Archive | August, 2012

What Sam Bought Today: Diary of a Property Renovation (Day 11)

31 Aug

I’m always excited when I start glossing on a project – for no other reason than it symbolises I am starting the final run…

Admittedly, the glossing is perhaps a little premature in some areas of the property – but the fact remains we have started glossing – and that is a great sign!

I am really pleased with the way the fireplace has turned out since it has been skimmed – and I am amazed that my plasterer has managed to do such a great job and keep the place so clean and tidy (he was under strict instructions not to make ANY mess as I am keeping the carpet and had painted a first coat of paint on the walls).

I am sure he thought to himself “Typical bloody woman!”

And on that note – here is progress so far:

Until next time…

What Sam Bought Today: Diary of a Property Renovation (Day 10)

29 Aug

OK so today I want to tell you a few things:

Firstly, this project is going to take longer than I originally said (14 days) because, quite frankly, I changed the spec of the project.  When you do that timelines shift – we’re only talking a few days – but even so I have to be upfront. (If you want even more frankness – the fact, is I wasn’t meant to have removed the wallpaper and wardrobes and sanded all the walls throughout the property – but I have opted to do this as I believe the better finish will improve saleability).

Also, there are a few things about the project which I have not made clear from the outset – so here are FIVE facts about the project which I feel are useful background info for you:

  1. I have only ever renovated one family home before as a “family home” (7 years ago!).  All other “family homes” were with an eye to convert to apartments.  My expertise lies in one bed flats in urban locations.  This is a family home in a suburban location.  And it has a garden – have you noticed how baffled I am by this concept – flats in London don’t usually have gardens!
  2. I have never renovated a property locally to me! I know – crazy but true. I may live close to the area, but in actual fact I have never ever invested in the area.  I have always been guided by yields or profit which has seen me investing outside my own “home area”
  3. I have never worked with any of these tradespeople before.  I have had to start from scratch and build a new crew for the renovation. I usually have my  “A” team, who I bring down from Stoke and who have worked with me for years.
  4. I am having to do a lot more labour than I usually do – and at the same time also trying to manage the project – it’s a hell of a juggling act (said while dragging out carpet on the phone to the kitchen supplier and and painting the wall simultaneously)
  5. I have never done a project for such a slim profit and ROI.

Truth be told, this was potentially a risky purchase in today’s recessionary times (especially if I am to believe the various media reports which claim housing assets are depreciating in value).

Insanely, this was the property renovation which I seemed to have started this vlog on.

But you know what, I’ll take you through to the end.  Warts and all.  This is real property renovation – and this is happening now.  I’m not just showing you the “grotty before” and “pretty after” like most TV property programmes do – this is the whole shebang – this is a property renovation journey! I don’t have a film crew – this is me and Dimi and my iPhone.

Truthfully what I hope you will gain from this Vlog is a real property renovation experience: how to do it and how not to do it!!

Two videos for you today:

Progress so far:

During the refurb (it was a treat to have professionals in!):

Also need to say *BIG* thanks to my friend Jason, who came up and helped today with painting and caulking 🙂

Until next time…


What Sam Bought Today: Diary of a Property Renovation (Day 9)

28 Aug

So today’s post needs to be prefaced with a *WARNING*

And that *warning* is: no matter how big or small the property renovation, once you start work – you feel like you are hemorrhaging money. And I mean seriously hemorrhaging like you have slit your own wrists, cut your throat and slashed your intestines like some sort of deranged blood thirsty loon.


I mean it.

That is what REAL property renovation is like.

Financially, the whole process is completely front-loaded and from day one you are paying out for everything, and seemingly never-endingly.  If ever you wondered if you are single-handedly propping up the UK economy – then do a property renovation – because believe me – that’s what you will feel like you are doing!

So that’s my warning.

The solution?

Always have the renovation funds set aside in a separate account and easily accessible as you will be drawing on it almost every hour of the day.

This project is just a small renovation – but trust me – the never ending list of materials is well…never-ending!

Without further ado, here is progress so far (although you will note I have dressed up for the occasion…just need some polyfilla for my tired eyes!):

Until next time…

What Sam Bought Today: Diary of a Property Renovation (Day 8)

26 Aug

Yippee – the property is now starting to take shape!

We’ve been fully re-wired, plasterer is due in tomorrow and the carpenter is booked to fit the kitchen next week.  I have opted for a kitchen from Magnet and I can’t wait for the Neff range to be delivered – this is to be my “piece de resistance” – along with my orange glass splashback.  I have also ordered a gorgeous kitchen tap and ummed and arrhed for hours over whether I wanted a stain finish or polished finish sink – satin finish has won me over in the end!

In terms of other news: the electrician needed us to remove the wardrobe as a socket was located behind them and he needed access.  When I replied the wardrobes were staying his face said it all – but he reinforced his *disgust* with:

You have got to be joking – you are keeping this huge brown 70s monstrosity?”

To which his apprentice boy chipped in:

“You can hardly fit anything else in this room and they look awful”

Well – that was that.  The wardrobes have gone. And I am pleased.  And I am thankful for their unabashed honesty!

OK so there is still a shed load of work to do – but we’re almost on the home run – and now is the time when you really have to roll your sleeves up and paint, paint, paint!

This is also the time when any schedule slippage has a massive knock on effect – so *fingers crossed* the plasterer, tiler and carpenter all keep to the schedule as advised.

Here is progress so far:

Until next time…

What Sam Bought Today: Diary of a Property Renovation (Day 7)

23 Aug

Setbacks, setbacks and setbacks.  That’s how I would describe today!

Dimi was taken ill (one man down) and the plasterer is delayed until next week (two men down).

I have soldiered on (yes, play that violin very loudly and squeakily for the one woman still standing!)

Me and the radio had a good day: I partook in an interesting debate on the Jeremy Vine show (although he had a stand in, but can’t remember the name), I’ve had Steve Wright in the afternoon and his “factoids” – did you know that a cow has 800 different blood types or that a rat is the animal which can last the longest without water??  I’ve done Simon Mayo and his confessions – and I forgave the leaf woman with the car obsessed husband…

You can tell I have been on my own all day – with just my radio and my paintbrush…and a whole lot of work needing doing!

Anyway, I have made some headway, here’s the latest:

Until next time…P.S. I am having a couple of days off site as I have to attend to other business matters – but will be back soon!