Week Two: 5 Lessons for New Home Owners

Danny the electrician calls me ‘boss’, mum calls me ‘project manager’ – what matters is, I’ve got the power.

And with great power, comes great responsibility.

So… many… decisions.

Week two home owning

I bought this house knowing nothing about buying houses and doing them up. I feel like my vocabulary has been expanded with all the new words I’ve learned from my six trips to B&Q this week, all the electrician’s chat, and everything I’ve needed to buy.

I wrote most of this while the electricity was turned off, ready for one of the least exciting ways to spend a few grand – my house being rewired. The internet is OFF.

It’s been a fun week, busy and I’m so tired, but entertaining.

I’ve been to London to pick up my award for third place in the AITO Travel Blogger of the Year Awards (just thought I’d drop that in there, and bold it up), and this Friday morning I’m here again for Hamburg on Tour.

Current situation

My parents are at mine with plasterers and electricians all over the house, while they try and find somewhere to sit for longer than two minutes where they’re not in the way. I just suggested the car. 

As for my house, the conservatory is almost done, and the kitchen is pretty much finished too – for round one anyway. Downstairs is a quickie job, until I make more money to do it properly. It’s been non stop with keeping up with my travel writing work, and the house, but I know I’ll miss it when it’s over.

Week two home owning

I added to my property portfolio this week with a shed at the bottom of my garden. OMG it’s beaut. I bought it from a little timber merchant in Southsea who, coincidentally, had made one the perfect size for me, for someone else, who’d decided they didn’t want it. Father makes a great shed model, as you can see.

Smells amazing in there.

5 Lessons for New Home Owners

I’ve learnt a lot this week. But for now, here are the key lessons I’d recommend for all new home owners…

1. Have somewhere to sleep and wash

Every room needed/s redoing in my house – from floors, to walls, to electrics – but all the bathroom needed was a bathmat here and a few accessories there. I’m so glad I don’t have to deal with choosing and installing a new bathroom. To have somewhere nice to shower and get clean has been special. It’s all new and nice, and clean, and serene. I’ve also got a decent toilet downstairs, OUTSIDE.

So happy that was all done.

I did have an overlap of one week with my old flat, and my new house – patting myself on the back for this decision. Originally I didn’t want to spend the £100 extra, which essentially felt wasted, but it was so good to be able to cycle home and sleep in my bed while I was sorting this place out. Obviously this depends on how close your old and new places are, but it was so useful. I’d say keep your old place for as long as you can, if you’re totally redoing it like I am.

2. Get your family and friends to help

Week two home owner

 

– Ooo look at that lovely smooth wall, and that colour, yes. 

If my mum and dad, and friends, hadn’t come to help, I would’ve still been sat staring at my to do list, or maybe wandering round B&Q aimlessly wondering what paint does what. Buying a house is hard, but then when you have to decorate it, foolproof it and get it liveable by yourself, with no clue on anything, it’s even harder.

I’ve had a great little team this week, who I could only pay back by taking them out for dinner and offering as much of my Air Miles-bought wine and Prosecco as possible.

If friends and family seriously offer to help, take them up on it.

3. Get a few quotes for any work, and organise them

I needed the electrics doing on my house, I knew that before I bought it – it’s an old place. And it turned out as I flipped the ceiling tiles off and took some wallpaper off that I’d also need the whole place plastered.

I used checkatrade.com and invited a few 9.5-star+ tradesmen (where are all the women?) to come and take a look and give me a quote. Unfortunately they arrived when my house was a little crazy with people, and I kind of got confused who said what and when. Would’ve been great if I’d actually had some sort of system to make a note of what people had said and who was who. I ended up going with the ones who could do it the quickest, seemed the friendliest and answered all my (probably stupid) questions.

They seem great, so far, but just keep notes. Oh, and expect to pay more. Apparently I needed my whole lighting system looked at too, and I’m prepared for the plasterers to find something wrong too.

4. Organise a credit card

 

– That fireplace will be white next time you see it 🙂

I was advised to sort out a 0% Purchases and Balance Transfer credit card before I moved into my house, but what with Papua New Guinea and everything else, of course I never quite got round to it. Now I’m applying and it’s all complicated because of how many times I’ve changed my address recently.

Would’ve really helped me out to put that shed on credit. Wish I’d had this sorted.

5. Make a plan and stick with the essentials

I had a plan. Roughly it was to do downstairs on the super cheap – as in paint over the wallpaper – and to do upstairs properly with the plasterer and all. But then the electricians came in and seeing as it’d only ever been Phyllis living there, she didn’t have nearly as many electrical needs as I do. Danny showed me the current voltage, which is meant to be 2000, but on this old system, was 28. 28! I’d blow that charging my laptop and phone and plugging the kettle in, surely.

So yeah, financial and decorating plans went out the window.

I think it’s a good idea when you have a new home to work out the few most important tasks, and to get at least one room liveable, and then the rest can wait till you have the money and time to do properly.

It doesn’t all need to be done straight away.

Jobs done this week

Painted kitchen

Pictures up in kitchen

Tidied up kitchen 5 million times

Cleaned conservatory windows

Electricians have rewired the whole place, sockets and lighting

Got a shed

Filled the shed

Steamed old paint off walls

Put up the retractable washing line

Flowers planted in the front garden

Underlay pulled up

Three trips to the rubbish tip

Security light fitted

Five trips to B&Q for the garden, lights, paint, locks etc.

More keys cut in anticipation of me losing them

Rods up

Front garden done

Second week of owning a house

We thought the first little corner of the house was done, but then the electricians arrived, and it all went to pot. But here’s the photo evidence of progress.

Loft conversion

Oh there was some super exciting news this week – my loft is definitely big enough for two bedrooms with a conversion. One day. Not this year. Or next. But one day.

Next week

Next week I’ll have some lovely photos to show you.

Maybe not of any finished rooms, but definitely some smooth plaster work.

Hope you’re excited!

More on being a home owner

Week One of Owning a Home (Trashed the Place)

I’ve Bought a House!

The Coolest Things to Do in Hamburg, From 13 Travel Bloggers
6 Great Reasons to Visit Saas Fee in Summer

2 Comments

  1. by Chadwick on October 20, 2017  12:23 pm Reply

    Only 3 trips to the tip!
    You're slacking! Any time I do any proper DIY (which frankly I avoid like the plague), I end up needing a season ticket for the tip. If they did them. Which they don't. Because it's free. But you get my drift.

    • by VickyFlipFlop on November 1, 2017  8:43 am Reply

      Ha, it’s definitely been a lot more than that now ☺. I get your drift. I need one too. Trouble is, I don’t actually have a car so it becomes more difficult. I have to save it up for when my dad comes and he can take it for me. Probably need to get on that.

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