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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.
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’.
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.
Linking up today with EssentiallyJess for IBOT.
*Mummy, Wife, Me received financial compensation for this post. As always, all opinions are my own.