Sourcing a Home: What I wish someone had told me when I bought my first house
My first house was an Edwardian terrace (details coming soon). After a year of searching, infour different neighbourhoods, we finally found The One. It had a bay window, carved stonework over the windows, high ceilings, coving, stained glass over the front door and best of all the original fireplace in the living room. I was a smitten kitten from the moment I entered the hallway.
Man I loved that house, but I wish someone had told me a few things:
- How long it takes to remove wallpaper, re-plaster, and repaint a room? Yes paint does take a long time to dry! It would be helpful to have that estimate in terms of weekends spent doing home improvement of some sort or other including wandering the aisles of the nearest DIY store.
- If at all possible and if you can afford it, remove wallpaper and re-plaster before you move in – the dust, oh the dust and when you empty that room to re-do it where do you put all that stuff? Oh yes you will have furniture in your kitchen that isn’t supposed to be there.
- How it is virtually impossible (without spending at least 10k or more) to put a downstairs toilet in a terraced house without feeling likea) you are going to the bathroom in your dining room (if you can fit it under the stairs) orb) your kitchen (if the layout means you can carve a 1 metre square space out for a toilet and small sink). As for a utility room forget it.
- Hold out for a house with a cellar if at all possible, this can solve the problem of where to fit a second bathroom or an additional bedroom.
- With ageing parents, a leg injury or a small toddler you are going to need a downstairs toilet sooner than you think.
- Do what you can as soon as you can, every project I completed I wished I done it sooner because it makes such a huge difference.
- Alternatively, it is equally important to identify some project which you can’t face due to cost, mess or fear – for example what might lurk under the textured wallpaper on the hall, stairs and landing. I think some of the textured wallpaper on the landing was holding the house up.
- Consult an objective friend or colleague who has never seen your house to advise you regarding your first offer to prevent you from offering too much too soon.
- If I had known how much off road parking was going to save me in car insurance costs I would have held out for a house with a driveway. In a city like Manchester this can make a BIG difference.
- Storage is the key to maintaining a good relationship with your other half. The comedian George Carlin – A Place for My Stuff should be mandatory viewing for all house hunters great and small.