Friday, 16 April 2010

An opportunity ding dongs

My husband Daniel and I are in our thirties and between our measly incomes there’s not a hope in hell we could ever dream of owning a home. We pay the rent, we pay our bills and at the end of every month we are at £0.To grab the bottom rung of the property ladder in the UK you need either two things: 1) Rich parents or 2) a bloody brilliant job that enables you to save for a 25% deposit, thereby securing that near mythical thing called a mortgage.

With a bun in the oven and more space needed we were a little concerned about how our sanity would hold in our current rented flat. It’s a beautiful flat and we’ll be sad to leave, but babies need baths not youth hostel-like showers and journalists need a quiet room to write in.

We had planned on throwing out our razors and moving into a yurt – seriously – until a very lucky opportunity came up. Our friend was moving out of a three bedroom house which he rented from friends of his parents. Did we want it? Yes please, although we couldn’t we afford it. But there’s more, the house is in a bit of a mess, so maybe for a lower rent could we fix it up? Daniel and I looked at each other - absolutely!

The state of things

The house has basically been lived in by students for the past 12 years. With the owners living abroad, let’s just say the building isn’t in tip top condition. How bad? Well, when we had our meeting with the landlords (remember they hadn’t seen it for 12 years), the landlady had to take off her glasses to wipe the tears away.

Carpets have not been hoovered ... ever. Any touches of decoration have long deteriorated, replaced with a sense of faded grizzly motel decor – toilet bowls so dirty they make Renton’s toilet diving scene look inviting. The back yard looks like a family of hillbillies has been living there, complete with broken toys, old barbecues and three legged chairs. When we first set foot in this wasteland jungle, a feral cat jumped out from a broken water butt and a fox glowered at us before scampering away.

After two full days of making a start on clearing junk out, it’s obvious our task at hand is a leettle bit bigger than we anticipated.