Project Rebuild – Buying a house and doing some work 1


Buying a house

Originally posted: 27-04-2009

First of all, I would like to thank everyone who has sent me their wishes for my birthday.
My apologies for doing it in this way, but my birthday was a bit busier than expected. And it turned out to be a better birthday than I had imagined too. Way better.

As I have written before on this blog, I have been searching for a new place to live. My student days are over, so I am in need of a “normal” place to live in. As of April 1st, I have been living with my girlfriend, as I had to move out of my student apartment.
Since October 2008, I have been searching for somewhere to live, but had not found anything yet. Until 2 weeks ago, when my real estate agent pointed out a good looking apartment.
My girlfriend and I went over there to have a look at it, and were surprised to see such a nice apartment, in a good state and with some unique features to go for it.
A week after (Wednesday April 22nd), we went to look at it again, and also had a look at two other apartments in the same block, that had an extra floor added to it, which is also possible in this apartment.
On Thursday we made an offer to the selling agent, and discussed some options we had.
Then on Friday, on my birthday, I got a call from my real estate agent. I had missed that call, but she said on my voicemail that she had “pretty good news for a birthday boy”.
I returned her call, and she told me that the selling party had made a contra-offer, which was too good too refuse. So after some quick calls to my financial advisor (yes, I even have one of these now), and my girlfriend, the final call was to my real estate agent again to tell her to accept the offer.

What does this mean? Well, in short it comes down to the fact that I now have an oral agreement for buying the house. The pre-contract will be signed once I have some more clarity on what my mortgage is going to be like. So basically: financing issues.
Then the waiting period will start. Waiting for the subsidy (koopsubsidie, it’s a Dutch thing) to come through, waiting for the bank to approve my request.
Once that is done, then the actual buying contract can be signed, and the house will be mine.
This will probably mean that sometime around June or July I will be the proud owner of my own apartment of 95 square meters .
And yes: I will live there with my girlfriend.

Creating a floorplan

Originally posted: 04-05-2009

When buying a house, you of course want to have a general idea of what it is going to look like when it is fully furnished and such.
In the olden days, you would grab a piece of paper and a pencil, and start drawing.
However, in the age of the internet, you can just go to a website and draw a plan yourself, without having to waste a lot of pieces of paper, because you just didn’t get everything right.
This is what I did, I went to the Floorplanner Beta website, and started drawing and designing. The end result is after the break, and it is only an indication of what we want to do.

A further note: I only have the sizes for the living rooms and the bedroom at the moment. The rest of the plan is made on a “best guess” indication.

Things you need to figure out

Originally posted: 20-05-2009

Everything seems to be going quite alright. Last week, I went to my real estate agent to take a look at the preliminary buying contract, and after we had looked through it, we signed it.
So now the big waiting game begins… Waiting for the mortgage offer to come from the bank, waiting for the “buying subsidy” (another Dutch thing) to come through.

Luckily, there is a lot that still needs to be planned, taken into account and researched.
For instance, not only do I need to figure out which energy-supplier to take, or which internet/tv/phone provider to take, but also I need to start looking into which contractor to hire to make a few changes to the house.
One of the things that needs to be done, is getting central heating, as that is not present at the moment. Another thing we (my girlfriend and I) would like to have done, is to have the bathroom refurbished. At the moment, it is a bit too much “used”. Just doesn’t have a very nice finish yet.

Other stuff that we need to look into, is which kind of floor to take where, what we would like on the walls, what color everything is going to be, where to find a bed at the most reasonable price, what kind of wardrobe do we want, etcetera and so on.

Luckily, there is still some time, but as we all know, time can go really quickly at times…
Oh well, time to start making priority lists, I guess…

Buying it and starting “Project Rebuild”

Originally Posted: 20-07-2009

Clearing the tiles on the bathroom wall

Hard at work

As posted earlier, I have been in the process of buying a house. Last Wednesday, July 15th, the day had come that I could go to the notary to sign the last required papers and have the house officially become into my possession.
After we had gone to the house for a final check and see if everything as we had expected, we were off to the notary. After signing the paperwork, I received the keys and I had become a home-owner.
We (Evelien, my dad and I) went back to the house to pop open a bottle of champagne and toast to the house. Evelien’s parents came by later, and we toasted with them again.
Whilst we were waiting for Evelien’s parents, we had bought some tape to put on the floors, so we could “draw” outlines of the furniture we want to put in the house. Also, it gives you a bit of an overview on what it is going to look like, albeit in 2D.
We of course already had the Floorplanner layout of how we wanted to decorate it, but drawing it on the floor, and having a more “real life” look and feel, helps a lot, at least for me.

Naturally, I will also be taking pictures throughout ‘Project Rebuild’, so that anyone can see the progress we are making. The first pictures can be found in the gallery.

Work in Progress

Originally Posted 05-08-2009

The livingroom which has been prepared to be plastered

Pink is a nice color

Time for an update on the house. Things have been going along quite smoothly, I must say. The plasterer is doing a great job, and the walls are already looking a lot better than when we first got the house.
I must also extend my thanks to Evelien and her parents, as they have been doing a tremendous amount of work already.
So, what has been done so far, you ask? Well, all the wall outlets have been taken off, all the lamps have been taken off the ceilings, all the tiles in the bathroom and toilet have been removed, the hood in the kitchen has been removed and we have been sanding. A lot of sanding, actually.
Yes, the sanding… If you thought having a plasterer around made things dusty, try sanding a few doors and door posts. That will set you straight.

Apart from the work that has been done inside the house, we have also been doing some work “outside”, meaning: shopping. So far, we have bought the much needed paint (some of you will receive an invitation to come help us out ;)). Also, we have been to Ikea (gotta love Ikea) to buy some much needed furniture. More specifically: two closets for in the bedroom, and the sink and closets for in the bathroom.

The electrician came by yesterday, to put in some additional outlets, so that we also have some power where we are going to need it. If all goes well, we should be able to start painting on Monday, and things should pick up pretty fast from there on. As far as planning goes, this is what still needs to be done:

  • Finish plastering
  • Put in Central Heating
  • Create drain for washing machine and tumble dryer
  • Sand doors and posts
  • Paint
  • Buy a bed, washing machine and tumble dryer
  • Get the parquet sanded and looking nice again
  • Floors in the aft livingroom and bedroom
  • More painting
  • Move houses

At least, that’s what it looks like at the moment. There will probably be things that will pop up, but if all goes well, we should be able to move in at the end of August.

Pictures have of course been made as well, and can be found in the galleries of Week 2 and Week 3.

More work done and a disappointment

Originally Posted: 19-08-2009

The parquet floor that could not be sanded due to it not being put in properly

A nice parquet floor

Work on the house is moving along quite nicely. Have not had any real setbacks, except for a small one last Monday, but more on that later.
Last week has been a very productive week. Evelien and 3 friends started painting the front living room for the first time, and they did a very fine job at it. We had the plumber coming in to fix a bit of piping, as well as creating the necessary drains for the laundry room. That also meant that the whole floor of the toilet had to come out, so we had the job of putting in a new one there.

The plasterer had two days of, due to the fact that we had the electrician coming in to fit a few outlets, so that we can have power in our bedroom, as well as in my “server closet”. Yes, being the nerd I am, I will get a server closet :P.

Anyhow, moving right along… A lot more has been done in the past week, most of it was painting. After the sanding of Week 3, the painting was a relief, as it doesn’t fill your lungs and nose up with dust. With all the sanding done, there was a lot to be painted, but the most important area to be painted was the front living room, due to the fact that we wanted to get the parquet in there sanded and oiled, so that we could use it again. However, when the sander came in last Monday (17th), it turned out that the parquet had not been glued or nailed to the floor, so it could not be sanded… That was quite a big “setback”, as the parquet looked really nice, and with a bit of sanding and oiling, was ready to be used for another 5 years, at least.

That same afternoon, the “floor guy” came in, whom we had already contracted to do the aft living room and the bedroom, and we discussed the options. So now will we have one set of laminate going from the front living room into the aft living room, which makes it more a “unity”. All in all, it is not too bad, but it would have still been nice to be able to keep the parquet.

One wall of the bedroom that has been painted properly

Painted closet and walls

Last Saturday and Sunday, we did a lot of painting, which means that both living rooms and the kitchens are “done”. At least the big surfaces are. The kitchen needs the hood and lighting back, but I will be doing that tonight. Also tonight is putting on the second layer of paint on two walls in the hallway, which means that that will be done as well :).
Tiling in the toilet and laundry room is being done today and tomorrow, which means we only need to put a toilet back into the toilet ;).

Starting tomorrow, the central heating will be put in, which means that we are really getting close to the finalization of the project. I intend to post more pictures on Sunday, with a little accompanying post, but that depends on how much work I get done.

As they say, a pictures says more than a thousand words, so all the pictures of Week 4 can be found in the gallery.

This one’s long overdue

Originally Posted 24-09-2009

The back living room, containing a floor and a whole bunch of stuff

Looking from the back to the front

Well now… As the title states, this blog entry is long overdue. And by long overdue, I mean by about 3 to 4 weeks.
As you can imagine, a lot of things have happened in the past 3 to 4 weeks, that I should have been blogging about. However, as you have noticed, this has not been the case.

The most important reason for this lack of updates is the fact that we have been very busy to complete everything in the house, so that we were able to
move houses on the 29th of August.
The smarter readers amongst you will now jump up and shout “So this means you have already moved?”
The answer to this is yes, this is exactly the case. August 29th, we got a moving crew together, and used that day to finish up on the last important things and get our stuff moved.

But let’s cut back for a second to the point that I have stopped updating.
Week 5 involved finishing up most parts, so that the central heating could be put in. Or so we thought… But more on that later.
We painted the rest of the bedroom, the bathroom, and hung up the lights in the kitchen, which made for a “nicer look”.

The last week involved “finishing up”. Making sure that everything was as good as ready to be able to move houses on the 29th. After a little squabble with
my contractor, the central heating was put on on the 27th and 28th, in two days instead of the 5 days they had set for it. More importantly: this meant we had warm water, which is a very nice thing to have.
During that week, the bedroom floor and the living room floors had been put in, which made a huge difference to the look and feel of the house. My mom and dad came over on Thursday to start to put together the closet and the bed, two projects that turned out to take a bit longer than expected, but it was finished right on time on the Saturday.

The front living room, containing a floor, a chair and a couch.

The front

As I am writing this, we have been living in the new apartment for almost 4 weeks, and it is really starting to feel like home. We are still taking care of the “little projects”, which are somewhat that most annoying ones, because they take long to finish.
We are getting there though, which is the most important thing.

I would also like to thank everyone that has helped with the work on the house. So, thank you: Jaap, Klaziena, Karel, Riens, Sonja, Birgit, Simone, Manoe, Ingrid, Lindsay, Mykel, Pascal, Alex, René, Suzanne v/d W, Serge, Suzanne S, Ferry, Stephanie and Sven.

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