My Experience – Buying a House at 19

Buying a House at 19

“Buying a house is kind of like catching a train, it’s probably going to get delayed.”

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At the beginning of 2019 I made the decision to invest in a renovation project, I was inspired by my parents who have bought and sold properties in the past. I had been feeling a bit useless and life was at a standstill working a full-time job just felt like I was living the same day repeatedly, I needed something to fulfil my goals and regain my energy. Although, I didn’t want to undertake this huge opportunity single-handed, so I came to an arrangement with my parents, this deal being that they would loan me the money to buy and renovate a property, with their help, they would get the entire loan back and any profit would be split between us dependent on different factors, such as:

  1. Time spent working on the house
  2. Work effort
  3. I contributed around 5% of the overall budget, therefore, my share of the profit will be considerably smaller

Fortunately, they were in the financial position to buy the house free of any kind of mortgage or loan for me which saved us a lot of time and hassle meaning that we could jump straight into house hunting. Regardless of my parents help, I made sure that the house was put in my name, I am so thankful for everything they’re doing it was such a big deal to me because it felt like the beginning of something positive in my life. We viewed multiple properties in our local area but none of them quite buttered our bread and we left most viewings feeling rather flat. This being said, it was a blessing in disguise as if it was not for these shortcomings, we never would have found this house

We went to view this house after seeing it online, it simply ticked all the boxes and going to view it was the icing on the cake. My dad in particular just loved everything about it, and so did I! We didn’t hang around, as soon as we finished, we were in the solicitor’s office putting in an offer. Sadly, this offer was at the top of our budget and got rejected, but it didn’t knock us, we wanted this house so badly that we dipped into the renovation budget to accommodate a slight rise in our offer which, thankfully, bagged us the house!

Since then, I have been in and out of the solicitor’s office. I honestly don’t like it, something about walking into a room of extremely wealthy, old people just feels daunting, like they’re totally judging me, and I can definitely feel it sitting in the waiting room. In the office isn’t much better either, I like my solicitor, she is friendly, of course she is (we are paying her…!) but she just talks with so many words that I have to pretend to understand, she could honestly be talking another language and I’d still sit and agree with her as if I was fluent! I’m glad to have my parents sat on either side of me, I hope they’re more clued up than me. One thing I did understand however, was that there was a discrepancy with the plans, which means we have a problem.

Whilst we waited for the sale to process, I decided to start up this blog. I thought that it could be a clever tool to track the progress we make, as I hope to do this again in the future, it would really benefit me to have something to look back on and help me to make better choices in the future. Adding to this, it’s a way to keep me entertained and most importantly, focused, while I haven’t got any jobs to do. It has been harder than I had thought it would be, keeping views and likes consistent and thinking of things to upload has been like a job in itself, not to mention that Instagram is a dog eat dog world, one minute I have 100 followers the next 90 and 80, and so it goes on! It’s hard to keep up sometimes, but overall, I enjoy it a lot. @huntersparkdesign

Hunter and Spark, Family Property Development since 2019

We were updated by the solicitor that they were resolving the issues with the plan and that it should not be much longer before the keys are in our hands, it’s annoying that we didn’t get them a week ago like we had first thought, I can tell my dad is eager to make a start, but as is life.

Aside from my blog, in the meantime I have been making budget plans, drawn some pictures, a spreadsheet timetable (currently with no jobs or times on it yet but I have the layout!) and looking at home inspo on Pinterest to get me prepared for the big day! I think that we will possibly be looking at another week before I can pick the keys up but that’s okay, good things come to those who wait, blah blah. As soon as those keys are in my hands, I’m going to be in there measuring it up and taking photos, I can’t bloody wait.

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Also, another thing I am buzzing about is that summer is almost here!!! 🙂

summer flowers

Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

Week 4 – Property & Final Blog

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I have decided to set a little challenge for myself this month, I have uploaded a blog per week for a month and this, as blog number 4, will be the last. Currently, I am really excited to begin this new project so it isn’t much of a challenge but more of a time killer until my parents and I can get into the house. When I upload this blog, we should have a 12 day count down to the day we get the keys! #happydays I do plan on keeping this blog updated throughout the renovation progress because I think it will make for an interesting little project.

So far, I have written about the structural changes we aim to make, our design views, budget, personal challenges and goals. In this final post for my blog challenge, I am going to share the pictures we have of the interior of the house taken by the estate agents and expand a little on the garden and lean-to on the back elevation of the house.

Garden

The garden at the back is definitely on the smaller side but it still a really good feature to have. It will probably remain mostly grass but we would like to replace those slabs with a nicer looking patio. The gate that is left ajar in the photo above leads into the neighbouring garden which as far as I’m aware holds a shared access. All in all, we will not be doing any extensive work on the back garden but definitely a bit of scrubbing up.

Looking at it from the other side you will see the back of the house.

Back-of-house

Our lean-to is a bit of a nuisance as it sits in the garden of the next house, but it is our property as the utility leads into it. We plan on bricking it up and having a little sky light in the roof of it, just build properly from what is already in place. I think that it is a very ugly addition to the back end of the house so let’s hope it’s easy to resolve.

We don’t have any concrete plans for the garden or lean-to at this moment, we will probably discuss them more once we have come up with a more conclusive plan for the other rooms. It is extremely difficult to draw up anything conclusive at this time as we don’t have access to the building and any plans that we have got lack substance due to missing measurements and such. Even since I wrote my first blog post we have changed our minds and developed our initial thoughts so this whole process is going to be interesting, especially with all the changes.

With the day of entry getting close now I am hoping to start coming up with a bit of a work schedule, possibly pulling together a small Gantt chart but I’m unsure as to how useful it will prove to be because we don’t exactly have time limits or goals to meet. I believe that it would be useful in terms of keeping us focussed and also would be a fun thing to do to track the progress each week.

Speaking with my dad, it seems that the first task will be to get in and measured and then from this, drawing up some actual plans for the building work, getting it all checked by the professionals and submitting these for approval. Although, if you were to ask my mum, she would tell you the first job is to give it a good old clean!

I have attached below the pictures of the interior from the estate agents page!

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Week 3 – Goals & Finishing Touches

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I have decided to set a little challenge for myself, I have been uploading a blog a week this month, and this is blog number 3. After this post, I will upload one more then I should be getting the keys to our new property, so exciting! In this post I am going to write about my personal goals that I want to achieve throughout the duration of this project, what my ‘role’ will be and also expand on some of the little finishing touches I would like to incorporate into the interior of the house.

I am already aware that working with my parents is going to be the biggest challenge I face. We have entirely opposite views on pretty much everything so finding some kind of common ground is going to be tricky. I understand that when it comes to actual maintenance work, there will be no arguments because I am in no position to question any of that work, however, the kitchen, bathroom and new layout are, even now, causing a bit of friction… But it’s to be expected in any work place, different opinions are to be celebrated and accepted, the only problem is finding a compromise, it will just take patience. Another challenge I think I will have to really work against will be fatigue. I have a 40-hour job beside this, and I worry that I will struggle to find the time to really give it my all, but I do desperately want to, I feel exhausted just thinking about it… Other people in the world have it way harder so I reckon that I will just have to channel my inner grafter and get on with it (fingers crossed). My main goals are currently:

  1. Learn to tile
  2. Keep the paperwork in a consistent order
  3. Learn to wallpaper
  4. Learn a little bit about the plumbing
  5. Keep it simple!

In terms of my actual role within the project, I am eager to turn my hand to most things. The professional and more kind of laborious work I will just leave to the professionals and my dad, but I think I will if not willingly, be forced by mum to help with tasks like tiling, painting and decorating. Also, I was quite good at woodwork at school, so I think that I’d be able to lend a hand when it comes to measuring and fitting things like doors, blowing my own trumpet slightly so I hope I’ve not jinxed it, it’s been a long time since school, potential for a disaster…

Furthermore, doing the job that I do has led me to be quite regimented with paperwork, so I am going to take the lead on keeping on track with receipts, paperwork and of course, the budget.  Additionally, this will help with keeping this blog updated on cost and progress. Having a paper bank of all the updates and expenses will assist me in the future when I start to embark on these projects singlehanded because it will give me a clear insight on how much work costs and experience with dealing with specific trades, bearing in mind that every house will require different work. Not to mention, my mum always loses the damn receipts and we have to endure a few days every year turning the house upside down on a proper mission to find everything, if I can avoid us having to do that, I will be very happy.

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The Budget Chart

In regard to the finishing touches I would like to make, I personally think that every house needs to have a little something about it. I understand that it’s safe to paint it all magnolia and have everything very ‘Plain Jane’ but I still think that giving it a subtle personality is important. In all the houses my parents have done, they’ve wallpapered one wall in the house. If it was my house, I think I would have the whole sitting room papered, that is the done thing in these more classic interiors, a soft pattern all the way round. However, this is not my house so we might wallpaper one wall in the sitting room to give it some life, or we might just leave it for the people who would move in. Although, for small bedroom I spied a beautiful cream wallpaper that would be barely noticeable if the room is to be magnolia like the rest, but it has animals like elephants and zebras etched into it in gold; how beautiful would that look in the sun, just a plain bedroom but with the light shining on to a gorgeously drawn design, I think it would be perfect.

As for the rest of it, we will probably steer away from any kind of personality as it might hinder it in the selling process. I was thinking of framing some art to hang up on a wall or 2 just to brighten the place up a smidge but I’ll see how much time I get. I’m also on the hunt for a big gold mirror and a glass frame for those pressed flowers for the ensuite I wrote about in week 2, I think I am getting a bit giddy, but I am awfully excited.

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The wallpaper that I like for the bedroom

https://www.homebase.co.uk/boutique-jungle-animals-cream-wallpaper_p491743

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Week 1 – Structure & Changes

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I have decided to set a little challenge for myself today, I am going to upload one blog a week for the next four weeks. Currently, I am really excited to begin this new project so it isn’t much of a challenge but more of a time killer until my parents and I can get into the house. This week we received a letter of confirmation from the solicitor stating that our offer had been accepted and that the keys would be ours in a countdown of 6 weeks (which at this moment, feels like a lifetime) provided all goes to plan.

So, I have broken down a few topics that I would like to write about now for me to look back on when the project is complete. One of the main reasons I have made this blog is so that in the future, I am able to look back and remember the whole thing, and also to allow me to think about things more clearly and see where it could have been done better. Nonetheless, right here, right now I am going to write about the present layout, the structural improvements that we aim to make and the cost that we hope to limit ha-ha.

At present, when you walk in through the front door, firstly there is a little entrance way and through that you are then met by the staircase in the hallway, to your left a sitting room and to the right we have a slightly larger lounge area. Further on from these, there is the doorway to an extremely little kitchen and a separate utility room with an additional porch area (which is like a small, wooden shed somehow attached to the back of the house).

Halfway up the stairs, we have an awkwardly placed bathroom and then fully on the first floor there is 3 alright sized bedrooms.

floor plan

See below my altered plans: I have made 2 different versions, the only difference between the two of them is the placement of the ensuite bathroom.

ensuite 1

Ensuite Layout 1

ensuite 2

Ensuite Layout 2

Now then, what I would like to do with the ground floor, ideally would be to knock down the dividing wall between the kitchen and lounge. The days of having a 2 front rooms, I believe are well and truly over and additionally, I think it makes for a very anti-social home life. This space would be perfectly sized for an open plan kitchen dining room, it would bring in light from either end of the house using the space inclusively as opposed to divisively. The tricky thing with this job would probably be that this wall looks like a load-bearing wall meaning that the weight of the house sits along this wall and suggests that the wall is structurally important. Of course there are ways to remove it if it does turn out to be load-bearing, as we don’t necessarily want the building to collapse, we could perhaps replace it with an I beam, this would run along the bottom of the ceiling and shift the weight, instead of directly to the floor like the wall was doing, it would evenly distribute the weight to either ends of the room and down walls kind of like a bridge.

Another modification I would like to make to the layout would be to add an ensuite bathroom to the upstairs. The current bathroom is rather tiny so an additional bathroom space would be great in this house. Internally, this building has limited space so it might be tricky to incorporate an ensuite, but I thought, instead of restricting it to the one room, a Jack and Jill ensuite between either bedroom would look really nice. In the plans that I have put my changes on to, you are able to see the kind of design I went for and the effect it would have on the space in the bedrooms. Looking at the plans next to each other, I am leaning more to the 2nd option where the ensuite sits sandwiched between bedroom 1 and 3. I’m no plumber, but it also looks like plumbing could be a bugger, where would the pipes go? Furthermore, the size I used is the same as the bathroom minus the corners I cut out to fit the doors, in the 1st plan there would be no way to make it any larger as it would sit perfectly in the middle of the 2 windows but in the 2nd plan, there would be the option to expand more into bedroom 1 for sure.

Right now, those are the only major changes that we are looking to make (except from the porch but I want to write about that in a separate blog). The roof is also looking like it’s going to need a bit of work but that is way out of my league, so I’ll not bother mentioning the changes that are going to go on with that yet. In terms of cost, I would ideally like to stick a maximum of roughly £1500 on the building work of the designs that I’ve described (not including the cost of the actual ensuite, just the structural work), literally no evidence to support this figure, just a random figure I’ve chosen based on what I’ve been seeing online, pretty pointless even guessing but hey-ho.

I’ve been on Pinterest to find some examples for what I would aim for with the new kitchen/dining room if we do go ahead with the work I have described.  I’ll put their original links in the post too as they aren’t my photos and I’ve got a home design board on Pinterest that I will link below too.

Whilst I was looking for inspiration on Pinterest I came across the website: visualresistance.org, which has amazing content, I found exactly the kind of open kitchen I was looking for. I’ve inserted 2 of the photos from the website, one more country style and the other a more modern, simplistic kitchen-dining room.

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(http://visualresistance.org/kitchens/home-kitchen-diner-design-ideas.html)

My Pinterest home inspo board: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/laurah0939/home-inspo/