WOW! What a few days it has been. After what has seemed like an endless house sale/ purchase process we finally got the keys to our new house 10 days ago. The search started in August and after receiving an offer on our flat in early October we were lucky enough to find our dream house within days.
But over the following weeks / months I doubted whether or not the move would go ahead when the exchange and completion dates were changed on several occasions but finally after battling with solicitors and estate agents for months we have the bare bones of a lovely home and I’d love for you to follow my journey as we turn it from house to home over the coming months and years.
We were aware the house was in need of some work to bring it up to scratch and having renovated our flat we weren’t daunted by this, I also suspected that it would need a good deep clean before we could start unpacking so I had kept all of the cleaning materials very handy in preparation. However, nothing could have prepared me for the nightmare scenes that awaited us as we entered our new home for the first time.
The Estate Agent arrived with the keys as we posed for photos on the front doorstep, beaming smiles across our faces, but in less than a minute elation turned to devastation. As the Estate Agent took a final photo of the three of us, a lady appeared in the doorway wearing a boiler suit – my initial reaction was ‘amazing they’re having the house the cleaned ready for us!’ But as I entered the hallway and looked around, I quickly realised that wasn’t the case, the lady was from the removal company and the previous owner hadn’t yet packed her belongs, let alone moved out! The frustration of the previous few months boiled over, I was angry, upset and most of disappointed at how selfish someone could be.
A quick walk around the house revealed the enormity of the task ahead and I feared we wouldn’t be able to unload our belongings until the next day. Mr B began conversations with our solicitors whilst I tried to find a solution with the removal companies as they needed the van at 7am the next morning for another job. Within minutes we both became increasingly frustrated with the attitude of the previous owner; she didn’t seem to recognise that she no longer owned the house and didn’t once apologise to us for the inconvenience. After a quick stroll around the local park, I took myself and Flo to the pub to try and calm down leaving Mr B in charge of co-ordinating operations back at the house. Eventually at 630pm we had access to one room into which all of our belongings were unloaded for the night. But as I first feared they were still some way off clearing the rest of the house, thankfully I’d been able to download a series of Friends whilst at the pub, so the 3 of us sat cramped on the sofa, surrounded by boxes as no less than 20 people walked in and out of the house to remove years and years of clutter. Finally at 330am they were ready to leave for the final time, but not without a parting shot warning us that the garden was laced rat poison!! The next hour was spent searching the house for any signs of traps and poison, as the last thing we needed was an emergency trip to the vets. Not the relaxing first night I’d imagined in our new home!
Unable to sleep for fear of roland crawling over my face I got up as light broke and started cleaning. Sticky rat traps were removed from inside kitchen cupboards with great difficulty and I used every cleaning product available to remove grease and dirt! With a good dose of elbow grease the kitchen was starting to look good but upon opening the last set of drawers I found 3 dead shrivelled rodents (I’ll spare you the photos) whereupon I burst into tears again. How selfish could someone possibly be that they wouldn’t mention at anytime during the legal process that they had an issue with rodents and how stupid can you be not to check any traps you’ve set!
After a little temper tantrum rational thinking came over me and I decided there was no point in crying or shouting anymore and I got on with the mammoth task of cleaning each room. By the end of Sunday we had a kitchen, bathroom, living room, dining room and bedroom and Mr B had cleared the garden of two rotten sheds removing all final traces of poison. The first stage of the clean was complete. But what I have learnt:
- Moving is STRESSFUL!
- You need a good solicitor to get things over the line and be there to help if there are any issues after the move
- If you have any doubts over the cleanliness of a property you’re purchasing, don’t try and do it all yourself in one day! Ask family / friends for help or employ professionals or if that’s not an option take it room by room, don’t burn yourself out on day one no matter how tempting it may be
- Don’t assume that everyone has the same morals, just because you left your property clean enough for someone to move into, it doesn’t mean others will do the same
- Remain calm and focussed
- It will all be ok in the end.
As I sit in my nice new dining room watching the snow fall outside everything is starting to look brighter, new furniture is starting to be ordered and we have big plans to start painting this weekend – if the snow clears enough for a trip to B&Q!
Mrs B xx