We are just a typical family of 5. My wife and I met in our late teens, we’re now both in our mid 40’s and have three wonderful children aged 13, 10 and 7. Family is everything to us. We’ve had a good life with lots of fantastic memories. We’ve worked hard all our lives and have never asked for help or handouts from friends or relatives……… until now. We’ve been proud that we’ve done it on our own.
I don’t have a sob story to tell but ironically, we could have been good candidates for DIY SOS in this last year and I’m looking for support to ensure my family has a loving home again.
Our story started 15 months ago. We have been living in a lovely, albeit small house we purchased because it was in a beautiful local market town and had potential to extend in order to give us the room we needed for the family. Our modest dream home.
Excitedly, we went through the necessary planning permissions and applications which were all approved. Then it was time to find a suitable builder to carry out the work. We put the work out for tender on a dedicated trade website and finally chose 5 companies to quote us. We went for the quote in the middle rather than the cheapest to avoid any dodgy builder undercutting just to get the job. We took references from previous builds, went to see the work he had previously completed to check the standard of workmanship and even arranged stage payments. After watching all the property programs on TV we thought we’d thoroughly done the due diligence. So confidently commissioned the friendly builder to start the work which we were told would be 3 months.
5 months later, the house was a shell, every wall was back to brick, with no roof, no heating, no water, electricity, no toilet, kitchen or bathrooms. We had to move out and stay with my wife’s mother which put a strain on the relationship a tad. 3 adults and 3 children cramped into a two-bed cottage. My wife and I spent 3 months on a blow-up bed on the living room floor.
It was at this point we received an email from the builder to say he could no longer finish the build as he had taken our money and spent it all. Not only that but he still owed the sub contracted trades money for work they had carried out that I thought I’d paid for. And to ensure we couldn’t sue him, he dissolved his limited company.
So, we were sleeping on the floor of a family members house, not able to live in the shell of our own house, lost £50,000 with no chance of seeing it again and also had trades chasing us as they hadn’t been paid. Seeking help to get the extra cash, the mortgage company would not help as the property was un-mortgageable!
If you are at an age to remember the film “The Money Pit” – I was Tom Hanks character. Feeling like I was stuck in a hole and unable to move, just waiting for the carpet to be pulled from underneath me!
That was 8 months ago. We have done everything we can to get back in our house and get back to normality but as a consequence have gotten into a mountain of debt. This has caused me to suffer with depression and have had suicidal thoughts throughout this year adding to the strain for my wife.
Through this all, we are slowly on the mend. We are still all together and love each other. We are back home but it’s not finished and it’s still not a home. I’m on medication and undergoing counselling. Things are improving.
My role as a husband and parent is to provide a safe environment and look after my family. I’ve tried to do this but it’s taken its toll. I see no light at the end of my tunnel of increasing debt.
I hope my story is a cautionary tale, but despite doing everything we could to avoid the exact situation we ending up in, it’s always something you think will never happen to you. If you can empathise with my story and feel like helping, it would be an incredible, appreciated and forever grateful gesture.
Many thanks for stopping at my page and reading my story.
All the best. Hug the ones you love x