I’ve just moved into my new flat and to say it needs a little bit of attention is an understatement. The rather fetching floral wallpaper is peeling, there is what looks like some kind of disease ridden fungal growth breeding in my bathroom and the carpets not only smell like a dog has died on them but the stains would suggest that it emptied it’s bowels in the process. Not a pretty sight as I’m sure you can imagine and yes I can hear you all shouting, “why would you buy and live in such a place?” The answer? Simply that it was a bargain and in the ridiculous world of property, you have got to bag a bargain before somebody else beats you to it.
Having moved all my stuff in, it is actually starting to feel like home, but there are some jobs that just simply have to be done before I a) invite my parents round and b) before I catch anything nasty. I can quite honestly say that I am not built for DIY. It is just not going to happen. I can’t be bothered, I don’t have the patience and I wouldn’t have a clue where to start. I would much rather pay a professional, whilst I busy myself making cups of tea and offering well meaning words of encouragement.
But choosing the right person for your DIY needs is a tricky business. How can you know if they are from a reputable company, won’t rip you off and won’t do further damage to your already shoddy looking abode? First and foremost I look to friends for their advice and recommendations of rated people they have used in the past. Seeing examples of their past work is also a great idea as you’ll be able to tell if they’ve cut corners and assess the quality of their workmanship. Also, make sure you get at least three quotes from three different companies to make sure you aren’t going to be taken for a ride. You shouldn’t always go for the cheapest quote, even though you may be tempted to save money. Instead use your gut instincts to suss the person out when they come round to assess what work needs doing and combine this with their final quote. Failing that ask a friend, preferably one who knows what they’re talking about, to come round and ask suitably probing questions and to carry out a full character assessment.
One useful resource I have come across is the Checkatrade website. Offering a completely free service, it gives you access to tradespeople all across the country as well as millions of customer reviews. Most importantly, in order for a trades person to have their contact details listed on Checkatrade, they must become a member, which involves strict background checks.
Ok, so now I’m pretty clued up on sorting out a decorator, but what about my carpet. I know for a fact that with all the property maintenance I’m going to have to fork out for, there is no way I’m going to have anything left in my budget for a new carpet. I also know, there is no way I can continue to live with the smelly, stain ridden thing that is there at the moment. The solution? Get it professionally cleaned. Now, finding a highly regarded carpet cleaning firm isn’t the easiest thing in the world either. Lucky for me I have an OCD, control freak mother who has very high standards and gets her carpets professionally cleaned at least twice a year. Bingo!
This moving house lark perhaps isn’t so bad after all. Using recommendations, advice from friends and a little bit of common sense I have got my household repairs running like a well oiled machine. My chosen tradespeople are reputable, doing a mighty job and most importantly are not slacking and taking tea breaks every half hour. In fact, I’ve enjoyed the company and quite like swanning about my flat like a lady of the manor, rewarding my staff with the occasional Rich tea biscuit.
And my carpet? Well, it looks as good as new and smells as sweet as a spring meadow, which considering it’s floral appearance is rather fitting. It certainly beats Eau d’ dog!