It's ours - but so are the endless repair jobs

21:27, Jun 21 2014

We were enjoying a homemade candlelit dinner at our very first dining table when I caught my partner Robbie's eye.

We smiled as we simultaneously said: "We own this house!"

It was such an awesome and peculiar feeling. We started pointing out random objects and reiterating our ownership of them - the door frames, the floor boards and the concrete laundry tub - it was our way of processing what we had achieved.

The more cynical among us, myself included, would at this point have highlighted the fact that really Westpac owns our home, not us, but this romantic moment was not something I wished to spoil.

A huge amount of work needs doing and it's been difficult to prioritise the endless list, especially with our tiny budget, but the fact that we own a house is still a novelty.

It's weird how quickly we've adapted to being homeowners.


I've never concerned myself with leaks and plumbing, asbestos testing, kitchen cupboard sizes and different hues of light bulb.

Only two weeks into the job (because owning a doer-upper is a full-time occupation) and these sorts of issues are part of my daily life. We recently ordered a flat pack kitchen after the world's longest visit to Bunnings. I left Robbie and trusty friend Abbie in charge of picking the floor and wall units, choosing their sizes and making it all fit in our rather large kitchen. I was more interested in paint and after about 15 minutes of moaning about how boring designing a kitchen was, Abbie gave me permission to "run along to the paint desk" and get some test pots.

We've spent a good chunk of our money on the new kitchen but we're adding value to the property. We're both of the view that once we have a kitchen, a living room and a bedroom, we have a home we can enjoy.

However, our decision means there's less in the kitty to tackle the not-so-glamorous maintenance side of things.

Talking about repairing certain roof panels ends up in a conversation about replacing the spouting and repainting the barge boards. When we think about using the same vinyl flooring in the laundry as our kitchen, we have to first think about replacing a wall of tongue and groove that has a small amount of rot from a leak. When we think about getting the leak fixed, it sparks a chat about new pipes and a laundry tub and that leads to discussion about replacing the hot water cylinder.

We've allocated some time this weekend to sit down and write a list, get quotes for each job we can't do ourselves and then start putting the tasks into chronological order.

On another note, the stippled ceiling in the spare room did not test positive for asbestos which means we can rip that bad boy out.

Georgina Stylianou is a reporter at The Press. This is part of her weekly series about buying her first home.

Email or tweet @gstylianoupress

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