Buying a house
We bought our house around 18 months ago. I’d been a tenant for many years and to say I was glad to see the back of landlords and property managers would be a vast understatement. Buying a house was a big dream realised; no more uncertainty, no more leases, no more dodgy repairs, no more fighting with agents at the end of lease to get my bond returned. In my own home, I could so many things without anyone else’s permission.
Knock down walls, paint, hang pictures, change stuff around, install things, remove things- whatever the hell I want!
But home ownership is a funny thing and you learn a bit about yourself along the way.
You are a DIY critic
We keep finding the bodgiest home DIY jobs done by former owners. And we are not shy in our critiques (to each other). The wonky front door frame, the uneven bits of tiling, the frankly slapdash painting efforts. Don’t even TALK to us about the kitchen cupboards! You should have heard us when painting a room and carrying on about the total lack of proper sanding and prep done prior to the last paint job. What a smug asshole you are when pointing out what other people did a sloppy job on.
It’s all well and good to be that smug asshole. Until you get halfway through prepping a single wall and want to cry because your arms hurt and you fucking hate painting and why is it so HARD to not mess it up???
You realise how unobservant you can be
When we viewed our house, they had Kmart-decorated the shit out of it and shoved everything they owned into wardrobes. It looked amazing. The hot tub was bubbling outside, the bench tops sparkled and the floor was spotless.
We didn’t check the toilets- one lid broken and the other the wrong size so that it physically can’t stay open unless you wedge yourself onto the seat with the lid resting on your back. Which is kinda good, because it looks like they tried to pour some kind of resin down the actual toilet. Not the greatest of ideas as whatever it is set pretty firmly on the bottom of the loo. It isn’t going anywhere and it isn’t pretty.
We didn’t check the fancy looking taps (we’ve already replaced two) or if the free-standing bath was properly anchored (it’s not). We didn’t look behind the master bedroom furniture to see the two holes randomly cut into the wall (wtf, guys, just WTF?) And when I saw a walk in pantry, I didn’t notice the strip along the floor that was completely unsealed, meaning you can sweep in their and it goes to directly under the house and I don’t know if I’m bothered about that unsealed bit or if it actually speaks to my lazy, housework-hating soul. I didn’t have a clue what to look for when buying a house, beyond size and a nice-looking kitchen.
You are SO trusting! Too trusting!
“Oh yeah, the spa works great. The thermostat is a little temperamental though!” We totally believed them.
Turns out, that is real estate agent for “The thermostat does not ever work. It’s not even working now. That mist you see? Frost. Not steam. It’s stone fucking cold, forever. Those heating panels on the roof? Decorative. Ornamental.” We didn’t even think to check the lid, because it was open to show off the bubbling water. If we did, we’d have seen that it was damaged as well. Sigh.
Buying a house is huge and expensive and scary and yet it can involve people who will happily lie to you about what you’re buying. (I know, I know, #notallrealestateagents)
What even is home maintenance?
This is something I asked myself, because when you rent, landlords do much of the maintenance. Which consists of eventually being forced to fix broken things after much protest on their part and much quoting of legislation on my part.
Upon buying a house, I realised I knew very little about looking after houses, which is a weird feeling because I’ve lived in one most of my life.
My step-mother taught me about cleaning out the air con filters each season, but was that all I had to do? Thankfully, my friend Nicole at The Builder’s Wife put together a post on this very thing when I, in a panicked realisation that I knew nothing, Jon Snow, asked her to point me at resources. (What a legend, by the way.)
Turns out you have to get your aircon serviced and check for termites and clean out drains and all kinds of other stuff that I had no real clue about. Who knew?
You also legitimately suck at DIY
This has been an entertaining revelation. For all my hyper-critical observations about my home’s former owners, I am no better at doing the house stuff.
I am actually terrible at painting. Patching and sanding? Not my thing. I can use a hedge trimmer but I don’t love it and I’m not great at it.
We got a leak in the roof once and I panicked and rang my husband like it was 1954. He did fix the leak, but, bless him, also put his elbow through the wet plaster of the ceiling. And I’m not even mad about it. I’ve convinced myself that it adds character. We have a vague notion about how to fix it but it will probably take a year or two to get around to.
You will buy cheap things then be annoyed at their quality
We’ve all seen the ads. When it comes to screen doors, you want a Crimsafe. Those other ones aren’t Crimsafe-tough with patented something or other technology blah blah blah, expensive. Bunnings have a metal mesh screen door for a fraction of the cost!
You will buy it, it will take literally hours to install due to dodgy, uneven door frame. Then, you will be shocked when, one night, your 35kg greyhound doesn’t notice the door is closed and comes charging through it, ripping the metal screen out of its anchoring. Shocked. He was fine, by the way. The door, however, was completely fucked.
Likewise, the $25 shower-head set you bought? When the washers start to crumble the next day, you’ll be appalled. It turns out, you really do get what you pay for. And it sucks because you’ve just gotten this huge debt because of the whole buying a house thing, so how are you meant to afford all this stuff?!