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Our renovation nightmare!

Written by Redrow

27 Aug 2020

It can be tempting to buy a ‘project’ home, picturing yourself paintbrush in hand, discovering DIY skills you never knew you had. Sadly the reality is often very different and what seems like an exciting challenge at first can quickly become a nightmare..

From spiraling costs, delays and unexpected problems to the strain it can place on relationships and work-life balance, most people who have undertaken a major home transformation have a catalogue of alarming anecdotes to tell. In this article we hear from three homeowners far from keen to repeat their renovation experience.

We didn't know what we were letting ourselves in for

Megan Jones and her partner Phillip McGrath recently reserved a brand new Redrow home in Greater Manchester, after previously undertaking a revamp.

“We stripped our first home right back to the bare walls,” Megan explains. “We would spend days and nights stripping off the wallpaper. I remember one night just sitting on the stairs crying and thinking it would never be over.

“We just didn’t know exactly what we were letting ourselves in for and there were lots of unexpected extra costs. For example, some of the walls were uneven so we ended up knocking down a wall. Then we found the whole property needed rewiring. We couldn’t live in it for four months. 

“This time I just wanted something that was ready to move into.”

We found ourselves bickering

Linda Moore and her husband renovated a large Victorian semi that needed massive amounts of work. She said: “Craig and I had never really argued in all our time together but we were so tired from working full time and doing the renovations and under such a lot of stress that we soon found ourselves bickering over the silliest things. One job always seemed to lead to another and we even ended up with a collapsed drain under the driveway due to the weight of a skip! 

“It all worked out eventually and we did end up with a lovely home. However, being an old house it was still a money pit and needed constant repairs and maintenance. So, after a few years, we opted to sell up and downsize to a new-build apartment with one eye on our future retirement.”

It's never-ending

First time buyers Kate Logan and her partner Chris Whitehouse bought a 1930s semi to refurbish in a bid to save money. “We could see the potential of the house and we knew it could be a lovely home if we put the work in but five years on and we still have a huge ‘to do’ list including a new roof, it feels like it’s never-ending,” Kate said. 

“We’ve knocked down walls, completely renovated the kitchen and bathroom, redone the electrics and re-plastered every room. I didn’t appreciate the time and effort that goes into organising tradespeople and how expensive jobs can become – the stress and financial burden at times has been huge.

“If we’d known what we know now five years ago, we’d definitely have considered buying a brand new home instead.”

Keep in mind

Even if you aren’t planning a major renovation, general maintenance and repairs on an older home can multiply over time and, if you don’t keep on top of upkeep, major problems can arise.

New homes are protected by NHBC Buildmark or equivalent 10 year warranty giving buyers extra peace of mind. 

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