It seemed a good idea at the time

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I bought my first house when I was 22.

I’d scored myself a well-paying job and was living rent free at my parent’s house. (I know, I know. So spoilt.)

With the money I’d saved, I put a tidy deposit down on a cute cottage in inner city Brisbane.

I thought I was pretty darn cool and clever. I was a single, young professional happily mortgaged to the hilt, plus I had a wicked party house for me and my friends.

House
While I was clever at saving money, it turns out I didn’t have the smarts when it came to the buying a house rigmarole.

The paperwork associated with buying a house was all too much for my 22-year-old brain. I just wanted to move out of home and party, yo. I didn’t want to drown in paperwork.

When the time came for building and pest inspection I was like, ‘… pfft. N’ah, don’t need that. This old cottage, looks pretty smick. The paint’s fresh, it has a new bathroom. I’m not going to waste money on an inspection. Hand over the keys, stat. She’s mine.’

I made that little house my home and it served me well for years. There came a time though, when Dave and I wanted a house that we could call our own.

We set about the task of renovating the house ready to sell. By this stage, the paint had started to peel, floorboards were rotting, and the front stairs had all but crumbled.

Dave, a little too excitedly, took me on as his apprentice. I distinctly remember him standing over me as I attempted to strip the old lead paint off saying, ‘Don’t make love to it, Renee. Get into it’.

Renovating a house
It was all a bit of fun at first, but as we went on, one issue after another was unveiled.

When Dave was stripping the paint off the chamfer boards with the heat gun, one of them went up in flames. It gave us the fright of our lives and thankfully we contained the fire quickly. We removed the damaged boards that had rotted through and moved on. It was then that we discovered that one area of the external cladding consisted of a wad of paper torn out of the yellow pages crumpled up into a hole, covered with silicone, and a slap of paint. Needless to say, renovating the house was a bigger and more costly job than expected. Dave being the perfectionist that he is replaced every board that was dodgy. We wanted to sell the house knowing that it was in tip top condition. Something the people I had bought the house from hadn’t done.

The problem was we didn’t have much cash for a major reno. Dad put us onto one of his painter friends to help us keep costs down. Dad warned us his ‘friend’ had a tendency to be a little loco on the drink, so we weren’t to let him near any alcohol. This seemed straightforward enough. We didn’t plan on inviting this dude over for drinks. We just wanted him to paint our house quickly and cheaply. It seemed a no-brainer to hire him, although alarm bells did ring when he bought a fridge, plugged it in under our house and put a slab of beer and packet of zooper doopers inside.

By the time the house went on the market, we were over it mentally and physically. After our first open home we had a number of reasonable offers and we thought we were home and hosed.

We certainly didn’t expect the building and pest to come back with major flags on it. The report revealed that several of the house stumps were eaten out by termites. From memory, I think the report described the stumps as straws. The damage was clearly not a recent occurrence and something that was most likely pre-existing when I bought the house.

We were devastated. We’d gone from the high of renovating a house to mint condition, only to find the foundation was about to give way.

As a 22-year-old, I’d been sucked in with the look and location of the house. I was kicking myself that the money I could have spent up front would have saved me so much time and money at the back end. Termites are serious business and they can make a house near unsellable. If only I’d done the right thing all of those years ago, we would have been able to sell the house quicker and without the stress and cost of fixing the problem.

I was quick to learn my lesson and definitely won’t make the same mistake again.

We have annual termite inspections in our new house and if we ever buy again, we’ll be sure to get the all-important inspections done.

Companies like Action Property Inspections can take the uncertainty out of buying a house and give you all the info you need to make an informed decision.

Renovating a houseHave you had any interesting experiences buying, selling and renovating houses? Were you smart enough to get your inspections done?

Linking up today with EssentiallyJess for IBOT.

*Mummy, Wife, Me received financial compensation for this post. As always, all opinions are my own.

62 comments on It seemed a good idea at the time

  1. Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit
    March 22, 2016 at 5:47 am (2 years ago)

    Well done you for buying a home at 22! I got my first home at 25. Luckily my parents ensured I went through all those checks and balances before I signed off. Easy mistake to make though!

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 25, 2016 at 6:23 am (2 years ago)

      Yes, it sure is 🙂

      Reply
  2. Nicole@ The Builders Wife
    March 22, 2016 at 5:48 am (2 years ago)

    The Builder carries out building inspections and is saddened to see the types of things people are happy to ignore, or are trying to sell. I can just imagine how scary it was for you to find out all these quite serious problems existed. I actually think it should be compulsory to have these inspections, just to be sure everyone knows what they are buying. xx

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 25, 2016 at 6:24 am (2 years ago)

      Yes, I think it should be too. There are some sneaky people out there trying to pull the wool over your eyes. I truly was sickened to the stomach to find out the foundation of the house was so damaged with termites. Very scary xx

      Reply
  3. Lauren @ Create Bake Make
    March 22, 2016 at 6:10 am (2 years ago)

    Ok, so I laughed out loud reading about your painter brining his own fridge for beer and zooper doopers – the perfect combination! That would have been scary and disheartening at the same time to receive that type of news. I was like you when we bought our first house, I just wanted to sign the paperwork and move in, luckily I had Scott to sort out all the building and pest inspection stuff.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 25, 2016 at 6:25 am (2 years ago)

      Yes, that was lucky. Scott would have been all over it. That’s just one of the funny stories from our painter. He really put us through the wringer getting up to loads of mischief. I’ll have to share some more stories another time. He was a total loose cannon.

      Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 25, 2016 at 6:26 am (2 years ago)

      Yes, get onto it, Ingrid 🙂

      Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 25, 2016 at 6:29 am (2 years ago)

      It sure was, Jody 🙂

      Reply
  4. Bec Senyard
    March 22, 2016 at 6:28 am (2 years ago)

    We got a building and termite inspection done on our first house that we bought in our early 20’s. We didn’t get one done on our new house but have had subsequent termite inspections since and all is good. How devastating to have the stumps be so riddled with termites. The story still had a happy ending because you got to build your current home. Great post. x

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 25, 2016 at 6:37 am (2 years ago)

      That’s exactly right. Thanks Bec x

      Reply
  5. Mumma McD
    March 22, 2016 at 7:30 am (2 years ago)

    Good warning for everyone!

    Reply
  6. Andrea
    March 22, 2016 at 7:36 am (2 years ago)

    Good times, good times. (The actual living in the house, not the nightmare termites etc😘) xx

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 25, 2016 at 6:38 am (2 years ago)

      They were AWESOME times xx

      Reply
  7. Natalie @ Our Parallel Connection
    March 22, 2016 at 7:53 am (2 years ago)

    My current house needed rest umping and I didn’t want to pay the money. I am glad hubby convinced me as when we do sell, this will be checked and get a tick of approval.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 25, 2016 at 6:38 am (2 years ago)

      Yes, it really is important. Bloody termites.

      Reply
  8. Hugzilla
    March 22, 2016 at 8:21 am (2 years ago)

    OMG that must have been such a sick feeling!!! We’ve been lucky both times with our pest and building inspections and we regularly get termite checks because we are so close to the bush. So far, s good! (LOLing at your hubby’s comment too!!)

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 25, 2016 at 6:39 am (2 years ago)

      Ha! Yes, he’s a character – as was our painter. Termites are such a pest. I never want to have to experience that again.

      Reply
  9. Emily
    March 22, 2016 at 8:28 am (2 years ago)

    Oh, sweetie. Yuck. (Although I did giggle at beer and Zooper Doopers. The ultimate combination!) Great post. x
    Not surprisingly, builder hubby was a stickler for all the inspections and in fact accompanied everyone to each of them. Thank goodness he was around because I would have bought the prettiest one.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 25, 2016 at 6:40 am (2 years ago)

      Yes, that’s what I certainly did. It really pays to be careful. Good on your hubby 🙂

      Reply
  10. Shannon@ my2morrows
    March 22, 2016 at 9:39 am (2 years ago)

    We have pest control everybody months and always include a termite inspection. Good on you for having the smarts to invest in property at 22. Xx

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 25, 2016 at 6:41 am (2 years ago)

      Thanks Shannon 🙂 x

      Reply
  11. Min@WriteoftheMiddle
    March 22, 2016 at 10:13 am (2 years ago)

    I don’t like paperwork either. Hubby deals with that stuff. I deal with the practical and fun stuff. You did well to buy a home as a single 22 year old girl!! My first home was bought 18 months after I had been married (we rented a unit and saved). I think it cost us all of $56,000 or something like that. 🙂

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 25, 2016 at 6:42 am (2 years ago)

      Oh what an absolute steal. Although I’m sure it wasn’t at the time 🙂

      Reply
  12. Vicki @ Boiled Eggs & Soldiers
    March 22, 2016 at 10:30 am (2 years ago)

    We are at the tail end of a renovation on an old house and fingers crossed on the pest & termite front so far so good (although I’m about to get the house sprayed) we had an unexpected rewiring issue which was a nightmare. I’m impressed you bought your first house at 22 though, good on you.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 25, 2016 at 6:43 am (2 years ago)

      Oh rewiring can be costly and stressful. You poor thing. I hope everything is all sorted out now.

      Reply
  13. Ashlea @ Glamour Coastal Living
    March 22, 2016 at 10:41 am (2 years ago)

    Zooper Doopers – what a laugh! 🙂
    It is unbelievable what people try and get away with when selling homes and cars. They are the riskiest and trickiest thing to purchase!Goon on you and entering the property market at 22 – especially in Brissie where prices have skyrocketed!

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 25, 2016 at 6:43 am (2 years ago)

      Yes, it’s very hard for young people to get on the property ladder these days. The prices are near unaffordable.

      Reply
  14. Karin @ Calm to Conniption
    March 22, 2016 at 11:03 am (2 years ago)

    Firstly, hilarious painter story. BYO fridge!
    Secondly, building and pest is always my biggest worry when buying or selling. The reports really get my heart racing! I bought my first house at 22 too and was about the same on caring about paperwork. We were told we must have a building and pest luckily. Unfortunately, we were ripped off by our lawyer though. Oh to be young again. 😉

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 25, 2016 at 6:44 am (2 years ago)

      Oh no! How awful. Yes, to be young again. That’s only the tip of the iceberg with that painter. He was the definition of crazy.

      Reply
  15. Amy @ HandbagMafia
    March 22, 2016 at 11:58 am (2 years ago)

    Oh that sucks! You’d have thought someone might have talked sense into you. Ah well! I’ve and learn, right?

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 25, 2016 at 6:49 am (2 years ago)

      I remember my Dad agreed with me. N’ah don’t waste the money 🙂 Ahh well.

      Reply
  16. Savannah
    March 22, 2016 at 12:38 pm (2 years ago)

    Oh my goodness, you could be writing my story!
    My husband actually was the one who bought this house, before we got together. Now, here we are, with our son coming up to his first birthday, wanting to make a move. We’ve discovered the floor underneath our bathroom and bedroom is completely rotted underneath, and the bathroom was never even insulated! We’ve also discovered a termite problem ):
    At least I see you made it to the other side! That gives me hope..

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 25, 2016 at 6:49 am (2 years ago)

      Oh no!!! How stressful for you. I hope it doesn’t take too much to get it all fixed. Good luck!

      Reply
  17. EssentiallyJess
    March 22, 2016 at 1:04 pm (2 years ago)

    A few years ago we came across a property that was part way through a reno. Normally it wouldn’t have appealed but they were literally selling it with everything you needed to finish the house so we thought we could do it. Thankfully, we listened to advice to get a property inspection done before the auction. Nothing had been done by the book and the inspector (who ended up becoming a friend of ours) was quite sure the whole house would flood if it rained! We learnt then, the easy way thankfully, the value of property inspections.
    Sorry you didn’t have the same experience, but good on you for being it that position at that age. I think that’s pretty awesome.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 25, 2016 at 6:50 am (2 years ago)

      Wow. That is so dodgy, Jess. You have to be so careful with renos. A lot of people don’t do things buy the book and try to get away with it.

      Reply
  18. Cam @ Gen-Y Mum
    March 22, 2016 at 2:30 pm (2 years ago)

    I was the same about my first purchase in my early twenties. When people found out I purchased a home they were surprised cause I never really spoke about it. I use to say ,y dad did everything I just forked out the money. I’ve since grown up a little and do my own homework before purchasing next home.

    Oh that would’ve been disheartening Renee especially after all the efforts to renovate. So do you end up selling it?

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 25, 2016 at 6:52 am (2 years ago)

      A lot of people were surprised when I bought my first home too 🙂 Yes, we had to knock down the price and fix the problem, but we got there in the end.

      Reply
  19. Cathy@lifethroughthehaze
    March 22, 2016 at 2:36 pm (2 years ago)

    Hubby & I have only ever bought one house (the one we live in now), my mum keeps wanting us to move closer to her but that actually means uprooting the kids and changing schools life everything. I can’t bring myself to actually want to move until such a time as we are making a big change if that makes sense. I keep thinking about all the legal costs, stamp duties and moving costs of moving house just for the sake of it when the house we are in now pretty much does our needs. Of course I would love a new kitchen, new main bathroom, extra bedroom but that won’t happen. My parents wouldn’t let us buy a house without an inspection plus I used to work in real estate so there are lots of little things that I look at to see what they are disguising that others wouldn’t lol. We all live and learn! You won’t buy another house without pest and building ever.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 25, 2016 at 6:53 am (2 years ago)

      You would definitely be in the know as a real estate agent. I totally understand you not wanting to move. It’s such a massive ordeal. I’ve moved so many times in my life. I’m very happy to stay here for the rest of my life 🙂

      Reply
  20. Tegan
    March 22, 2016 at 4:57 pm (2 years ago)

    My parents learned the hard way not to get a family friend to do the pest inspection. There was a reason the council, despite living in a small town and him being the only pest guy, preferred to hire someone from the next town over. He was old, and not really good at his job. He failed to detect termites and after my parents had already bought the house they discovered that a lot of the floor boards needed replacing.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 25, 2016 at 6:54 am (2 years ago)

      Oh no!! That is the worst. You think you’re doing the right thing, but the person helping you doesn’t have the right skills. Terrible.

      Reply
  21. Vanessa
    March 22, 2016 at 6:24 pm (2 years ago)

    There are so many things I have no clue about in buying a house!

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 25, 2016 at 6:54 am (2 years ago)

      It’s a big deal, but worth it too 🙂

      Reply
  22. Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid
    March 22, 2016 at 8:11 pm (2 years ago)

    I don’t have much time for paperwork but I’ve learned that it pays to dot the i’s and cross the t’s and do all the inspections. That said, how cute was your house, termites and all!

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 25, 2016 at 6:55 am (2 years ago)

      Yes, it was very cute. I loved my time there 🙂

      Reply
  23. Sarah @ Bubsandbeans
    March 22, 2016 at 9:21 pm (2 years ago)

    What a great post, very informative. It’s amazing how many people don’t know the importance of Pest inspections.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 25, 2016 at 7:00 am (2 years ago)

      Yes. You live and learn 🙂

      Reply
  24. Toni @ Finding Myself Young
    March 22, 2016 at 10:15 pm (2 years ago)

    We didn’t do a building and pest inspection when I bought my house either {I was 22 as well incidentally}. I’m really hoping it doesn’t come back to bite me when we sell!

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 25, 2016 at 7:01 am (2 years ago)

      I’m sure you’ll be fine. Mine was built around 1910 from memory. That in itself should have had warning signs on it 🙂

      Reply
  25. Jo @ You had us at hello
    March 23, 2016 at 12:48 am (2 years ago)

    Oh Renee – I could cry in frustration and heartbreak for you! I bought my first place at 19. Lucky Mum and Dad read all the paperwork for me and guided me along the way. I think they wished they had done it themselves at a young age so hence it happened. Did you end up selling the cottage? Were you sad to let it go or very over it by that point. Great to have those memories xx

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 25, 2016 at 7:02 am (2 years ago)

      Wow. Well done buying a house at 19! Yes, I did sell. We had to knock down the price AND fix the issue. We got there in the end xx

      Reply
  26. Robyna | The Mummy & The Minx
    March 23, 2016 at 7:33 am (2 years ago)

    Not only important at the time of purchasing a property, but yearly inspections too – my parents have just had to deal with a termite infestation that could have been avoided with regular yearly checks.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 25, 2016 at 7:02 am (2 years ago)

      Termites are scary business. That’s for sure.

      Reply
  27. Alix @ thebuilderette
    March 23, 2016 at 8:47 am (2 years ago)

    My husband’s a builder and recently went to a potential customer’s house for a look. Found a huge amount of termite damage and basically all the timber frame will need to be replaced one room at a time! Not a good look and a lot of work and expense. Building inspections can’t uncover every problem, but they can certainly identify issues like termites and it’s much better to know ahead of time!

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 25, 2016 at 7:03 am (2 years ago)

      Oh my goodness. Those poor people. I can imagine how stressed and overwhelmed they must be feeling.

      Reply
  28. Kylie Purtell
    March 23, 2016 at 10:53 am (2 years ago)

    This reminds me that we need a pest inspection stat, it’s been years since the last! We keep putting it off though because we don’t have the money to actually fix anything the report might tell us needs doing! Must get it done though, and then find out about re-financing so we can get it all sorted. Best to do it now while Dave still has a good paying job!

    P.S. I so would have done the same thing at 22. Actually no, I wouldn’t, because I wasn’t even responsible enough to be in a position to buy a house, lol!

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 25, 2016 at 7:05 am (2 years ago)

      Lol. Yep, the inspections can be expensive and are such a pain but a wise idea to get them done regularly. Just like servicing a car which I should have done a long long time ago 🙁

      Reply
  29. beck @crsftypjmum
    March 23, 2016 at 3:08 pm (2 years ago)

    How awesome are you buying a house at twenty two.
    Such a good warning for others setting out to buy their first home though, always get building and pest reports done.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      March 25, 2016 at 7:06 am (2 years ago)

      Yes, so important, Beck 🙂

      Reply

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