A few weeks ago, I bought my first house! Woop Woop! I didn’t want to write about it during the process, as I’m not one to ‘count my chickens’ or ‘measure up the curtains’, but now I can tell you all about my purchase and the work I’m doing on it. After what seemed like forever of saving, I was finally able to buy a house. I’ve gone down the route of buying a house solo and without any help to buy or government schemes, I don’t really ever trust the government that much and I’ve read things about houses being overpriced on these schemes and people going into negative equity immediately after purchase, so I felt it simpler just to buy all the house, at full price, all to myself.
I was able to buy a bungalow in a great Cornish North Coast location, just moments from the beach and for a really good price. I decided to buy an older house that was in need of renovation instead of something newer. It wasn’t the easiest choice to make but a few things swayed me:
1. New car syndrome – New builds just like new cars, have marked up prices for their newness. This newness doesn’t last forever and can often cause depreciation in price – Just like driving a new car out of the showroom.
2. I love DIY – I love improving thing and doing the work myself. My VW T4 is my pride and joy because I’ve done most of the work myself. I honestly think that even if you’re not a specialist, that if you are doing something for yourself, you will take such great care and attention to detail, your job with be comparable with a labourer’s.
3. Choices – If you get a new build you get a few choices between doors, tiles etc but when you renovate a house you get to choose between literally anything. I can choose any make of kitchen, any unit and style. Choice is great!
4. Personalisation – No one wants to live in a show home and all home buyers are going to want to make their mark. What’s the point in paying a premium to buy a new house and then personalising it anyway. Renovation gives you the ultimate opportunity to create your dream home. I’m even going to take out a wall I don’t like.
5. Space and quality – It’s not news to anyone: newer homes are smaller and more cheaply made than older properties.
6. Value for money and profit – Buying a home in need of renovation is cheaper and if you are smart and do the work yourself, like I will, gives you great scope to make a pretty penny.
This is the lounge on the day I got the keys; lovely, big, light and with some pretty gnarly wallpaper and carpet! Loads of awesome potential but some pretty dreadful 70s and 80s decor to tackle first.
The first course of action for us was demolishing that monstrous cabinet. With the help of my new Draper Expert Saw and Combi Hammer Drill, which I’ve purchased for all my DIY, we set about making fire wood of the old cabinet.
I really like how the Combi Drill has an LED light which illuminates whatever you are doing, this is a great feature especially when working in poorly lit areas or the evening. The tools certainly did their job and within a short while we had a lovely big pile of bonfire wood and a massive space, where it used to be, against the wall!
The house’s previous owners certainly loved textured wallpaper of every colour and variety. There wasn’t a room in the house that wasn’t covered in the stuff. I am definitely not keen on this and wanted to get it gone as soon as possible. The main offender was the pink, thick textured stuff in the lounge and the wallpaper in the master bedroom which featured many beige squares!
On the first full day in the house, I drafted in a wallpaper stripping army. With an Earlex Wallpaper Steamer as our weapon of choice, we went to work. The wallpaper stripper was easily worth the money spent on it and it made the horrifically tedious and frustrating job an absolute breeze. Without any prior scoring of the paper and with just 10 seconds steaming, the wallpaper almost fell off the walls. We used it in three rooms over the weekend and it even worked magic on the corridor which had three separate layers of wallpaper, all painted!
The job was almost impossible without the Earlex and I’d thoroughly recommend using one, even if you are just stripping one room! It lasted a long time with one fill of water and had nice safety features and different attachments so that you can get into tight corners and spaces.
Here is the lounge after being stripped of all wallpaper and given a lick of primer on one of the walls. It was already a big, airy and very light room, thanks to the huge double glazed window but now its lost the dark, nauseous wallpaper, it looks even modern and spacious!