Appearances can be deceptive, and other moving tales

Having blogged back in February about jumping head first and putting an offer on a local property that we were not really ready to buy, we finally exchanged and completed on the 22nd.

Excitement and trepidation had been building for some time, and with the help of friends and family we prepped and packed virtually everything that could be prepped and packed. Every room was thoroughly cleaned as it was emptied and once the keys were in our hands, we were away!

messy living room with upturned furniture
Moving day chaos with upturned sofa

My expectations were high for the new house, having been showcased as something that we could just move in to. With recent improvements to the bathrooms, a relatively modern conversion in the garage, new-ish windows, a decent kitchen etc it ticked all the boxes. I wasn’t keen on some of the paint colour choices, but smother everything in magnolia and you can’t go wrong (at least in the short term).

Unfortunately, life is never that simple. The move itself was fine, I’m never particularly bothered about packing and moving, but every day since has thrown up challenges.

The whole house was dirty with dog hair and debris like false nails left in drawers and in the carpet in my son’s room. There’s windows that jam, the extractor hood over the hob blew on the first use (and not just a fuse, it’s actually fucked). None of the internal doors fit properly in their frames which means they don’t shut properly, there’s no hot water and we’re not sure why, the back door drops in the frame when you open it and it won’t shut again, and there’s a mystery leak causing water to seep through the garage which seemed minor at first but we’ve just discovered is also affecting the cupboard under the stairs so suddenly becomes a big deal.

Walls had been painted between our initial viewings and the sale for some utterly bizarre reason, and every paint job was terrible with the various previous colours showing through brush marks on the walls. There’s screws half-in door handles, we removed a pinboard that was attached to a wall with an entire packet of blu tack, and we found a mystery Christmas present under the stairs. It wasn’t even a good one.

The smell of dog, probably not helped by the water leak, is overwhelming despite vacuuming the carpet again and again and suddenly explains why she had a lot of air fresheners running during the viewings. There’s scratch marks in doors and the conservatory windows where they were obviously shut away during the day.

Every house has its quirks, and it’ll take time to find and fix (or come to terms with) those in this one, but the huge disconnect between my expectations and the reality is crushing.

Update 2018-06-05: having ripped back some of the vinyl in the converted garage bathroom this morning, the leak appears to be coming from the shower, which is a lot easier to fix than if it were e.g. coming from upstairs. Still a twat, but less of a twat than I thought.

Lead photo by Stephanie Watters Flores. Not my new house, obviously, I’m just being dramatic.

Jem Turner +44(0)7521056376

5 comments so far

  1. Amber said:

    Wow! Seems like you had a lot of surprises. All houses seem to have. I wish you good luck with the repairs, but I know at the end, you will have a pretty amazing house for your family.

  2. Kirsten said:

    Wow that’s a lot to contend with as a first time home owner, which I am assuming from what you said you are but I could be wrong, either way its a lot! Hope things settle down and you get the shower fixed and the dog smell I am sure will eventually fade just as you clean regularly but its still a real pain :(

  3. Shola said:

    I moved into my flat, and there was huge problems.

    There was a huge debt on utilities which are all paid for by pre-payment key so we had to get it fixed and prove we now lived there. The conservatory door won’t close or open without someone pushing it from the outside. There was old house utilities such as two fridges, old sofas left on the patio (that we then had to pay the council to take), the light bulbs that went out were actually fused in the sockets so we have to replace the whole light fixture. The taps in the bathroom will only close if you wiggle them so a minute, toilet now won’t flush. There was a gap in the floor where mice were coming in which was covered by a sofa. The washing machine that was left, leaked. The inside of the cupboards in the kitchen under sink has completely collapsed. Out of five sockets in the house, two work. The cherry? Beneath a box we found a tank with a live terrapin – previous owners pet.

    I was very upset at the situation, but as I fix shit, I feel better.
    So believe me when I say, I feel ya. And I’m so sorry this happened to you.

    • Jem said:

      Oh jesus, what a bloody nightmare – the electrics sound properly fucked if bulbs are fusing in the fittings?!

      I would say I’m surprised by the live terrapin, but volunteering at a cat rescue I know we get quite a few cats that are just left behind by owners when they can’t be arsed to take their pet with them on a move. People are utter dicks :(