My Experience with TermitesOctober 7, 2018
I live in a beautiful place called Coolum on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. The wife and I started to dabble in the real estate market. We bought our first small unit and put in the hard yards doing all the renovations ourselves. It was a lot of work. We both worked full-time jobs to make the mortgage repayments and, on the weekends, we spent them renovating the unit.
It was a lot of trial and error because neither of us had done anything like this before. We watched a lot of YouTube videos and took advice from anyone who would give it to us. We made our fair share of mistakes: knocked out walls that we shouldn’t have, struck underground water pipes and made a downright mess of things at times. But we kept on keeping on and months later we had the finished product.
It was probably one of our proudest moments. Turning that little decrepit unit into something habitable (and if I do say so myself) pretty stylish made us pleased as punch. When it was finally finished we sat down in the lounge room, covered in paint and dust and had a knock-off beer and look around at what we achieved. As our eyes met, we smiled at each other and laughed. All the little fights and blow-ups we had along the way seemed trivial in relation to the feat that we achieved.
Here we were, an accountant and a florist, taking on the task of what seemed impossible at the time. But with some hard work and a constant thirst for knowledge we had finally did it. It took a full year of working weekends, often losing sleep and being cranky with each other but we did it. And that feeling of satisfaction was enough to keep us going and start another project.
The next project we embarked on was an old Queenslander in the rolling hills of Maleny; a beautiful big house with a veranda that went all the way around. The views from around were of magnificent countryside, the beautiful green hills and a little creek that ran down the back of the property. If there is such a thing as the Australian dream, I guess this was it. We were even considering doing it up for ourselves to live in.
The house was a bit dilapidated, so we got it for a good price. Our DIY bug kicked in and we started getting excited, planning how we were going to turn this old Queenslander into a dream home. We wanted to make an open plan house so that the veranda and the interior were all considered one. An outdoor kitchen and living area that could easily be closed off if need be.
So, we moved our basic necessities in, so we could live there and renovate whenever we had a free moment. We kept our full-time jobs and we were back at it hammer and tongs working, working and working some more. We mainly paid attention to the interior and exterior aesthetics.
We smashed out a few walls and everything seemed to be going fine. After a few months into the renovation, things were going sweet and the wife and I seemed to be getting along fine. Of course, there were a few little arguments over the colour of paint and about where things should go, but we finally settled. Of course, I had to back down most of the time, because hell have no fury like a woman who isn’t getting her way in interior design – and to be honest I just wanted to get the job done.
Fast forward to a few months down the track and the place was looking amazing. It was amazing to see the transformation as we turned our dream into a reality. I mean, this place was absolutely beautiful. The open plan, living in the countryside. We decided to put it on the market. So we finally finished. We were so proud of our work and so confident that it would fetch a decent price we decided to put it up for auction. I guess once you enter into the DIY house renovator’s world it’s hard to stop and we were already planning our next purchase to do up and renovate.
Out of curiosity, we got an evaluator out to the house a few days before the auction to see what potential price we could get for this beauty. We put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into this thing, so we wanted a decent reward for our labour. The evaluator turns up and starts poking around, thoroughly going over it with a fine-tooth comb. First, he checks the interior and was full of praise saying that this was one of the finest Queenslanders he’d ever seen. But what happened next made our hearts sink and brought tears to our eyes. The evaluator started looking at the foundations. He started looking concerned and humming and haring. Then he dropped the bomb.
The house’s foundations were riddled with termites and it was too far gone to get pest controllers in and kill them. All of the foundations had to be replaced and this set back was going to be both costly and time-consuming. Our hearts broke and we were kicking ourselves as to how we could overlook one of the most important things in doing up the house – or even purchasing it in the first place!
The DIY game is definitely a learning process and the lessons come hard and fast. We eventually rectified the problem after dropping a fat wad of cash. Looking back, I guess that’s why we got it so cheap. We played the price for our naivety. We are still in the reno game but we always make sure to get a full inspection of the property before buying!