I recently completed a two-day seminar on Leadership and Management. It seems that one of my skills is that of a Finisher. Basically, that means I like to pay close attention to detail and can be counted on to get a job done. At work, that is pretty much me all over. Although I am generally a Big Picture type of person and would prefer to leave the little details to others, I have always been in a position that requires I pay close attention to detail, especially when dealing with finances. This is a skill that I have acquired over many years, rather than something that comes naturally to me.
Although I am in-between jobs, I am still working very hard. I am Project Managing the works being done to my house. I could have hired a contractor to organise everything, but that would have cost me more money, even though it would have saved me some time. I reckon that I could have had all the work done by now if I hadn’t moved in straight away, but an advantage of living here is that I can really work out what is necessary. (I have changed my mind a few times already about how I want things to look.) I do not have a bevy of workmen that I could easily get quotes from. I am relying on contacts for recommendations or just sourcing contractors from the internet. It can be very frustrating at times. Although the workmen come to the house and spend about an hour looking things over, some of them never even send me a quote. One would think in these times of recession, they would be jumping at the chance to make some money. They may be very busy now, but things will get slack and then what? I am done chasing after contractors for quotes. People don’t seem to be in so much of a hurry here to do anything. In some ways that is a good thing as it gives me more time to think things over to work out what I really need. I do know that the end result is going to be amazing and that I will end up with a home that I can be proud of.
That will be a far cry from my last home. I had modest plans for the last property I owned in London. Then I made the mistake of getting involved with someone who was hired to do some work on my property. The workmanship was very good at the time, and what started out as a good thing ended up being a bit of a disaster. The person I was with had grand ideas for my home and I allowed him to implement some of his ideas on my property. When we eventually went our separate ways, I was left with unfinished work and a huge amount of debt. I immediately went into damage control mode and was able to pay off some of the debt and manage the rest, although I spent the next seven years living in a building site. This made it very difficult to sell my property. Refinancing the mortgage to finish off the work meant that I would have ended up paying £3 for ever £1 I borrowed. Refinancing the mortgage was no longer a viable option, so I stuck it out and hoped for the best. I may have lived in a building site, but at least I had a roof over my head and the sleeping areas were relatively untouched and habitable. The worst areas were downstairs. Things looked much worse than they really were, but my home wasn’t really a place where I wanted to entertain or have people around, even for a cup of coffee. I can only imagine what it was like for my children. They really couldn’t bring their friends around. If the children had friends over, they were mainly confined to their bedrooms. Things were easier when they were at boarding school during the week and my eldest went of to University. I did have a minor setback when the central heating packed in and I didn’t have the money to get a new system installed. You have no idea how ecstatic I was when I finally sold my house. I was over the moon! I was able to downsize and start over.
Not many people get second chances. I learned a lot from my previous experience. (HUGE understatement) I have also been fortunate to work in the construction and design industry and am able to implement the knowledge I have gained from that and put it to good use in my current situation. I am taking my time to work out what I really want and thinking things through carefully. I may never recoup the money that I am spending on my property, but I have no intention of selling anytime soon after the work has been completed. I am not being extravagant, but I do have certain standards and the house needs updating. I should be living in a beautiful home at my time of life. When my children come to visit, I want them to be happy to be here and as comfortable as possible. Ditto for guests. My house has been a little bit neglected, but I am in a position to give her a bit of a make-over.
I may not have been able to finish the job on my previous property, but I have the knowledge and resources at hand to finish the job on my new home. The work has already started and I must say that it is looking good. 🙂