Would you buy a house you don't *love*?

(49 Posts)
ClaudiaSchiffer Mon 10-Dec-12 03:08:51

Yeah yeah I know that this is a non-problem really in the great schemem of things but bearing in mind that if we move then we'll live in this house for prob years and it's obv very expensive would you buy a house you don't feel a connection with?

We're considering making an offer on a house which is great in many ways, more interior space (gives us an extra bedroom and a playroom), nice garden (well could be nice with some work but good bones), good ish area. We could afford it (with similar mortgage to what we have now).

BUT it's an 80's brick build and massively dull. Also there are some really horrid features (laughable 80's bathroom, foul carpets) which we couldn't afford to change for a few years.

We can paint out the worst of the exposed brick, orange woodwork, hideous 80's wood pannelling.

I s'pose I'm just not getting the vibe y'know? BUT it is the only house we can afford that would give us some much needed space in this area. It's cheaper than average as it's fugly and the owners need a quick sale.

What do you think? Would you go for it?

CanIHaveAPetGiraffePlease Mon 10-Dec-12 03:13:46

We would but then we know we can't afford a dream house so there has to be compromises. More of a decision based on utility.

In your case the extra space sounds fantastic. If you think long term you can cover the bits you eonv like and its in an area you like it sounds positive?

Are you not sure? What are your other options?

monsterchild Mon 10-Dec-12 03:15:28

I would. Houses are all about living in them. It may turn out just fine. I had a lot of reservations about my first house, but I really have great memories of it.
It needed buckets of work (most of which I didn't get done) and was just plain as plain could be.

But the massive main room and tile floors really were great.

If it has what you need, you can make it a home. Paint is wonderful.

ClaudiaSchiffer Mon 10-Dec-12 03:20:30

We can't afford a dream house either canihaveapetgiraffeplease. I'd need a lottery win round here.

The extra space would be ACE, our kids would get their own bedrooms (which would solve a lot of bedtime shenanagans) dh would get a SHED! I'd have a lovely sitting room to myself. I'd just have to not look at the walls or carpets for a while.

I think what's also putting me off is the fact that the current owners had eye-bleedingly hideous furniture in there, I need to imagine it with my own tatty lovely bits and bobs.

Interesting monsterchild that you still loved your first house even if the work didn't get done.

ClaudiaSchiffer Mon 10-Dec-12 03:21:57

Also it has a veggie garden and some lovely fruit trees. Which excites me. Dullard

Gingerodgers Mon 10-Dec-12 03:50:59

I would go forit. You could make it gorgeous, and its nice to live in a house for a while anyway, before spending money on decoration.

kickassangel Mon 10-Dec-12 03:54:56

It could cost as much as 20 thousand pounds to improve it.
A nicer house in the same area that you then had to extend to get the same amount of space could cost you an extra 100 thousand.

Are you loving it a little more now?

ClaudiaSchiffer Mon 10-Dec-12 04:04:50

oooh Yes Kickass. I am getting excited. I've been looking up the cost of fencing (we have a dog), I'd really like a new kitchen (fat chance), but paint can't be all that much can it?

you're right to think in terms of how much a nicer house would cost. The ones I like the look of are at least $150K + more expensive which is WAYYY out of our price range.

Anyway what's wrong with the 80's anyway, it was a great decade. Apart from hilariously bad bathrooms

kickassangel Mon 10-Dec-12 04:08:46

It's not just the money these things cost but all the interest you pay on it. Think of the fun you could have with the thousands a year you'd spend in interest payments.

CanIHaveAPetGiraffePlease Mon 10-Dec-12 07:34:56

:-) sounds fab!

Mandy21 Mon 10-Dec-12 09:42:14

We did - about 2.5yrs ago. We got the location that we wanted but the house itself needed everything doing to it (old lady had lived here for about 45 yrs). But we have absolutely loved living here (neighbours / neighbourhood / schools, lifestyle etc).

I knew we'd had to live with it for a while - we did change the carpets / flooring (as had a 9mth old baby when we moved in who was starting to crawl) and the worktop in the kitchen (it would beyond cleaning). But we still have the old kitchen (painted the doors), the peach bathroom suite (just hideous) and every wall is covered in wood chip or anaglypta wall paper.

We're doing little things when we have the time & money, and will extend at some point. I'm not proud of my house and feel like I have to make excuses sometimes with friends who have showhome type houses, just have to telll myself it will be my dream home at some point!!

bigbadbarry Mon 10-Dec-12 09:47:24

I think it is a mistake to decorate until you have lived in a house for a bit anyway - you need to live with it and figure it out not just rush round madly and make expensive mistakes. I think it sounds good, the veg garden would do it for me, and how much time do you spend looking at the outside of your house anyway? That said, the first thing I changed in my house (we've been here 18 months) was an appalling 80s bathroom smile

startlife Mon 10-Dec-12 11:09:42

oh, sounds good, the garden, fruit trees and veg patch would do it for me.

The decor can be changed. We moved into a similar house but didn't have the space and that's been the main issue. The decor I can deal with - you can make a difference with paint.

lynniep Mon 10-Dec-12 11:23:22

yes. we did. I still don't 'love' it as a building - but it is my home and I'm happy there - its where we have brought up our children. Its a mid-eighties house. Bland. Nasty nasty ceilings with a fan pattern (which I no longer notice its worth mentioning but I hated with a vengeance when we moved in)

We spent 5k on a new bathroom and 3k on making the garden child friendly - not immediately - bathroom was done 3 years after moving in, garden 5 years.

I magnoliated most of the rooms when we moved in to get rid of most of the hideous paint colours (Finally overhauled our bedroom walls 2 years ago as I didnt get around to those when we moved in)

The area is lovely and we spent to the top of our budget - we needed somewhere that was liveable immediately (I was 6 months pg) and it fitted the bill. DH just wanted a conservatory (which turned out to be unuseable until we had special strips put in the roof to stop the baking in summer)

I have no regrets. I reckon if I'd found a house we'd loved it would have probably been a lot older, with many more hidden 'problems' which we frankly could not be ar*ed with.

StellaNova Mon 10-Dec-12 11:28:26

We did two years ago. It ticked all our boxes - "period property", near the town centre,near good school, all the rooms we wanted, garden right size - but I didn't love it. DH was more for it than I was. I am now growing to love it although I was quite down when we moved in -it was left filthy, it turned out to be freezing, and when they said "within walking distance of school x" they left off "...but not actually in the catchment area" - we did work that out before we bought it though.

I now love it more than DH now we have got our own carpets in some rooms, painted some etc. DH wants to do it up and move in a year!

PPPop Mon 10-Dec-12 11:47:08

I don't think I would, if it was a house in the same area with just a bit more space. I love my house now, ok it's a bit small and we could probably afford somewhere bigger if we stretched ourselves, but I am happy to compromise on that because I love the area, my children love our home, i can be a sahm for a few years in this house, and it costs an enormous amount to buy a new house even slightly bigger in this area. If I was moving to an area I loved I would probably compromise though and settle for a house I didn't love, but could live with, if it ticked a lot of other boxes.

It's hard to say though, I've only owned 2 places and both of them I fell in love with as soon as I walked through the door. Being older now, I do look more at potential in a house rather than instant wow factor. I would be happy to buy a doer upper as long as it had good bones, iyswim.

Flatbread Mon 10-Dec-12 11:59:01

I would be more focused on the views from the windows, the light, the space, the location and bones of the house (e.g., ceiling height)

Everything else you can change, including the facade, to make it nice.

greenfolder Mon 10-Dec-12 12:11:08

we did, had exactly 3 days to find a house.

it smelt of dog, it was 1970s and had had no work done to it since 1980. it was cheap as chips, semi rather than terrace and the owners were keen to sell to people with no chain.

we painted the kitchen units white and took down the wall cupboards and replaced with open shelves.

painted every surface and got a £400 bathroom suite and put it in ourselves.

replaced the carpet in the reception room with cheap shit laminate until we could afford something better. replaced all the other carpets with cheapest carpet (something like £3.99 per square metre).

sold it 5 years later at a profit. isnt there advice to buy the cheapest and worst house in the street? sounds like a sound buy to me!

our current house we have spent money on- but others have said, to buy anything bigger here is another£150k.

Willabywallaby Mon 10-Dec-12 12:12:45

Sorry not read thread, but don't believe you have to love a house to buy it, but then I'm a more head than heart kinda girl.

ISeeThreadPeople Mon 10-Dec-12 12:25:44

We have bog all money and bought with our heads not our hearts. We bought a house that was of a size to accommodate us and within reach financially. They were the only deciding factors. It was Not Nice in many ways. Terrible 1970s through lounge with a monstrous brick fireplace and entertainment unit, hideous cheap, orange kitchen and a grimy, ancient bathroom with no pressure, no shower, a cracked bath and nasty, nasty, horrid carpets. Garden you couldn't even access as they'd boarded it up and let it grow to head height with thistles, brambles and A LOT of dog poo.

Been here two years now and we are doing things slowly. We took out the archway to turn the through lounge into a big, open plan downstairs space, took out the brick entertainment unit and installed a log burner, ripped up all carpets and replaced with new basic carpets and/or wood flooring. Spread the cost of the bathroom by buying a bath one month, a toilet the next etc, tiles in a sale and so on until we'd fitted a brand new bathroom (including replacing the ceiling, all plumbing and rebuilding a wall) for less than £400. We've bought a second hand kitchen on ebay and pick it up in a couple of weeks. It's beautiful and includes dishwasher, sink, oven, extractor etc and cost us £100 all in. We'll do all the work ourselves. We've also cleared the garden and made it really quite lovely. I did this myself while pregnant and am very, very proud of the months of work I put into it.

I think if the bones are good then actually it's a good reason to buy. Because it will look SO much better if it needs a complete overhaul than if it's mostly done. Our tiny little mid terrace cottage has slowly emerged from its hideous shell into a nice, family home which suits us and hopefully we can sell now our family is bigger and we've outgrown it.

noddyholder Mon 10-Dec-12 12:28:00

I have been looking for a house like hat and can't find one in my location so I say yes they are going to be hugely desirable in 5+years.

notcitrus Mon 10-Dec-12 13:04:58

Sounds like it would provide a sizeable part of a life you'll love, even if it isn't hugely loveable itself.

confusedperson Mon 10-Dec-12 13:29:04

I would not. I actually bought a lovely period house 3 years ago. It ticks all the boxes, but I was never in love with it. I have been in Rightmove since the day we moved in, and finallt decided to bite the bullet and move. It's a costly mistake, it will be about 15-20k to count buying costs, investment and relocation costs, but I can bear the misery no more.

ClaudiaSchiffer Mon 10-Dec-12 21:56:44

Thank you everyone, it's really helpful to hear other perspectives. Well done those of you who have bought shitholes "projects" and worked hard to do them up - particularly ISeeThreadPeople, I nearly vomited at the talk of all the dog shit in the garden.

I think what's my issue is that what I really want <spoilt brat emoticon> is a more rural place preferably old with character that we can do up. But GOOD POINT those of you who mentioned that character + age = expense. I'm not really thinking of that.

Confusedperson why did you hate your place so much?

Greenfolder good point again about getting the worst house in best stree.

PPop - more good points about being able to be a sahm. I'm working part time but would have to increase my hours in order for us to afford to move. Gahhhhhh, so much to think about.

I'm gonna talk to the estate agent today and get her to come and look at ours. Make sure I'm not dreaming about our chances of flogging this house. . . . Anyone wanna buy a nice house, 3 beds, good area, big garden??? grin

Devora Mon 10-Dec-12 23:30:55

Of course - I live in London; there's no question of being able to afford a dream house smile.

I prioritised space and schools, which meant settling for an ugly 30s semi with every original feature ripped out. It wasn't all bad - nice area, light and sunny, big garden. But there were lots of drawbacks: some we could do something about (like orange, red, yellow and purple paintwork), others we will have to live with (like low ceilings, front door directly into living room).

But I have grown very fond of my plain Jane house. It will never be beautiful. But I have derived great satisfaction from gradually improving it (on a teeny tiny budget). I can't afford a new kitchen or a new bathroom but I have painted units, painted tiles, painted bath panels. I have sanded and varnished wooden floors, replaced door handles, even a new lightpull makes me feel happy whenever I look at it. Nearly everything in my house is from IKEA, ebay or car boot sales, but I have tried to keep to the 'useful or beautiful, preferably both' rule. The only things I have spent real money on (and probably not by many people's standards) are some beautiful statement lights for the living room, the first thing you see as you walk in.

Nearly three years in, and I've still got a really long way to go. But I can't tell you what immense satisfaction it has given me to see the transformation. Buying a place that already looked good would have meant the only way was down smile

echt Tue 11-Dec-12 05:22:44

OP do you live in my house? Hang on, you live in Australia, don't you?

We bought such a house 18 months ago in Melbourne, caught between end of rental contract and dodgy market. I liked it, but was gagging to paint over the wood and brick. Shit carpets. The garden was good, and as you say, had bones; more modern stuff is built over the entire block


A year later, and its 80s vibe is not at all bad. ( a work colleague says the 80s house will be the new Federation classicgrin) Kitchen and bathroom will be renovated, but in keeping with the original. We are painstakingly stripping back the few square metres we painted over to see what whitewash would look like. Carpet still shit, but not to be renewed until the renovations are done. Let the wood breathe.

The garden is fantastic - it's where all our energy has gone.

Go for it.

echt Tue 11-Dec-12 05:24:44

Didn't see the veggie gardens.

Buy, buy, buy.

confusedperson Tue 11-Dec-12 11:57:47

ClaudiaSchiffer, I do not have explanation why do I hate my house so much. Well.. I do not hate anymore.. but I feel no connection with it. Perhaps because it a period property, and I never liked "old", but thought people normally like it so it is a smart choice. Location could be better, but it suited us at the time and was affordable, so cannot blame myself for that. However, what I want is new(ish), neat, tidy and a blank canvass. That is just me, I guess.
It was very difficult to decide to sell up and move when I do not have any practical cons, but since I have decided I cannot wait to put my house on the market (after Christmas) and became so much happier.
So, I’d say, listen to your gut as well. Think where you can compromise, but do not forget your gut feeling.

crazyhead Tue 11-Dec-12 15:00:57

I think it depends if you don't love the house from a sort of gut instinct (bad) or if you are just dealing with the fact that you don't have the cash to buy the charming period house you sort of imagined, but actually this place could scrub up and be nice.

I dunno how old you are, but so many of us even vaguely 'young' are not going to be able to get the sort of houses our parents had any time soon due to insance prices and I think that you do sort of have to get over that.

I am in the latter category btw - we just bought a full on doer upper in a nice bit of London. I regularly curse the place and its shonky, dirty previous owners (less than ideal with a baby) but I am already warming to it as we slowly do it up, and there's no doubt that it is true that the one thing you can't change is the area - ours is lovely.

ClaudiaSchiffer Wed 12-Dec-12 04:21:18

OhmygodOhmygodOhmygod WE'VE PUT AN OFFER IN!

We have only seen it once for about 10 mins. I am near hysteria with nerves + excitement.

I blame you girls. grin

Yes Echt we're in Oz too, so have made an offer with a 4 month settlement date in order to sell our house before being bankrupted

echt Wed 12-Dec-12 05:55:35

I feel for you, Claudia. Our house was vacant, so we saw it 3 times, but still went from notice to quit at the rental to house bought in a week. Settlement was 30 days. Talk about adrenalin!

DH was a bit meh for some time, but we love it now. Space. Garden. The shite carpets can wait.

Should you feel like it, do post some pics, and I'll see if I can unearth the pics of ours to compare 80s-ness.

ClaudiaSchiffer Thu 13-Dec-12 02:05:27

Thanks Echt. Will see if I can upload the bathroom pic it is AWESOME.

Well, todays news is that they have accepted our offer. The house is ours!

Still only seen it once, I am in shock and feel chronically hysterical about the whole thing as have to clear, make beautiful and (crucially) SELL our house in 120 days.

Anyone in the market for a lovely home in Australia? To tempt you I'll let you know it's 35 degrees here today. grin

echt Thu 13-Dec-12 06:20:17

Goody.smile I'm trying to imagine the clash between moving out of one house, while staging the first one for sale. The de-cluttering aspect will probably work in your favour though. Sorry, that made it sound as if you have an op-shop type home of rich clutter.

I do, so I know of that which I speak.grin

Also the 35 degrees, the rain has kicked in, but now it's hot and moist as opposed to hot and dry. Meh.

yummymumtobe Thu 13-Dec-12 09:41:20

Yes, I would. I think that area is really important, more than how pretty the house is. You can change a house but not the location! I personally found it hard to 'love' houses after months looking at so many. You become a bit jaded! Ones I did love tended to be for the decor and homeliness rather than for the house itself. It's easy to fall in love with a lifestyle, eg if we lived here we'd be tidy, shop at waitrose, have all cath kidston stuff etc! You make a house your own, especially with kids.

ReallyTired Thu 13-Dec-12 09:45:56

Life is a set of compromises. My first house was not my ideal house, but it was a stepping stone to my ideal house. You can improve the 80s bathroom/ foul carpets over a period of years.

I believe that in five to ten years time house prices will increase massively. Its a good time to buy if you can get a reasonable mortgage.

jammybean Thu 13-Dec-12 10:03:46

Lurking not much to add just....

35 degrees! envy envy envy envy envy envy

Baubleswithdiamonds Thu 13-Dec-12 10:48:44

Intersting really - why do you think that about house prices?

In London, we live in a fairly ugly 1920s ex-council house as that's all we could afford but I do love it because it was the first house we bought together and it's where we had two of the DCs and have been really happy here.

We're in the process of moving out - given that we love it here, I'm afraid we did insist on finding a house that we love as nothing else could really induce me to leave. There was so little on the market that I thought we were going to have to compromise on eg, the age of the property (I really wanted a period house) but thankfully we foudn the 'dream' Georgian detached house I'd been hoping for. TBH, I'm preparing myself to be disappointed when we actually move in - I've wanted it for so long, I'm sure the reality is going to be nothing like the Jane Austen heroine lifestyle I have in my head!

ReallyTired Thu 13-Dec-12 11:11:41

"Intersting really - why do you think that about house prices? "

For the past century at least there has been a cycle of boom and bust. When we have the good times we stupidly believe they will last forever. Similarly many people are so pessimistic that they believe the recession that we are in will last forever.

I believe the pressure of immigration will push up house prices.

WhataSook Thu 13-Dec-12 11:25:14

Me me me Claudia I would love to buy your house (but only if it's in Melbs!) Unfortunately I am in London so think by the time I got to sell mine and move home it would be too late for you smile [desperately homesick emoticon]

My feelings towards my home have been a bit different to everyone's. I was 8 months pregnant when we bought it, moved from a tiny 1.5 bed flat so loved the house and space (only a two bedder house but a little bit of a garden!) then hated it as it made me feel trapped in the UK then 2 years on I really love it and think it's just perfect for us. We didn't over extend ourselves mortgage wise so I think that has helped me love my house, I have friends who are struggling month to month and I think that would make me feel resentful.

I agree with Really also, that house prices will go up (don't know about massively) but definitely in London. But I suspect it will be more Landlords pushing prices up as they all try to invest.

LoganMummy Thu 13-Dec-12 11:29:54

We had this dilemma last year and we bought the house simply because it's got good catchment schools, gives us extra room and in time will be lovely.
The area is ok and the outside is really ugly but we knew on balance it was the best option.
Good luck with your decision!

Baubleswithdiamonds Thu 13-Dec-12 11:42:31

I'm not doubting you at all really, it's not something I know a lot about. We've really stretched ourselves to move without selling our London house (remortgaging instead) and it would really help if house prices did continue to rise...

Our little house has increased in value by 60% in 6 years - it just seems incredible that people can afford this, given that salaries are not increasing likewise (we couldn't afford our house now, if we were moving into the area again at that stage in our lives ie, FTB with a young family).

ReallyTired Thu 13-Dec-12 13:01:11


I don't have a crystal ball. Ofcourse I might be wrong

We won't have any increase in house prices until we have an increase in inflation. Often there is a period of rapid inflation after a recession. There will be a tough period though when interest rates adjust to sensible levels. Having 0.5% interest rates is not substainable long term.

I think that anyone with a mortgage would be advised to have a small emergency fund to protect against redunancy or lunatic interest rates. (ie. the days when interest rates got to 15% under thatcher.)

Its a challenging balance between taking advantage of the markets and not over stretching yourself. Its worth looking at different mortgage products to see what deals are available. Being able to pay interest only when interest rates do go silly could be a relief. When interest rates are low its good to over pay so that when interest rates rise its not such a culture shock.

noddyholder Thu 13-Dec-12 15:34:33

Prices can't continue to rise looking at the economy overall. The mulitples required to buy are virtually impossible to reach even with a quite decent salary and banks are tightening lending criteria already even though it doesnt really kick in until next year.

mulranno Thu 13-Dec-12 19:58:34

I only "love" a house if I can make it a money spinner at the same time....I always go for a project with development potential. I need to get my creative kicks by redesigning. Thats what give mes a thrill as well as seening that my vision turn into £££s. Its always a home as well though....

WhataSook Thu 13-Dec-12 20:08:40

Not in the short term Noddy but we were discussing 5+ years (well I was any way!). Prices will rise, that's the way it has to be.

The mulitples to buy are not virtually impossible if you are realistic. If you want your first home to be your "forever" home (i.e. 3+ bed, off road parking, nice area with good catchment, happening high street rah rah rah) then yes, it will seem impossible. But if you climb the ladder,then no, it's not impossible.

Obviously the climate is pretty shit at the moment, with people loosing their jobs and salaries being cut or not increased. But even in the good times, people had no savings and took out 100% loans. That is what needs to change, the way people think about money.

ReallyTired Thu 13-Dec-12 20:09:23

I agree with you. However ten years time I believe that house prices will be different.

Rudolphstolemycarrots Thu 13-Dec-12 20:12:18

I would go for it as I know I could make it look amazing within 4 - 7 years.

Rudolphstolemycarrots Thu 13-Dec-12 20:15:12

The thing about an 80's house is that you can knock it around completely/open it up/get big sliding doors into the garden

WhataSook Thu 13-Dec-12 20:42:41

Claudia (back to your thread!) 80's Australian houses aren't that bad either. My dad built ours in the 80's and he just freshened it up by painting the window frames and using the latest colours inside (he is a builder so every couple of years he'd update with whatever was 'on-trend' regardless if my mum wanted it or not!)

...oh unless of course it's the horrible 80's brick colour...kidding grin

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