Ready-to-move-in vs. 'project' house?! Aaargh - how to decide?!

(103 Posts)
flow4 Tue 23-Apr-13 00:26:07

I'm going round and round in circles, and just wonder whether any of you good people might have any information, ideas or opinions that might help me make some decisions... confused grin

I found a house I liked - not perfect, but very nice and practical, for £130k. It has a new, good quality kitchen and bathroom, but will need rewiring and a bit of patching up. Unfortunately (a) the vendor isn't ready to move and doesn't want to be hurried, and (b) it's probably only worth £125, and maybe not even quite that, since the local market is stagnant. I offered and was rejected, raised and was rejected again, and we've stalled... So I started looking again.

I'm thinking again about another house I saw last summer, but rejected at the time because it needs so much work. It will need a new kitchen, bathroom, a wall that has been put up in a silly place knocking down again, rewiring, a new gas CH/hot water system, and total redecoration. It's in a better location with a great, open view. It also has new windows and doors, compared with 10-15yo ones on the other house. It's on the market at £120, but has been for almost a year, so could probably be bought for £110-115k.

Both houses are ex-council 3 bed semis with garages, with good gardens, on similar sized patches, in different but nearby villages.

Other similar houses are to be found for around £130-140k, but I haven't seen any I like yet.

The question is, is £15k enough to do the work that the second house will need? I'm estimating costs as follows, with some work done at 'mates rates'...
Bathroom - £2k
Kitchen - £4k
Walls knocking down, possible RSJ and replastering - £4k
New boiler and system - £4k
Redecoration (labour and paint) - £1k
Do these figures sound reasonable? (I'm in Yorkshire btw).

Also, both houses will need rewiring; does anyone know what I should budget for that?

In my dreams, I'd also like a little garden room extension and an basic loft room... What sort of ball park figures should I pencil in?!

The other question, of course, is whether I can face taking on so much work! I don't know the answer to that one yet, so if anyone has any experiences they'd like to share of their own house projects, please do! (I would be able to stay in my current house while work is being done on a new one, for a month or so anyway).

Sorry for such a long post, and thank you if you've read all the way though... I'm a single parent, and need someone to talk all this through with really; but if you lot are happy to help, I might be able to stop my head exploding!

Well we moved into our house which needed new kitchen, electrics boiler, redecoration, some re plastering, Flooring throughout, garden etc

So far we've spent under 5k doing it all ourselves/family. It's certainly do able and the satisfaction is great but it is hard to live in (kitchen is the worst!)
It's a relatively short amount of time though and so so worth it. You can make the house exactly as you want it.
As this is our first house we've brought after being in rented its so nice to have colours that we've chosen and a kitchen in our style etc.
I love it!
Maybe next time I would try and do te major works before moving in though - especially with a toddler and being pregnant grin

AliceWChild Tue 23-Apr-13 08:05:39

It's similar to what I'm doing.

The house I lived in now needed a that when we moved in. It's taken us 10 years to do as we has other priorities. Never again.

The house I'm moving to is similar and we've kept some money out to do work. A bit less than you but we don't think we can afford the kitchen as a result. Tbh the chance of finding a house I like the decor of is tiny so it's not something I look for in a house. We're not moving in till works done this time.

I've followed your stuff and the seller of the first house now sounds a nightmare tbh. I'd walk away. I'm also buying the house I am as it has an easy seller.

If you can really really get great mates rates your budget might be ok. The bathroom and kitchen don't sound that far off what materials would cost. Boiler and building stuff sounds more in ball park but I'm no expert.

If you don't need to move straight away and have the money I'd get the 2nd house for sure.

3rdnparty Tue 23-Apr-13 08:13:18

Your budget looks a bit light, enough for the parts if you shop carefully grin- but I'm in London so hard to judge labour...but would go with the house in a better location.....esp if you planning to stay for a while it's much more important

Fragglewump Tue 23-Apr-13 08:49:52

It can be quite stressful and messy doing big works not to mention very easy to get ripped off if you're not experienced at managing lots of different trades. We have just done our house and I underestimated how stressful the kids would find it! And me especially when things went wrong and we had no kitchen for a few weeks. So if you have the skills to do it yourself or to manage the trades then go for it - maybe put some stuff in storage for a while as everything will be covered in brick and plaster dust. It is very rewarding to get everything exactly as you want it and if the doer upper is a better location and aspect then I think that would tempt me.....good luck

Unfortunatelyanxious Tue 23-Apr-13 08:56:45

Find out what housing is actually selling for in the areas your looking at. I would walk away from house a but though the market is stagnant am wondering why house b has been on the market for so long.

www.rightmove.co.uk/house-prices.html

I had an estimate for a loft room, it wasn't a basic one and included a shower room but was 25k , this is the Midlands so not the mega expensive SE. To me a house is a home and not something to profit by but be aware that it will always be a semi so conversions and extensions will not always pay you back.

Also what are your family arrangements? Are we talking toddlers in the middle of the building work.

One thing I find with mates rates is they can tend to fit you in as and when, so may take longer.

flow4 Tue 23-Apr-13 16:00:24

Thanks everyone. smile So much to think about! confused
I'm only on my phone at the mo, so I'll respond properly when I can get to a PC later...

flow4 Tue 23-Apr-13 22:15:32

Jazz, that figure sounds amazingly low - did you really do all that for £5K?! If so, wow and well done, and you're an inspiration! grin

Alice and 3rd, I think you're right about most of the figures being tight. I'm counting on getting things like bathroom suites in sales. I bought an IKEA kitchen a couple of years ago and fitted it myself, other than a joiner to cut and fit the worktop and a gas fitter to fit the hob, and it cost £2.5K including oven, hob and dishwasher, so I know it's doable at that price. I'm inclined towards the 2nd house too, but phased by the thought of all the work... I can imagine myself sitting there looking at the view as I grow old. smile

Fraggle and UA, I'm not under-estimating the stress. I had my basement kitchen ripped out, damp-proofed and re-fitted a couple of years ago, and it nearly killed me was hugely stressful. My kids are teenagers, so old enough to be helpful if they're in the right mood , but they're not keen on all the upheaval and would sooner move into something already sorted. UA you are absolutely right about mates just fitting you in 'as and when', and that's a big potential drawback, and really important for me to think through - so thanks. smile

One thing that keeps running through my head is this: because I am not selling my current house, but letting it out, I can stay here for a few weeks while the worst of the work is being done on the new house. That's a very lucky position to be in - it's a real advantage and not something most people get - nor is it likely to be possible ever again... It's a great opportunity, and maybe I should take advantage of it?!

Mosman Wed 24-Apr-13 01:34:20

It sounds like you are in a easily good position I would bargain hard on the asking price of the project though to provide yourself with a slush fund, something always comes up doesn't it

PastaBeeandCheese Wed 24-Apr-13 07:42:48

It sounds like you're in a good position to do the work and having experienced the mess of renovation before know what to expect.

You know where you stand with house B. You know it needs lots of work. House A looks 'done' on the surface but how good is boiler? How much life does kitchen and bathroom have left? You'll want to redecorate lounge and bedrooms to your taste anyway?

Not sure house A is worth £20k more taking into account there will still be things you need to do.

flow4 Wed 24-Apr-13 08:06:59

Thanks mosman and pasta. I'm not very good at bargaining, but if I offer on this house, I'll try! The kitchen and bathroom in house A are brand new, good quality and pleasant - ones I might actually have picked myself (or almost). The boiler is about 5 years old, but the radiators are much older. Buy your conclusion, pasta, is the one I came to - which is why we couldn't agree a price, and why I'm looking round again...

AliceWChild Wed 24-Apr-13 08:08:43

If you're handy enough to put in your own kitchen then that reduces the costs loads as its the labour that's pricey.

I'm doing what you mention in your last para. It is a really good opportunity to get your ideal house with minimal hassle. Getting work done when you're not there is such a different thing to living in all the dirt. Can you keep some more equity of out the let to buy to fund works? It's what we're doing. Have you seen a financial advisor as they can work the sums in lots of different ways to give you options?

greenformica Wed 24-Apr-13 17:37:32

New gas and electric would be 10k alone in our area. Flooring? A couple of thousand maybe?

If you have babies or toddlers or are pregnant - don't do it. Otherwise it should be fine but a big commitment.

The house has not been bought for good reason. It needs tons of work. In your shoes I'd offer 100 but not negotiate at all or offer more for another month. Then if you do make an additional offer make it 103 or something very very low.

teacherwith2kids Wed 24-Apr-13 17:52:05

We took on a Project (needs a capital letter - complete rip out and refit job - water, heating, electricity, windows, bathrooms, as well as a significant building project resulting in a kitchen to fit).

Also floors, replastering following the work, total redecoration.

The house had been on the market a while, and basically the pot of money available for buy + renovate was fixed (so any money on renovation = money off the price).

What we did was to get trades to come round to price up the work (we used ones recommended by our EA, who used them in their lettings business, so both sides knew no funny business). Then sent in a spreadsheet saying why our offer was as it was. We ended up taking a VERY significant amount off, but it was accepted because any buyer would have had to do the same work IYSWIM?

doglover Wed 24-Apr-13 20:14:15

This might be a daft question but is it possible to still live in a major renovation project?! We've got our eye on a possible house which requires an immense amount of ripping out and starting again. What do other people do in this situation? We have no relatives that we could stay with: do you put your belongings in storage and rent somewhere for a month? TIA

wendybird77 Thu 25-Apr-13 11:40:42

We are at the tail end of a renovation. I would not do it again living in it. I would rent / live in a caravan on in the garden and keep everything boxed and in storage. I have 2 smalls though and have project managed myself. We have spent about 35k pretty easily - which, of course, we could have done for less but we stuck with mid-range materials, fixtures, etc. We have had nice built-in storage put in in several rooms. We did not rewire, but have had new boiler and replaced rads, kitchen, bathrooms, flooring, replastering, knocked through two walls. We also had unexpected roof problems. Labour was most of that cost by far. I think your budget is far too low. You will save a lot of money doing as much yourself as you can, but don't underestimate how long that will take and how tired you will be of it all! I was saving costs by doing the decorating myself, but have run out of enthusiasm for it (understatement!) and am just paying someone else to finish the rest now. We still need to have the stairs / landing / hall done and I expect it will take me a couple of years to get around to it despite hideousness of decor. I can't handle any more mess and chaos!

flow4 Sat 27-Apr-13 00:31:09

I really sympathise, wendy! I had my basement kitchen ripped out, damp-proofed and re-fitted a couple of years ago, and it took 3 times as long as expected and nearly drove me mad! I wouldn't even consider this if I had smalls rather than teens, and if it wasn't possible to stay in my current house while the nastiest stuff is being done!

As it is, I think I'm going to put a cheeky offer in on the doer-upper tomorrow - one that reflects the masses of work it needs! confused Keep your fingers crossed for me please... smile

Sausagedog27 Sat 27-Apr-13 07:18:38

Good luck flow!

flow4 Sat 27-Apr-13 08:18:43

Thank you sausage! I've been awake fretful, trying to work out the sums! My builder friend reckons it could be made nicer than the other house for £15-20k and a lot of work... This gives me a max offer of £110-115k I reckon.

Tizwozliz Sat 27-Apr-13 08:46:22

How desperately are the improvements needed? Can any of it be lived with for a while

We moved into a 1950s ex-council semi that had had one owner and where re-decoration consisted of putting more wallchip over the existing wallchip and painting it smile The bathroom however had a newer suite so is functional if not very lovely to look at with the original tiles but this meant we can live with it whilst we work on other priority areas, like the kitchen. Photo on profile, Ikea - under your budget.

AliceWChild Sat 27-Apr-13 08:56:07

Good luck! grin

purplewithred Sat 27-Apr-13 08:57:36

With your knowhow, a house you can see yourself growing old in and with loft/extension possibilities, and teenagers, and the chance to rent for an extra month crossover period, I'd go for the Project but only if I had £25k cash in my pocket on the day of completion.

flow4 Sat 27-Apr-13 10:09:33

Thanks Tiz, Alice and purple. smile
Tiz, yes, the bathroom can be lived with. I think the priority is getting the downstairs sorted, because all sorts of things are inter-related there (walls, kitchen, decor, at least). The electrics can prob wait too.
purple, that's my feeling too, although I might settle for £20k. I need to check my sums, because although I have a mortgage approved well above asking price, it occurs to me that if I offer less, and it's valued at less, the BS will also actually lend me less... confused

AliceWChild Sat 27-Apr-13 14:58:48

They will. When we did ours we used a financial advisor to work out the different combinations as it gets complicated as the loan to value ratios need to stay the same.

flow4 Sat 27-Apr-13 19:17:00

Yes, I expect they will. smile I texted my broker ( "my broker" grin ) this morning to ask, but didn't hear back. The only tricky issue is that I applied for a mortgage with a low LTV (or is it high?! Anyway, less than 50%...) I won't have any problems getting a loan with a higher LTV, and still won't need more than about 60-65%, but I don't know whether that means a fresh set of application fees...

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