But What About The Refurbishment Project During This Covid Chaos?


But What About The Refurbishment Project During This Covid Chaos?

My last update mentioned the good progress we were making on the project at Throstle Lane in Leeds.

If you’ve not yet seen the pictures, it’s a dated ex-council house, where I was undertaking the buy – refurbish – rent out – refurbish model. The intention is to keep the property long term, and it has been bought with private investment funds, to give the investors a fixed return on their capital.

It was going all well… I had a Selco delivery booked for a large amount of large and heavy materials – and then BOOM, Coronavirus hit.

I’m not sure if you’ve heard of this Covid-19 virus that’s sweeping the globe? It’s only been mentioned in the media once or twice…?!!

Effectively, the country has ground to a halt, whilst we all combat this terrible and dangerous disease.
Life as we know it is on hold…

But what does this mean for the project?

Well, having studied carefully the Government guidelines and advice, and thought about the pros and cons of pausing the project, I decided to continue with the refurbishment as best and as safely as I can. Refurbishing a house is obviously not the sort of work that one can do from a desk at home.

Gladly, I am not an imbecile, so I have found it reasonably simple to assess the risks, put into place a safe risk assessment plan to manage them, and have cracked on.

After all, there’s a family waiting for this house. And also, time is money, and when it’s somebody else’s money at risk, I’m not prepared to let them down either. And plus, I’m an eternal optimist; I know this dreadful pandemic will be beaten soon, and then we can all get on with our lives and resume some sort of normality.

Some of my planned contractors, labourers and painters have had to be cancelled, due to keeping the guidance of us all keeping socially distant. So that just left on the project the handyman, and er, me.

Luckily my handyman is a recluse anyway, so he poses no risk of interacting with others outside of work hours. The other bonus is that he is superbly multi-skilled, and has already done a vast amount of work himself within the house.

Now the bad news: me…

I’ll be honest, I’m generally just a supervisor on my refurb projects.

I have no manual skills, I am appalling at DIY, and I am physically as gormless and clumsy as they come.

Generally with DIY or garden work in my own house, I start a task, get bored within minutes, regret starting it and not just outsourcing it, and then get stroppy and frustrated and then do a half-arsed slapdash rush job. It’s no coincidence that all my rental properties are in a far better condition than my own house!

But, needs must in this time of shortage, so I have had to dry my eyes, get my hands dirty, and gerronwi’it.
I’ve got to keep the end in mind: ie this project is going to be a home for a family, so I can’t let that future family down.

Thus, I have been assisting with the following:

 – sweeping and removing rubbish (hey, start slow, earn those labouring stripes!)

 – scrabbling about for materials, because my Selco delivery got cancelled. I’ve been desperate for plaster for two weeks now, as all the major suppliers are either closed or out of stock! My own shed has been heavily raided for resources; a supreme bit of luck that I had some kitchen worktops that fitted perfectly!

 – mixed some mortar for the roof patching work! Hoiking heavy bags of sand and cement about for it: not so much fun for a weak pathetic Leeds lass with no muscles.

 – painting: walls I’m ok with a paint pad, but ceilings are the work of the devil, I can’t see where I’ve already painted!

 – helping with dot and dab plasterboarding! Until the handyman realised within seconds I was crap at it and took the trowel off me!

 – and the bit I’m most impressed with myself with: apprentice glazier! After the new supporting brickwork lintel had been fitted above the living room window, we took out the window to fill in a large gap above the frame, and I’ll be honest, I was terrified about doing this, knowing how gormless I am.

But although the thought of potentially dropping the very large glass window pane unit terrified me, what scared me more was knowing if I did drop and break it, it would cost me more money to have to buy a new one! So I calmed my panic, composed myself and helped remove and replace that glass with the smoothness and sleekness of a, erm, newborn baby giraffe…

But no glass was smashed, woohoo!

So yes, I have done far more manual work on this project than any of the others. My hands are red raw, and every single day last week I gained a new cut or injury on them, the most unpleasant one being when the naughty saw bit me…

But on the plus side: 
– I’m doing lots of daily Fitbit steps!
 – Thus I’m not putting on additional weight during this quarantine!
 – I’m keeping my labour costs down.
 – And best of all, the house is getting completed, albeit bit by bit, and slower than expected.

But better to go slow, than have to stop.
Remember that the tortoise still won that race!

Upstairs is pretty much finished, all the living room artex has now been plasterboarded over, awaiting some elusive bags of plaster, and we’ve just made a start on the kitchen units, which is always an exciting bit to do.

Don’t forget, if you’d like to see the progress of the refurbishment, then the album for it is on my Facebook page here:


And although I’m not currently viewing any properties for future projects because of the social distancing rules, as soon as they are lifted, I’ll be back on it.

So if you’d like to consider being a potential investor for the future, do get in touch for a discussion on what I can offer you return-wise on your capital – which I guarantee is better than the banks’ abysmal interest rates!

All my contact details can be found on my website www.kellyannmartin.co.uk

Thanks for reading the update, and I hope that you and your family, are all safe and well, and have an absolutely lovely isolated Easter!

Hey, even Jesus had to spend it alone in his cave…

My very best wishes, 

                         Kellyann Martin

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