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New house hell

(24 Posts)
Einsty Tue 16-Aug-11 22:20:49

DH and I bought our first home two months ago, which we thought was a cause for celebration. It is, I know, because we are so lucky to have been able to do it. But, holy shite, did we underestimate what was coming our way? Despite a building inspection, the house is riddled with issues - dodgy electricals and plumbing, and we have been disappointed by the work of a few tradesmen (even recommended ones). The problem is really us not having the least idea. It is costing every bit if credit we can get to put right - and we are still living in one room. We are now looking at all those long years of renting while we tried to save to buy as golden years...

Anyone got cheering tales of home ownership baptisms-by-fire? This will get better, won't it?

nakedandangry Wed 17-Aug-11 01:30:55

I think the house buying home motto is: every house has its secrets.

ie. however extensive the survey report only by living in a place can you realise it's faults. Does that make you feel better? No thought not.

In my current house we discovered (above and beyond all the obvious faults that we adjusted our offer upon) that the previous owner was a keen DIYer and as such managed to fuck up more or less everything; creating his own tangled web of handcrafted pipes for the central heating, polystyrene tiles to disguise unrepaired cracks from historic movement. The list goes on.

Eventually you sort all the faults and make it 'yours'. It might take a while... I had a flat where all my furniture was piled in one room for MONTHs while I sorted the place out.

Eventually it was worth it!

BMW6 Wed 17-Aug-11 08:45:38

Take heart, it DOES get better! The most important issues are electrics & plumbing, once those are sorted out properly by professionals you'd be surprised how much improvement you can do yourself. Get a basic DIY guide book (how to paint, repair plaster, hang wallpaper etc). Buy known brand paint (Dulux, Crown, not store own brand), decent paintbrushes.
You can do flooring yourself armed with a good guide book & start with small room for practice.

The best advice I can give is to keep a contingency fund going (say, 5000 - 10,000) in case of emergency big repairs. If needs be go without holidays for a couple of years & spend time off work DIY-ing instead.

Be proud of your home & have fun!

minipie Wed 17-Aug-11 10:52:27

We are having the same experience. Moved in in April and so far we have had to spend £££ on having the cracked drains repaired, sorting out the previous owner's bizarre electrics. And we're still in the process of sorting out the rotten floor joists and rising damp under the ground floor (joy). This is on top of the (hopefully minor...) subsidence which we knew about before buying! And a lot of redecoration work.

However, it is so worth it. Once this is done we will at least know that everything has been done "properly" and we have uncovered all the issues. Doesn't mean other things won't go wrong of course but hopefully a bit less likely!

What's a bit more worrying though is that you're not happy with the work that you are having done. Are you going round with the tradesmen and inspecting what they have done - at every stage and before it's finished - and checking you are happy with how it's looking? Don't be shy about asking them to fix things you're not happy with - it's called snagging and they will expect it! Do you have a family member or friend who knows more about building work, who could do the inspecting with you - as they might know better what to look for?

Labradorlover Wed 17-Aug-11 14:24:41

Remember although you have no landlord to call to sort out problems, you have no landlord who can make you leave your home.

Einsty Wed 17-Aug-11 21:58:46

Nakedandangry and minipie, I think you have nailed it. We thought we were buying a solid house abd bought in a area we liked slightly less because we knew we knew nothing and needed something without too much to do. But now we are in we are discovering all the bodge jobs and issues - like the previous owner's 40 years of DIY work. He left exposed wires in the roof FFS and the electrician has had shocks twice! It's taking an age to work through everything - so it's taken us ostensibly two months to paint and do the floors. And everything costs so much. One minute you are at Aldi trying to save 20p on your milk, the next you have spent £200 on weird hardware you never even knew existed.

Tradesmen, I despair. We were in a real rush to get I. And I think they can smell it. I feel so ignorant about everything and HATE that the next visitor to the house always says 'oh, you should have chosen x sort of wood, not y' if only we had known! I now realise the only way round this is to get quite a few into quote and ask lots of detailed questions, so you build up a detailed idea of the job and what go wrong.

Einsty Wed 17-Aug-11 22:00:34

P.S. Is it normal to retrospectively hate the sellers and wonder how they could have looked you in the eye as they took your money? <fumes, blames ignorant self>

Hassled Wed 17-Aug-11 22:04:17

It is perfectly normal to retrospectively hate the sellers. Ours seemed like sane, reasonable people - they were bloody nutters. 11 years later most of what we've done is putting right where they went wrong.

minipie Wed 17-Aug-11 22:11:09

Yes, it's totally normal.

Only we hated ours before the sale as well grin

SouthGoingZax Wed 17-Aug-11 22:13:55

We used the website 'rated people' and found a really amazing building firm.
I would recommend the website definitely.

And we are in a very similar situation. Lovely new house. Ooops. New plumbing, new electrics, new water tank, new boiler. BANG go the savings.

CaptainNancy Wed 17-Aug-11 22:16:22

What kind of survey did you have? It sounds like it was done very poorly... maybe time to make a complaint?

nakedandangry Wed 17-Aug-11 22:47:18

Perfectly normal to hate the previous occupants. My family are used to me shouting at the now deceased previous owner when I find another of his marvellous cost-cutting solutions. The loon.

Gonzo33 Thu 18-Aug-11 05:49:43

I bought my house from a woman whose father was a builder and had done all the work on the house for them. Hmmm, I have spent 9 years finding things that I have had to replace/repair.

gregssausageroll Thu 18-Aug-11 08:10:34

A surveyor surely should have p. What picked up lots of these issues. What kind of survey did you instruct?

iskra Thu 18-Aug-11 08:18:29

I know how you feel! We bought a repossession so we knew there might be hidden horrors eg the survey couldn't test the electrics & plumbing because all systems were shut down. Our previous owner also seems to have been a DIYer..

Fimbo Thu 18-Aug-11 13:57:36

Reminds me of a man who used to live a few doors down from my parents. He was a BT engineer, and therefore thought that qualified him as a fully time served builder. My dad's friend's daughter bought the house from him, had had taken away the chimney support and it was only a matter of time before the whole thing fell down. The woman who owns the house has spent a fortune uncovering and rectifiying all his other little diy horrors.

Fimbo Thu 18-Aug-11 13:58:36

Sorry that was a rubbish post. My dad's friend's daughter only found out by chance when a bird fell down the chimney that the chimney support was gone.

confusedperson Sat 20-Aug-11 15:35:44

OP don't worry, that's normal. When I bought my house 2 years ago, I thought we only will need to repaint the walls and revarnish floorboards, and that then the house would be perfectly livable. Since then, we replaced all floors upstairs, renovated bathroom (which looked new but leaked beyond believed), replaced part of floor downstairs, of course painting/wallpapering everywhere, new conservatory (old was leaking and unsafe), fixed gutters, damp wall, not working lighting upstairs, double glazing in half of house. Obviously we hadn't plan to do such an awful lot of work in short period, but it was more like fixing the problems than improving the house. I hated my house with a passion during all two years. Lately, because nothing is leaking or causing another problem, I am slowly starting to like my house... now it is in the condition I imagined I bought it!

Einsty Tue 23-Aug-11 12:26:30

ConfusedPerson, sounds exactly like us. We have spent phenomenal amount of money and just to put things right, rather than anything that is an improvement which might improve out enjoyment of the house or it's value... Feels like money down the drain - it isn't, but we are not going to get it back either...

We had a building inspection, but we are in Australia, so not as formal as in the UK... We are unhappy but doubt we have any comeback other than ranting at the shysters that did it.

minipie Tue 23-Aug-11 12:36:16

"now it is in the condition I imagined I bought it!"

Oh I feel your pain confused. We thought we were buying an "already done up" house, just needing repainting ... several months and £££s of repairs later we are a bit hmm...

microserf Tue 23-Aug-11 22:05:58

i feel your pain! we are new owners... one very expensive but totally useless survey later, we've got a long backlog of work we now find we need to do - before we do the work we knew we needed to do from the survey.

feeling very, very broke at the moment. and very tired of getting ripped off with tradesmen!

Dawnybabe Tue 23-Aug-11 23:06:09

We bought a house last year not twenty years old yet and have discovered the following:

-dodgy wiring throughout entire garage
-dodgy plumbing & wonky cupboards in utility
-dodgy electrics in loft
-no loft insulation
-no cavity wall insulation
-replaced fireplace for one that works
-replaced missing electric cables
-still to redecorate every room over awful cheap peeling paintwork
-probably replace boiler and oil tank-probably replace awful draughty windows
-gut and replace awful bathrooms but we allowed for that
-replace shower wiring as not strong enough and will burn out
-cooker doesn't work properly
-garden needs clearing of bamboo infestation
-guttering shot to bits
-ditto patio
-ditto rendering on walls

...think that's it...

And yes we had a survey and yes we read it. The structure is fine, it's everything else that wants doing.

Dawnybabe Tue 23-Aug-11 23:07:30

And that's pretty much from the previous owner.

Surveys don't tell you about all the little things that only show themselves when you've been living in the house for a little while.

Einsty Wed 24-Aug-11 08:14:20

Dawnybabe, that makes me feel better. We too got the np major structural issues, but the inspector threw in little embellishments like that he would give the paintwork a nine out of ten. Once we saw the house without furniture we saw what rubbish that was!

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