An Old House

In February we moved into a new house. Well, new for us. The house itself is from around the 1930’s.

At the time, we could not stay where we were much longer, thanks to some antisocial and utterly unapproachable neighbors; oblivious or rather, not bothered by their actions, and a housing association that simply didn’t care.

This house came as a godsend. We were delighted with it. It offers us possible – with a very simply bit of work – four bedrooms, a garden, two-story brick shed and a wonderful neighborhood for both my wife and I, and the children.

However, if you were to look at the house with an objective eye, I think the best term you could come up with your be… ‘project’.

The landlord, a close friend of my wife’s uncle, is the very definition of Scrooge.

This is actually what he looked like when we signed the contracts!!

He has not invested in the house since he bought it in the 70’s. The heating is still individual open flame gas units that consume a big chunk of space.

Still, they keep us warm. Although only one bedroom has one.

Still, the house is a working project, something that needs a bit of TLC, but could become a great house. The problem, well two problems I am faced with are:

Money:   Money is always a problem for us, and so finding money to put to one side is a large undertaking. (Enter hopeful freelance work). A second tier of the problem is what ‘project’ we will do first. If you ask me the heating – we had to install a new unit yesterday as we had no hot water – and the flooring on the ground floor come first. We have really old and stained carpet in at the moment and it makes everything else look untidy as a result.

It’s a Rental: The second problem is that this house is a rental. So any improvements we make are ultimately only going to benefit our miserly landlord. I am sure he loves this quandary, and can see as well as I can that if we plan to stay here long-term, then we will need to change certain things.

The contract does say anything with the house, structurally is his responsibility, and he will do it, but it takes a long long time, and it is done begrudgingly.

I love my house, and I do think Old houses have much more character than new builds. I just need to find that balance. Sort out the important work; like the flooring, from the larger things like adding a new window unit into the converted attic to create more space.

I see it as a challenge, and one I am relishing, but until then, I am sure I will get frustrated along the way. That’s just how I seem to be.



5 thoughts on “An Old House

  1. I don’t suppose he’d do a rent to own deal with you, would he? At least if you were going to own it, it would be worth all the aggravation. Of course, even if he verbally agreed to it, he sounds like the sort of person with whom you would be wise to draw up a contract and make it legal and binding.

    1. That is actually an interesting idea Maxine. I have never thought of it in those terms. It is possible, although I am sure, knowing him he wouldn’t go for it. He is so miserly that it will often stop him from making money at the same time. Kind of like a full circle deal.

      I will bring it up with him though, because it would be a nice idea, and as you say, the improvements you make will then be worth it.

      Thanks for dropping by 🙂

  2. Definitely worth asking Alex. As the house is in the family so to speak, your uncle-in-law might find a kindly bone and let it happen. Even if he doesn’t it sounds as if this house is worth a bit of effort and expense because you will probably be living in it for a long time. Instead of re-carpeting upstairs how about pulling up the old carpet and perhaps just polishing the floor boards underneath? That vintage house would definitely have proper floor boards. Then you could just buy some nice rugs to put on top. If you do leave you can take the rugs with you.

  3. I’m with the others, Alex. If you’re going to invest, it has to be worth making an offer. On the heating, have you tried oil-filled radiators? They’re quite neat and you just plug them in and turn them on when you need them. You could buy, and use, enough for a mansion for the cost of a new central heating system. I would certainly do this over a new system if the house were never going to be mine and then spend any money on the aesthetics, such as the floor (love the polished boards idea, our house is from 1890, we have polished boards downstairs and they’re great – I think!). Best of luck and enjoy! It sounds like you’re really committed to your new home which is the main thing.

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