France) about social housing in Europe, and our estate was featured.


Both of us knew it. I even had a book on plan typologies which featured it… I remember the day we walked towards it to see the house for the first time… Before we even entered the house, my husband had already begun to ask me to buy this place, and by the time the lovely Mary opened the door to us, we knew, that if we managed to have our cheeky offer accepted, we would be living there soon.

Now, years later, although we possibly have the noisiest rudest neighbours around, with a cat that keeps on pooing in my plants, I still wake up each morning happy where i live. It is not posh, it is not elegant, it is not Victorian… But like a neighbour told me a couple of days ago: it is 2 hours and a half from Paris!

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