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Part 6: Fixing up the house

Some people might ask why, having got our house back and found the state it was in, we didn't just cut our losses and sell it as it was. Yes, we could've done that but we thought we would lose out big-time if we went down that route. The housing market was depressed at the time with prices either stagnating or even dropping. We wanted to give it our best shot to get a reasonable price for it.
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We made a lot of mistakes, most of which cost us dearly in terms of time as well as money. The first mistake was that we didn't decide up front exactly what work we were and weren't going to do, and factor in lead times accordingly. Thus we had spent quite some time decorating and fixing up various things before we decided that a quick facelift for the kitchen really wouldn't be sufficient.

Our worktops had to be cut-to-measure because our kitchen had a couple of oddly shaped corners. David measured up and ordered the necessary bits from IKEA. The delivery time quoted for this was about four weeks. Even then, the delivery company, Exel, messed us about so many times that we were just about tearing our hair out. We eventually got them four whole weeks after the original delivery date quoted. (Although it was not directly IKEA's fault, they gave us a complimentary voucher of £75 as a goodwill gesture.)
Read our letter of complaint about Exel's performance

This might not sound like a big deal but completing the kitchen was a pre-requisite for many of the other jobs. For example, we couldn't carpet the hall or the large back-room because all the equipment would have to be dragged through the house, etc, etc.

Another delay was that we weren't sure what we might be able to claim from our insurance companies and whether we needed to leave the mess for the loss adjusters to see, or whether they would accept the inventory check from the Lettings Agent and photographs as proof of damage. As it turned out only our HomeLet policy actually covered us for anything - damaged but not stolen - and they were prepared to accept the inventory as evidence. We highly recommend this company to anyone renting out their home.

Well, we got there in the end and have some other recommendations - and otherwise - if you happen to be doing up your house in our area.

IKEA's Croydon branch were very good but their delivery company, Exel, was a nightmare.

Direct Carpets (Sutton Common Road, North Sutton) gave us excellent service. We had used this company the first time around when we bought the house and went straight back to them without even considering anyone else. We can't speak highly enough of them.

Turfing - performed faultlessly, allowing us to specify when we wanted to take delivery (they charge a premium for weekend deliveries). Their website offered plenty of good advice on how to lay turf for best results. Even better, they sent us advance warning emails before the turf arrived (which it did at the time and date we'd asked for) so that we could be sure we'd done the preparation right - and follow-up emails afterwards to ensure that our new lawn got the best possible start. (Given that the turf arrived at the start of two days of gentle rain in the middle of a prolonged dry spell, we were wondering whether they'd arranged the weather for us as well!)

Part 7: Selling the house

IMPORTANT NOTICE: To avoid confusion in case there are other persons of the same name: the Karen Holliday, aka Karen Davies, referred to on this website is the one who previously lived in Senga Road, Hackbridge and then at 30 Longfield Avenue, Hackbridge, Surrey, SM6 7BA, United Kingdom, from July 2001 until her eviction in June 2005. To the best of our knowledge she then continued to reside in the London Borough of Sutton.

LEGAL NOTICE: Remember - if it's true, it can't be libel.

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