aibu to buy a terraced house

(61 Posts)
mattsmadmum Wed 22-Jan-14 17:58:32

Living with family with 2 dc. Will have enough to buy a house with no mortgage by april. Happy to live anywhere but dsis and dm are furious I will consider a mid terraced as think I will have terrible problems with neighbour's. Cant afford anything else as sp could borrow but dont want to.a . Something at the back of my mind thinks they could be right, aibu to ignore this and stick to a v tight budget

Tommy Wed 22-Jan-14 18:00:08

you might have terrible problems with the neighbours but then you could have terrible neighbours wherever you live.
Or you might have lovely neighbours smile
You never know!!

NinjaBunny Wed 22-Jan-14 18:00:56

You could have problems with neighbours anywhere..!

I'd ignore them.

ShabbyChic8 Wed 22-Jan-14 18:05:11

You're the one who has to live there not them. Your neighbours might be lovely. We bought an ex council house much to my FIL's disgust, he was also concerned about neighbours as some houses are still council owned. We have the loveliest neighbours, some council and some private.

MrsLettuce Wed 22-Jan-14 18:05:22

YANBU to buy whatever house you like within the budget. Neighbors are always a risk and the more there are, the more chance you get a 'bad' one.

That said, it would be wise to seriously consider taking a small mortgage for a slightly larger property / property in better condition / place with fewer neighbours. You may well decide against it after weighing up the pros and cons, but it'd be daft not to consider all the options.

MrsLettuce Wed 22-Jan-14 18:06:26


the more chance you get a 'bad' one or a 'good' one.

TrinnyandSatsuma Wed 22-Jan-14 18:06:59

My first house was a terrace and I still miss it! I personally found it cosy and reassuring to know there were others nearby, but once I shut my front door, my house was my little nest.

It was an old terrace though, Victorian I think, so walls nice and thick to smother much of the noise from other side!

BrianTheMole Wed 22-Jan-14 18:08:37

I'd probably get a small mortgage and try to get something bigger. But I am biased, having lived in terraced neighbour hell for years.

Preferthedogtothekids Wed 22-Jan-14 18:11:09

I lurk on a site called Gardenlaw and from what I can see terraced houses do seem to attract lots of issues over 'Rights of Way' as they do generally have them as a burden or a benefit :-/. The problems seem to happen when a neighbour changes and the ROW system isn't understood fully.

I would check out carefully what's in place in any terrace I bought.

collarsandcuffs Wed 22-Jan-14 18:13:58

I live in a terrace and my next door neighbours are wonderful. When he clears his gutter, he knocks on and asks if I want mine doing. He takes any old wooden furniture or pieces from decorating for his allotments. He even write down the registration of my contractors van when he saw him walking around the outside of my house and looking over the wall...just in case! He is also very good at getting rid of spiders and when I had a suspected chemical leak into my drain they put me up and fed me! My neighbours are the thing I will really miss when I leave my terrace and I am worrying about what kind I will get in my semi.

bochead Wed 22-Jan-14 18:13:59

Check out the neighbours before you put in an offer on a terrace and enjoy life mortgage free! I'm currently house hunting, and part of that is checking out the area at different times of day, saying hi to the potential neighbours over the garden fence etc, etc.

FFS - you have to be VERY unlucky to end up living next to a bunch of smack heads, and most people in this country live in flats or terraced homes! We'd all love to live in a detached property within an acre of our own private grounds - BUT back in the real world........... It's nice having neighbours to feed the cats, keep an eye on things when you go away for the weekend.

Given the state of the economy, life with no mortgage if you have the option sounds like a no-brainer to me just for the peace of mind. In fact I've sold up in London to move to a cheaper part of the country for the mortgage free life!

As a single parent the idea of having a home that is never going to be at risk of repossession for my child to grow up in was incredibly attractive. Too many people nowadays are slipping through the cracks in the benefits system into the abyss and illness or serious accident could strike anyone at any time. If no disaster strikes, the money that would have gone on a mortgage can go towards a pension - this time with compound interest working FOR rather than against me.

Keeping up with the Jones has got too many families into trouble in recent years. Don't fall into the same trap because of other people's snobbery. At some point soon, interest rates WILL go up (- think back to the 1980's). Banks are being very cautious about lending at the moment as they know the financial sector's troubles aren't done just yet.

Jobs are not as secure and %housing costs v income are higher than they were for those now retired. We also have to consider provision for our pensions in a way that many now retired didn't have to consider in the days of jobs for life. Baby boomers will start to sell up an downsize in the next decade or so. When they do, there will be a ripple effect at the top end of the housing market.

collarsandcuffs Wed 22-Jan-14 18:14:17


TOADfan Wed 22-Jan-14 18:14:22

Im actively looking for a terrace to rent as you get your neighbours heat through the walls..less cash for oil grin

mattsmadmum Wed 22-Jan-14 18:14:24

Thanks so much for support.will look into the idea of a tiny mortgage and be v careful

MrsBW Wed 22-Jan-14 18:16:22

I lived in a mid terrace.

Neighbours were ace, although with children, I'd have worried about my kid's noise travelling (ironically, neighbour had two kids with him every weekend and never heard a peep out of them).

Best bit was bills... They were tiny (£50 a month for gas and elec)

Neighbours can be a problem anywhere. I'd just check the walls were thick and makes sure your solicitor checks everything to do with access).

Good luck!

Preciousbane Wed 22-Jan-14 18:17:43

They sound a bit stuck up, some of the nicest neighbours I have ever had were in Birmingham in one of the most deprived parts when living in a mid terrace.

Neighbour disputes can happen anywhere. The only thing with terraces is noise can be worse because you share more walls.

IBelieveInPink Wed 22-Jan-14 18:19:16

As someone who lives in a terraced house, and is currently in the process of moving to a detached for that very reason, I would think carefully. We have one very lovely neighbour who is no trouble, and one horrific one!
If it is what you can afford and where you want to live, go for it. But perhaps before you buy you could pop round and chat to the neighbours? I wish I had done this before I bought- I wouldn't live where I live now if I had.

Pobblewhohasnotoes Wed 22-Jan-14 18:35:48

We bought a terraced house about a year ago and our neighbours are lovely.

bunchoffives Wed 22-Jan-14 18:40:11

I live in an ex council terrace. Double whammy!

My neighbours are fine. But we would be very close if any were awful.

Just check out neighbours carefully. Lurk at times when you are likely to see them such as Sat/Sun am

hiccupgirl Wed 22-Jan-14 18:41:23

We live in a 60s terrace though it's technically a semi downstairs as they were built with passageways between. We have the best neighbours on both sides - all retired and really look out for us and treat out DS like an extra grandchild. Sometimes I think it would be nice to not be quite so on top of each other but I like the security of other people nearby.

But obviously if you don't get on with your neighbours they are much closer to you in a terrace than in a detached house.

cosikitty Wed 22-Jan-14 18:44:21

I live in a semi, in a very middle class are, and we hate our neighbour! I have always lived in terraced houses prior to this and the neighbours there were lovely!

BMW6 Wed 22-Jan-14 18:47:18

I live in a mid terrace Victorian house. My neighbours are lovely (and I turn the CH off at 6pm cos they all come home from work and turn theirs on grin)

My Dsis bought a new detached house for nearly £200,000 more than mine, and has neighbours from hell.....

When you go to view a house check out the neighbours houses - are they well kept, no rubbish laying around, gardens/communal areas tidy & clean.
Go to the street at 11pm on a Saturday night, park up and look/listen.

It's not the houses per se that make a "good" neighbourhood - it's the people in them.

cozietoesie Wed 22-Jan-14 18:50:41

I live in a Victorian terraced house. Thick walls, roomy but warmer than a detached, and the security of people close at hand if needed. The neighbours are fine: we're none of us bosom buddies but that's no bad thing if you're there for any length of time. Courtesy and consideration is all that's needed, really.

I'd do a little bit of research but probably go for it. You can have just as bad 'falling-outs' in a detached house as you can in somewhere that's built next to someone else. And with interest rates looking as if they might go up, the thought of a low/no mortgage is a serious consideration.

mumblechum1 Wed 22-Jan-14 19:05:28

If it is a solidly built terrace eg victorian or edwardian with good thick walls you'll be fine. Many modern houses are built out of flimsy stuff so you can hear their kids crying.
We're detached but hear an awful lot of noise outside from the neighbours' kids and dogs making a racket so noguarantee a derached would be that much better

matildamatilda Wed 22-Jan-14 19:18:12

Some tips that have helped me get used to mid-terrace life:

1. Get to know neighbours however possible, bring treats, invite them round. When I know and like my neighbours the occasional loud music doesn't bother me as much. Also smoothes the way for potential negotiations around rights of way, etc.

2. Learn how to stand up for yourself when needed. I made a council report around a Crazy Lady who was using the whole backside of the terrace as a dog run/dog toilet. Everyone else was afraid of her. She gives me the stink eye every time I'm out but I no longer have the feral dogs digging up my herb garden.

Purplepoodle Wed 22-Jan-14 19:36:04

I live in terrace as do my parents. If your noise sensitive then it's pretty awful even with good neighbours. My neighbour plays music in the adjoining bedroom and can hear it clearly in my bedroom when house is quiet.

If I had the choice I would go detached or end terrace.

FoxOff Wed 22-Jan-14 19:38:46

It's the thin walls you have to worry about.

Just keep the music down and be sure to bite the pillow when you climax and you'll be fine.

WitchWay Wed 22-Jan-14 19:39:33

Make sure you know who is responsible for which bit concerning e.g. roof repairs - can be tricky

Waltonswatcher1 Wed 22-Jan-14 19:51:30

I think the age of the property is relevant. We had a Victorian terrace with thin walls-stayed in it a miserable year. The eighties terrace was better,but the seventies terrace we are still in after 12 years.
Budget is the priority-not only initial price but also cost of heating.Terraces are great for insulation.
Sure your family are not being snobs?
Flipping well done on your saving skills-envy pouring off me.

Silvercatowner Wed 22-Jan-14 19:54:31

We had to move because of nightmare neighbours. This was big house, detached, in a 'naice' area.

Can I confuse things, and write something very diifferent to Waltonswatcher

I think the age of the property is relevant. We had a (late, does it matter?) Victorian terrace with solid walls, and it was as quiet as a church. The 80s semi DH had was awful - you could hear them climbing the stairs on the other side of the house.

I'd buy a solid terrace in a flash. I wouldn't buy anything with plasterboard walls that was attached to anyone.

Nice saving!

Chippednailvarnish Wed 22-Jan-14 19:58:27

Take out a mortgage and buy a house you won't need to move from, for the longest time possible.

harticus Wed 22-Jan-14 20:03:44

I was a long term terrace dweller in London and loved it - had fabulous neighbours and no noise problems at all.
Moved to another terrace out in the sticks and had to leave within the year because as I lay in bed at night I could hear next-door farting.

On the upside they are very cheap to heat and insulate but parking can be a bloody nightmare.

Well done for getting it together to live mortgage free.
Good luck.

cerealqueen Wed 22-Jan-14 20:05:31

I have only ever lived in terraced houses (am in my 40s) and have never ever had neighbour problems, plus heating bills are lower as you are insulated both sides!

Go for it, envious of being mortgage free!

yonisareforever Wed 22-Jan-14 20:16:59

FFS - you have to be VERY unlucky to end up living next to a bunch of smack heads, and most people in this country live in flats or terraced homes! We'd all love to live in a detached property within an acre of our own private grounds - BUT back in the real world........... It's nice having neighbours to feed the cats, keep an eye on things when you go away for the weekend

HELLO just wanted to post from our real world on our road, where we have had such amazingly dire problems with neighbours its affected our personal life to an un imaginable degree.

The problem with terraced housing is party walls.

One side you usually have entry hallway, stairs and corridors, so usually more insulation that side.

On the other side you will share living room and so on walls! This is where problems occur, also gardens in summer, windows open, one person playing loud music.

If you really want to take the risk, do talk to your neighbours, have a look at the house, is it taken care of, well decorated, do they rent or own, and are they likely to move, and if they do will they rent the house out or sell.

Our road is interspersed with horrific and hideous houses, packed to the gunnels with lodgers, think constant police attendance, drugs raids, fights, curtains half up at windows, rubbish and old furniture outside, urinating anywhere and everywhere, using other peoples gardens for access to their houses as they loose or don't have keys, summers ruined in the garden because of excessively loud music every night, crowds smoking front and back, and general unpleasantness. If your house is joined to such a house, ie one that is rented out at rock bottom prices to a high turnover or lodgers, think damage to your house that will never get sorted, fire risk, rubbish chucked into your garden and so on.

Lots of people on my road have been very un lucky and live next to selfish animals.

There is no way on this earth I would ever buy terraced again, and I would strongly urge you to ask your neighbours lots of questions. ur

One poor family I used to speak too, said " we are irish, we saw the car next door had irish plates and we knew he was renting but we thought he cant be that bad if he is irish....of course, he moved on a few weeks after then the arseholes moved in and that was the end of our happy time at the house"

I used to see that lady babe in arms trying to reason with the LL who has since been done for GBH.

rightsaidfrederick Wed 22-Jan-14 20:28:08

YANBU. I live in a mid-terrace (rented) and have very nice neighbours (students on one side, an old lady on the other), despite living in an area that was until recently famed for its gangland shootings. You can sometimes hear what the neighbours are doing, but only when they're being loud and they rarely are. The big difference between in and the semi where I lived until recently is that it is SO much warmer and the bills are SO much lower.

I do, however, miss having a garden - all we've got is a postage stamp-sized bit of concrete out the back.

FWIW my dad lives in a semi detatched in a naice semi rural village, and has knobs for neighbours. Knobs live in all sorts of places.

RafflesWay Wed 22-Jan-14 20:31:39

Definitely agree with everyone advising to check out noise and hopefully existing neighbours. However no guarantees wherever you buy as good neighbours can leave. We have been in our lovely large detached home for 25 years - been mortgage free for 5 years now and it is fab! Both neighbours either side had been here roughly the same amount of time as us as the houses were a small development of individual private new builds. Unfortunately neighbours one side - my bestest friend sob!- divorced and had to sell up to split the proceeds. They sold to a young couple who are a complete PITA! You enjoy your mortgage free new home and don't let anyone put you off. Some of the loveliest people live in terraced houses and some of the biggest pains are those desperately trying to keep up with the jones's!!

17leftfeet Wed 22-Jan-14 20:37:09

I live in a terrace, never heard a peep from the neighbours

I used to live in a very middle class semi and the neighbours were so noisy it wasn't funny!

hiddenhome Wed 22-Jan-14 20:42:51

I lived in a terrace and loved it. We now live in a semi and the neighbours are a bunch of shits and we've had endless problems.

We've just put in an offer on another terrace grin

GirlWithTheDirtyShirt Wed 22-Jan-14 20:44:07

We live in a mid terrace (just three houses on our run) and have no problems. We have a shared drive but all the covenants are in place so no issues at all.

One side is a house share and we've perhaps heard two peeps out of them in two years, other than friendly exchanges, and the other side is a single mother who prefers staying at her mums so we never hear anything from them either.

harticus Wed 22-Jan-14 20:46:45


That is not a problem with terraced housing, that is a problem with the neighbourhood.

whitepuddingsupper Wed 22-Jan-14 20:50:28

I lived in a mid terrace and the only real problem was parking as it was a narrow street with no driveways but the neighbours were fine, only occasional noise from one side when the teenage son's parents were away for the weekend and he had mates over but it wasn't often.

Pimpf Wed 22-Jan-14 20:52:06

Firstly, this is your decision, not you dm or dsis, secondly, you can get bad neighbours anywhere.

livelablove Wed 22-Jan-14 20:54:46

Yes you need to be in a good area and you can't tell just by looking. Good thick walls very important. Gardens can be a problem. But to be living mortgage free is a huge bonus so if you can find a good house I would do it.

yonisareforever Wed 22-Jan-14 20:59:54

you can get bad neighbours anywhere but the nature of terraced housing with thin walls makes it far more of a problem.

check the walls adn the neighbours,

having a couple being a PITA is one thing, having 8 or 9 people living next to you all being PITA is another entirely.

talk to the neighburs.

Viviennemary Wed 22-Jan-14 21:04:07

I agree that it can be pot luck if you get good neighbours or not. Terraced houses do sometimes cause problems with noise and parking. But so do other houses with people parking outside their houses and not on the drive and so on. And people having 3 or four cars parked. And folk in detached houses can have problems with noisey neighbours barbecuing till dawn and loud music.

OpalQuartz Wed 22-Jan-14 21:07:47

I think Victorian terraces do often have thicker walls and better soundproofing than say 1930s semis, but perhaps that isn't always the case?

NearTheWindmill Wed 22-Jan-14 21:10:07

I think the argument's more about neighbourhood than type of house. We are in london and in the last 30 years have lived in 60ks flat, vict terrace, vict semi (with about 6 inches betwwen pairs) and now 1990's mid terrace. All ur neighbours have been lovely professional people.

I find the view that terraces are somehow third class quite offensive actually.

Pipbin Wed 22-Jan-14 21:10:58

I have just moved from a mid terrace where we lived for 10 years.
We got on well with both of our neighbours. One was a single chap and the other was a widowed lady, therefore there wasn't too much noise. Except the man was a DJ and used to play music quite often, it was Northern Soul though and we didn't mind too much. If we ever asked him he would turn in down. The only time I every heard anything from the lady was when we would both get up at 6 am and I would hear her having a wee! When her grandchildren came to visit I could hear every word.

For the last year we were there they both moved out. He moved with work and she moved into sheltered accommodation. The people who bought the mans house were lovely and doing it up to rent. We knew that when the ladies family had got everything sorted then hers would be sold, undoubtably to rent too. We sold up as quick as we could.
And about right too, the new neighbours in the mans house were really not very friendly at all. Loud arguments and drug use. That said you could listen into the arguments, it was like Jeremy Kyle! The ladies house was bought by a guy for band practice!

Like any house you can't choose the neighbours. The most expensive house could have dreadful neighbours. My thoughts would be about the size of the house. I personally would get a tiny mortgage and get something you never have to leave.

Blu Wed 22-Jan-14 21:11:41

Every thing has it's compromises, and I would think long and hard before compromising my ability to live mortgage free! The thing that might swing me is, will you be wanitng to upsize in the future? Where I live (London) I would buy the biggest I could afford now because by the time I was going to move in another 5 years, say, prices would have risen so ridiculously that I wouldn't be able to afford and inflated extra mortgage.

Whereas you might be in a sensible part of the country where you can save as fast as house prices rise.

I lived in a flat, then 2 terraces, then a semi. There are terraces and terraces. Terrace houses in London count as quite-very posh in most areas. Had 3 lots of lovely neighbours in our terraces, and one truly awful lot. And it was my own fault, I could easily have researched it. Many many terraces are in calm friendly roads. I would happily live mid-terrace again.

Is it a Victorian terrace, or modern?

The only drawback apart from the neighbours is that everything for the back garden has to be carted through the house: workmen's ladders, turf for the garden, slabs for the patio, debris back out...

Not sure why your dsis and dm are 'furious': apart from offering any helpful experience if they have any what is it to do with them?

MaeveWest Wed 22-Jan-14 21:14:25

Im in a terrace and have no problems. On one side, i hear their dog when it barks to be let back IN! That is the most annoying noise but it would be the same in a row of semis.

yonisareforever Wed 22-Jan-14 21:14:33

Ours is victorian opal and the walls are pretty thin.

bonvivant Wed 22-Jan-14 21:16:15

I once moved to a house in the country to have no neighbours and ended up with terrible neighbour issues. Now I live on a lovely estate with nice neighbours.

Notcontent Wed 22-Jan-14 21:16:19

Ha, ha - you are obviously not in London!!!
Around where I am people pay nearly a million for even a tiny crappy terrace and feel pretty lucky to be able to buy a house, rather than just a flat!

yonisareforever Wed 22-Jan-14 21:17:31

I have found most london terraces are not only policed better in terms of hot EH teams to deal with noise but they also tend to be more solid and far better sound proofed its elsewhere you need to check.

happylittlevegemites Wed 22-Jan-14 22:16:32

"Oh they don't build them like they did in the old days".

Pah. PAH. P A H ! ! Thank fuck they don't

If I had a pound for every time I heard that, I could have paid for the renovations on our Victorian terrace!

We've just moved to a 20 year old detached house. Yes, the terrace was very cute, yes this little new estate is a bit dull, but I love not being woken up by next doors hair dryer.

Just like now, old houses could be built by good or bad builders. Ours was built by ye olde worlde Barratts.

(Disclaimer - terraces aren't all bad, I have friends who love theirs, we did make a tidy profit on ours and - most importantly - do what suits your family not your dsis and dm!).

wonkylegs Wed 22-Jan-14 22:24:20

We had a lovely terraced house, we could rarely hear the neighbours (in 10yrs we heard a few drunken party renditions of the Sound of Music on one side and one or two teenage staircase meltdowns on the other but that was it) we had more problems with people on the other side of the street. We loved our neighbours either side and we were very sad to move.

My dad lives in a cul-de-sac of posh detached houses and has neighbours from hell on one side.

Unless you are moving to the middle of a field on your own (which has it's own downsides) neighbours are going to be there. Whether or not they are good neighbours is less predictable. Whether or not your house is soundproof - check when you buy. Some houses (terraced/semi/detached) are flimsy others solid as a rock.

It would never cross my mind that it would be a problem! We live in quite a middle-class/crunchy area (lib dems, allotments & babywearing!) and we all live in Victorian terraces.

There's a 1200 sq ft terrace not far from me on the market for £725k right now (and I'm not in London) so the idea of buying a detached house anywhere around here is just hilarious!

Of course, my American in laws assume we live in a slum.

I should clarify that my terraced house is not worth anything like 725k (!!) - just that the concept of holding out for a detached home in my city would be a but loopy when some (equally loopy) people are paying that much for a mid-terrace.

TheRaniOfYawn Thu 23-Jan-14 07:32:50

I've always lived in terraces. I don't really understand the snobbery as although I'm currently in an ex council terrace with lovely neighbours I have also lived in a terrace with a spin doctor on one side, a retired headmistress on the other side and an actress who is the type the papers calm a national treasure across the road. It's just a house.

jamdonut Thu 23-Jan-14 07:48:54

I live in a terraced house,that has an alleyway to the back garden every two houses. It is ex - council. When we moved here 11 years ago, both neighbours were lovely,elderly lady one side and a family of grown-ups the other (council house).

Unfortunately, the family moved out 3 years ago, and the council put in a young family. Our lives have not been the same since!!! The kids scream and yell in the garden and their bedrooms ( I can take children playing, I'm a TA - this is more than playing) The parents yell at each other and the kids and smoke weed, which seems to seep through the walls. Disgusting!

If I could afford to move,I would. But don't know what your neighbours are going to be like elsewhere.It is a lottery. Very depressing.

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