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Not quite your average photo of a new build estate by Bellway right now, the image above is sure enough a photograph of my new house.
If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter then you might have seen some hammer and wallpaper action going on around the place.
It’s a weird one really; writing and posting about pretty things one minute, and then a building site of skirting boards and scrapers the next, but my current “property situation” is an enormous new life experience for me right now, and I really am excited to document its progress, and potentially encourage and inspire anyone who might be thinking about or doing the same.
I won’t lie; this isn’t the first time I’ve bought a house. It IS the first time I’ve bought one with a single mortgage however. The last house I bought was part ownership, and where I was told it was a good way of getting on the property ladder, the restrictions and “double loan” (one with the association and one with the bank) just didn’t sit very well with me at all.
It felt like I was still renting somewhere, which is essentially partly what you’re doing because a percentage of the property has ownership and agreements in place with someone other than you. At least if the bank owns part of yours (mortgage), it doesn’t restrict you on how you develop the property in future, and you’re certain to make a life-long investment which is ONLY for you from it. The bank simply lend you the money to buy a house with – they don’t care about much else, other than the repayments.
ANYWAY, I digress.
Once upon a time I loved the idea of a ready-made modern house, new build, and couldn’t bear the thought of needing to “do work” on a property. So when it came to buying one this year, my husband and I opted for an 1800s corner shop conversion requiring full renovation and restoration...
So what made me change my mind?
So from that final point on, we realised that a “fixer upper” was absolutely the way forward.
For a price way less than a 1 bedroom terrace in Cambridge centre, we managed to secure a 4 bedroom, 2 reception room, 2 toilet (one up, one down), big bathroomed, semi detached monster from the 1800s, with additional 4 car driveway and annexe, 45 minutes from work, and 20 minutes from a primary station with direct trains to Kings Cross, and a 5 minute walk around the corner to the local town.
What’s the catch? Well, there’s no catch if you want to keep the place as traditional as possible, but for us, there was a face lift needed.
*DISCLAIMER* Before we went ahead with this property purchase, we had a FULL building and structural survey carried out to report to is any major construction defects needing attention. We had our deposit, sure, but we also HAD to consider a separate budget for how we were going to get this place brought up to modern day standards on our wish lists, and regulations before we signed the dotted line. This was ESSENTIAL.
With the building report back, there were several major construction areas needing attention if the property was to continue standing strong for the duration of the rest of our lives (a very, very long time, naturally):
It's easier to pop this into a series of pictures to give you an idea of the starting point on this thing, so let's get started.
Above: Reception room one through to reception room two.
Above: Stairwell to master bedroom and upstairs hallway (The remaining 3 bedrooms are simply box rooms. Nothing of importance to bloat the post with.
Above: Rather dashing bathroom suite
Above: Current kitchen and separate large utility.
Now the exciting things are (in addition to the sheer awesomeness of the potential I see in this place) that unlike a lot of older properties, elements like the boiler and heating are relatively modern and don't require any upgrade! In addition the flooring has been taken care of perfectly, and the uncovered floorboards are gorgeous. Not only that, it appears at the moment that the electrics in the property are up to modern standard too, however there is a chance that the fuse board is below regulation standard, but we've taken note of that and will address it as need be.
I'll make regular updates on the project as we go, and I can't wait to live the transformation.
We do have a time scale, in that our current rental property contract is due to end on the 31st of March, so ideally I am focused on coordinating the building work prior to moving in. Painting and decorating is perfectly fine to live with over the remainder of the year, however I'm not a fan of the idea of living in the surrounds of a building site.
If you'd like to see our kitchen design in progress, you can catch the first installment HERE.
Let's crack on!
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