What to do for the best?(6 Posts)
Bit of a first world problem, but looking for some advice on what to do going forward.
We have been in our house for 9 years. 4 bed semi with decent sized garden, London suburb. Its worth approx £900k. We have a £110k mortgage left to pay off over the next 10 years.
When we moved in, it was a wreck. We had the whole place re-wired, a downstairs extension on the kitchen, new kitchen, new boiler, new bathroom and downstairs loo. Sanded down all wooden floors, plastered and painted etc. However, 9 years later, it really needs re-decorating. Our DC have grown up in this house from toddlerhood and it is knackered - scuffed paint work, dirty carets, scratched wooden floors, scribbles on wall the usual.
More importantly, I suppose, some of the essential things we ran out of money and left when we moved in now need urgent attention (roof needs retiling, the windows and wooden window frames at the front of the house are knackered and need replacing, the front path is dangerously cracked and needs re-doing etc).
I am grateful for the house we have, but at almost 40, I really would like to live in a house that feels 'finished'. However, we can't even afford some of the urgent works at the moment (we are seeing to the roof, but can't afford the windows, for example), let alone to redecorate.
We have toyed with the idea of taking equity out of the house and doing the lot - possibly even extending up into the roof and really making this our 'forever home' (sorry to go all Kirsty Allsop ). But that would mean adding to our mortgage, which doesn't seem a sensible thing to be doing at our age (DH is 50).
But would we be better off to move somewhere else - a further out suburb with cheaper house prices, or a smaller property with scope to extend? - and really having a go at making it lovely within our budget?
I hope that makes sense. I just really want to live in a house we can afford to make and keep nice, if that makes sense?
A £110k mortgage plus a bit for the work you want doing isn't a big burden at 40 or even 50, on a house with that much equity.
Stamp duty alone, if you were to move, would probably be as much as you need for the refurbishment on your current property.
It depends on whether you love your current house/ life and what the alternative options are byt moving is a very expensive business in its own right.
A 4 bed semi of a certain age needs a similar amount of upkeep, no matter where you are located, it's just the house that's worth more where you are.
Agree with bear, I would take out some equity unless you positively want to move. If you do fancy a move further out then go for it although your kids must be on the cusp of teenagerdom in which case, do you really want them to hate you forever for relocating them to dull suburbia?! Don't see it as a sunk cost - any windows/ path you have done now should still be ok if you want to sell it a few years down the line when the kids leave home.
While interest rates are so low I would take out some equity. Do what needs doing and you'll be able to downsize mortgage free in a few years time with a retirement nest egg.
Thanks for replies, all.
Taking equity out does seem the most sensible approach, I know. Just nervous about adding to our mortgage. We paid off 100k of it last year when DH got a big lump sum through his business, but he is self employed and those sort of lump sums are rare and it doesn't look like another is coming anytime soon...
DH floats the idea now and then of buying a little 3 bed terrace further in to London for 800k-ish and doing it up, with the hope it will appreciate even more than our house will...but neither of us are exactly property developer-types, so that idea makes me nervous, too. (Fwiw, we only really need 3 bedrooms...the fourth bedroom is just a spare room/lets-be-honest-we-use-it-to-store-junk room ).
You'd pay around £30,000 in stamp duty on a £800,000 and probably close to £10,000 in estate agents fees selling your own property.
That's a chunk you could put towards the renovations. I agree that I'd stay put and remortgage unless you're desperate to change location. I think your mortgage is very small for your age and adding to it given the equity isn't going to be too much of a stretch.
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