Sunday, July 22, 2007

Homeowners' blues in B-flat

Swings and roundabouts, Squirrel says.
If you rent a place, the landlord is obliged to carry out repairs free of charge, but you're always conscious of the fact that your home is never really yours. However, as good as it is to be a homeowner, everything is your own responsibility to fix and it all comes out of your own pocket.
Last year, our boiler needed replacing. But we didn't know this at the time. So we had a new water pump and valve installed, which we hoped would solve the problem. It didn't; it was a waste of £500. After suffering through an entire winter of nothing but space heaters to warm our rooms up, we realized that not only had we been misled, lied to and had highway robbery committed against us, but that we also had no choice but to install a new boiler. The cost: £2,000. We both needed to renew our loans to recover from that charge.
Shortly after this fiasco, we noticed our bathtub was sinking and the toilet was leaking. Emergency repairs were carried out on the toilet, but we knew it was only a temporary measure. Then, a few months later, the bathtub actually cracked and, as a result, water was leaking into the disused space below us. And so we recently had a new bathroom suite installed: new tub, new toilet, new sink. And it's great. It's wonderful. But it cost £350 and the floor is bare due to the fact that they had to take away the carpet.
Now we're looking to re-carpet the bathroom—and our foyer while we're at it. This is also good as the bathroom carpet was filthy and the foyer carpet is only slightly less so. But it means more money to be spent and more workmen in our apartment during hours when I'm supposed to be curled up, dragon-style, in bed. (You can bet that once the new carpet is laid down, Squirrel and I are going to institute a strict no-shoes policy in the flat.)
Then there are some electrical problems, such as burned-out wiring in the bedroom which renders our overhead light worthless and strip-lighting in the kitchen which needs to be fixed. We'd like to get the living room and bedroom carpets professionally cleaned. The windows need washing.
It's always liberating to come home to a place that is truly yours. The only caveat is, if you own property, you find out that the responsibilities of claiming your own spot in the world can sometimes really do your head in.


John Dent said...

Look on the bright side, you might get to learn Polish while the builders are there! Haha!

kristen said...

Yes, homes can be a constant upkeep. But they are worth the investment because they are one of the few things in this world that actually appreciate in value.

Anonymous said...

Er, make that £2,500 for the new boiler, plus two new radiators at £500 each. And the bathroom was £350 to install. The actual tub, toilet & sink cost another £319.

Pam said...

I hear you on that. Within 6 months of my husband I splitting (and me buying him out and taking on life as not only a homeowner, but a sole homeowner), I had my heat go up and discovered a gas leak in my stove. There were also a million cosmetic things I needed/wanted to do, and not being able to afford to deal with any of it and not being handy enough to tackle much of it myself had me so frustrated with it all I was very close to giving up, putting the place on the market, and becoming a renter again. Luckily a promotion and falling for a handier type who is actually knowledgeable and good at home improvements were both in the cards as well. As tempted as I was, I'm glad I didn't give up my home.