Things you wish you'd been told about home ownership...(49 Posts)
Accepting of course, that owning your own home puts you in the most fortunate and privileged section of society - so all moaning is strictly relative...
There are some things I've learnt painfully and expensively over the years that I wish I'd known at the start
1. Don't buy a house with an actual grass and plants type of front garden - this is probably a personality type problem.
Unless you like dressing like a scarecrow and cleaning cat and dogshit up endlessly.
Unless you like other people watching you throw tantrums while dressed your worst and sweating like a pig while uselessly throwing a spade at the rock hard soil.
Unless you also find it funny to have one neighbour after another say (so originally) 'Well, when you're done there, you can always do mine' ha ha ha ha ha
Of course if you own a mansion with an in/out drive and tall hedges (and a gradener) this proabbly isn't a problem.
Otherwise buy a house with a driveway .... or a flat.
I've almost always owned my own house. Now please dont flame me for this, but I am totally awed by the freedom that renting gives me. Getting a husband to fix anything is a nightmare. Landlords fix things in a comparatively short period, without stupid arguements, and you dont have to see their stroppy faces at dinner. If they dont fix the shower and let the water leak under the floor.... its not my problem! how awesome is that?
And if I dont like the place, I can just move. :D
2. Never buy a house to renovate to make money unless you
(a) are a builder
(b) come from a family of builders
(c) are bonkers
You will make more money from rises in the market than you ever will from renovation which will make your piss boil for every penny you spent that the reclusive hoarders down the road didn't spend only to get the same sale price.
You will hate every minute of renovation and may well lose your sanity and your relationship.
Renters can't really 'just move' though. A deposit is needed as are fees and that has to be paid before you get your deposit back. In London your average deposit is £2500k with fees and moving costs, it'll cost close to £3500k.
Not that easy to 'just move' when you think of the financial aspect.
Renovating is the most stressful, dirty, long winded, painful, blood sweat and tears process that you can go through while living in it.
You may as well pay your monthly wage directly to B& Q and the local builders merchants as you will just work to pay for expensive stuff.
Then, 5/10 years down the line, you have to do it all again because you have kids and they slowly, systematically wreck and damage all the work you have put into your lovely home.
Renovating takes forever. Take your worst estimate, and multiply it by 10.
Take a room that only needs a touch of paint, and should be done easily within a weekend. Because it's your home, you want to do it properly, and a week later it's still not finished. Let's not even mention the heavy stuff and employing external help. Also, choosing the perfect everything for your home would drive anyone crazy. For me the result is really worth it, but the process is so painful!
You need a warehouse to store everything you need for the garden, when you stupidly thought a lawn mower and a pair of secateurs would do the trick.
You need to know your boundaries and keep an eye on them when you have cheeky neighbours.
Apart from that, I must confess I love owning my place and my freedom. I have always been very lucky with landlords and agencies when I rented, but it felt like such a waste of money. I am in the South East, and couldn't really afford to rent, it would cost me nearly double my monthly mortgage to rent the same size house, prices have gone crazy.
Yep - I think the whole 'amateur' renovation game is a mug's game really.
You can't really buy unrenovated houses significantly cheaper than finished properties these days - to make it worthwhile you have to be or know builders and live in it while rebuilding which is genuinely no way to live a life.
I don't think I'll ever buy a project again.
When I look back at all our houses over the years and what they sold for and then check again now what they cost today and what the shabby houses on the streets go for - it's blatantly obvious that it was financially pointless doing the work we did and going through the pain and discomfort and wasting all those hours, days, weeks and months - sometimes years!!!
In every case where I can compare data over past properties we owned - we would have been better off simply living in them and selling them without spending a penny.
Or, using the renovation budget to buy an already finished house.
The downside of that is that you don't want to pay extra for somebody else's amateur 'project' especially if it was their first - and that's where they 'learnt from all their mistakes' ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
I, like catsinthecradle, love owning my place. I seem to place a huge value on the freedom I afford myself to only move when I want to. Not to be determined by someone else; like when our landlord decided to sell the flat 6 months after we had moved in. My advise;
Have some savings to fall back on - we have been caught out by this several times; hence the boiler cover that we have now.
The maintenance jobs that your landlord always did, that is now your responsibility. And it costs. You do have to keep on top of them as once they are left too long they become replacement which can be more expensive.
A house near a good school will always sell.
Before you buy your first home, ensure that you will be happy to be stuck there. Don't buy a place where you are already planning your next move before you have even moved into the place you have just bought. I have seen people saying that they plan to live in a house for 5yrs before moving on. Shit happens and you might find yourself there 10yrs later.
I dont know about renovation being a mug's game.
We renovated our house when we moved in. We got it at about 100k less than what it would have been worth had it been properly done up, spent 80k renovating (extended kitchen, put in a second bathroom, new boiler, new kitchen and bathroom, completely rewired, replastered and repainted, new doors, stripped back and varnished original wooden floors, restored fireplaces, landscaped garden...the whole shebang).
We added about 150k to its value instantly, possibly more.
It was one of the most stressful 4 months of my life (I was very pregnant, too), but we couldn't have got the house we wanted in the location we wanted unless we had taken on a bit of an old wreck.
I wouldn't renovate in order to sell, though, iyswim. I just couldn't be arsed.
Houses on our street do sell for dramatically different prices depending on their layout and how ponced up they are, though. But even so...too much work.
kirinm, I am only speaking about my experience. which is why I asked not be flamed.
On the subject of renovations, don't always assume that the improvements you have made to your home will automatically increase the value of it. They might make it easier to sell as better condition to its competitors. However, don't hold back on installing a kitchen that you have always wanted. I say life is too short and that we should have the things we want if we can afford them. But only if you appreciate that you did the work, it gave you a certain amount of pleasure having things the way you wanted and that you might never recoup the 'investment'
There's always the exception that proves the rule.
Generally sellers and buyers are more savvy these days - Google and so on - and generally if it's know in the location that a house is available that is £100k below the market for done up houses - you'll have competition pushing prices up.
But if you spend £80k on the basis that the 'done-up' valuation at the time of purchase was £100k more than the actual puchase price and you later say you've added £150k to the possible sale price now - then £50k of that must be due to a shift upwards in the market prices in your area - which you would have got a proportion of without lifting a finger.
I've bought one house and sold it for double the price a year later having spent peanuts - just hoovered it really.
Then I've bought a flat and spent £40k and sold it 5 years on for £40k more than my original purchase price - which is fecking useless!
I'm with your op, OP*
I hate doing the front garden. Dh is bashing all the flower beds up so we can just tarmac the lot.
No matter how well you research your purchase or know what you are doing there will always be surprises.
Renovation was hard work but worked out well (I am an architect though so should know what I'm doing) and I have a lovely front garden (gated and hedged/tree'd off from the neighbours though) but despite knowing we had lots of work to do I wasn't expecting the leaking toilet the day we moved in (discovered it when I stepped in the puddle 😡) or the dead bats in the water tank (blocked the shower bleugh) or the planning application submitted for the field opposite the day we moved in or the countless bodge jobs buried under everything.
Do not buy an old house. It's charming, amazing, quirky, whatever. It's a black hole which eats your money. You will spend the rest of your life paying huge sums to keep it standing and half-functioning.
And you won't get cable.
Be prepared to be b&qs main shopper for life!
A good tradesman is hard to find
Various bathroom specialists are on the hard sell and will get shitty if you don't drop everything that minute and give them a deposit
Final Bills from previous rental will mean first month will be so tight it's unreal
British Gas home care insurance is an extremely good deal
thats what I've learnt so far and we are in month 4 of home ownership!
Nothing really. I've bought a flat and 3 houses since first getting on the property ladder. All have needed a bit of decorating or doing up during the time I've lived in them, but nothing too major. All have sold for more than I bought them for. Dh likes gardening. <shrug> I like owning our house. Admittedly buying and moving into them is a pain in the butt, but I guess moving to a new rental is a pain too.
Here's another I just remembered...
Don't live near a corner shop if people parking in front of your dropped kerb/driveway annoys you.
Or a school,
Or a hairdressers,
Here's a 'truism' that has a flaw...
"Buy the cheapest house on the best (most expensive?) road."
Only as long as you accept that it will still always be the cheapest house on the best road.
Because it's cheap for a reason other than the decorating, and it'll always be the cheapest house - relative the other houses - on the most expensive road.
Every location has a top and bottom price and it's hard to shift between the two without spending enough to have bought at the top price anyway.
House values do fall as well as rise ( late eighties, first house, fingers burnt)
Don't buy the house next to the 'weird' neighbour in the belief that they'll change or move out eventually - they'll see you out.
Every weird neighbour I've ever lived near is still there - they never move and they live for ever.
Round here, you can very much still make money doing houses up. You do have to be prepared to live in and do a lot DIY though. Not a problem for us as I enjoy DIY - escapsim from my very boring 'real' job.
I wish I knew how much bad neighbours will devalue a property. We took a big hit on our first place because we were desperate to move and had to declare past boundary issues. Also lost a year of my life trying to get them resolved just so we could move in the first place. I will never ever ever live any commercial premises again, they are the worst neighbours ever.
We nearly went the mortgage route years ago but with all houses, renovation and upkeep is a must. That is something that is easy to ignore!
We factored in at least £120 month minimum for repairs (for example, a new roof would take 6 years to save up for at this rate!), which adds to council tax and the mortgage itself. Fabulous if you can manage it but in some areas, home ownership with the maintenance thrown in can be pricier than renting.
You have to be earniing some serious moolah to be able to save £120 a month apart from other needs (car(s), kids' BDs, Christmas, etc.)
I do admire those who manage it!!
It is far better to have a pro come in and do work to your house, instead of DIY. Granted, we can all paint, but we can often think we can become plumbers after watching a clip on Youtube! Usually ends in disaster...
You also have to make sure there are no neighbour disputes, either, or it will go on your record...
To much stress for me!! :D
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