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AIBU to have fallen in love with a crap old house?

(49 Posts)
Royalsighness Wed 07-Jan-15 20:46:53

has anyone ever had a go at doing up a house in serious need of renovation with a toddler? or whilst pregnant? me and DH have seen a house at a really good price and we need the space with another baby on the way but how stressful is it? The house isnt special to look at but i have fallen for it and can see us being happy there, is that enough to make an otherwise quite risky decision?

BallsforEarrings Wed 07-Jan-15 20:53:31

I know people who have done that but no idea how!

We completely renovated out current home and lived for weeks with no washing facilities, just a toilet and sink, we bathed at the gym - could not possibly have done it pregnant or with a child! It near killed me as it was!

It may be better if you can keep a bathroom on the go at all times but i'm not sure!

wobblyweebles Wed 07-Jan-15 21:51:52

We put in a new bathroom while we had two small children. It was a nightmare. Never again.

esiotrot2015 Wed 07-Jan-15 21:53:40

Depends what you can live with

I can live with a grotty bathroom for example but it took us a month to get a new kitchen & wasn't great with a 1 year old & 4 yr old but we survived

esiotrot2015 Wed 07-Jan-15 21:54:17

But we had power in our porch for a microwave & fridge

MoreBeta Wed 07-Jan-15 21:55:20

Don't do it. The stress will be immense and you will be living in a mess for ages. Two years and counting in our case. Not good for a toddler.

Builders and their subcontractors will let you down on timing and it will cost a great deal more than you think it will.

Hassled Wed 07-Jan-15 22:03:15

We did it with 2 stroppy teenagers, a toddler and me pregnant and working FT. It was hell. One of the highlights was the plumber removing the old shower unit, discovering a wasp nest beneath it and basically running away because he had a wasp phobia.

Anyway - we're still here years later, the memories fade and it's been a wonderful family home. If you fall in love with a place it's hard to ignore that.

RaisingMen Wed 07-Jan-15 22:07:35

We did it when I was 34 weeks pregnant, the house was finished by relatives snd friends while I was in labour. Stressful, but so worth it.

emeline Wed 07-Jan-15 22:08:59

Have you got a photo to share, OP?

FrancesNiadova Wed 07-Jan-15 22:21:58

11 years ago we moved into a derelict stone farmhouse, built C1750. My youngest was 15 months old at the time confused
I don't think that I'd have the energy now, but we will have a lovely home that we couldn't afford to buy now.
Good Luck! wine

Calloh Wed 07-Jan-15 22:46:41

We moved into our dilapidated cottage when DC1 was 18 months and DC2 3 weeks. I remember bursting into tears when the full reality of what we'd done and a breast abscess hit me.

5 years and another DC later the house is still in a fairly crap state in some rooms but we love it, we can afford it - we wouldn't be able to at all if we hadn't bought in this state. We did the kitchen one summer, bathroom the next (whilst I was pregnant, which was a bit tough), we did some bits and bobs ourselves but we are mega crap at DIY. In the summer we could go away, camp, hang out at the leisure centre, I found that easier.

We did the last lot during term-time, I thought it would be better with two of the children being at school during the day but actually it was more pressured.

I think it's a great thing to do if you can cope with the irritation of it. If you are going to do it maybe it is even less upheaval when you have small children and life is pretty topsy-turvy anyway.

samithesausage Wed 07-Jan-15 22:48:55

My aunt and uncle fell in love with a ruined farm house which didn't have a roof. They had a two year old at the time. They lived in a static caravan for 6 months, did a lot of the work themselves, had grants and did trades with local people for odds and sods around the house. This was in the 70s. They did it, but it was hard work. Their parents cryed when they saw this house, no roof, mud floor etc. It came up very well though. They said they wouldn't do it again. grin

Tallalime Wed 07-Jan-15 22:53:04

We are currently living in a renovation project. We did get a bathroom in before we moved in though it has no door just a shower curtain DD is 7. We're doing it a floor at a time.

TBH I wouldn't be doing it with a toddler/tiny baby. It's too dangerous. Ours is a proper floors up, walls down, reconfigure the whole inside job though.

We put an entire new kitchen in our old house when DD was 3 with no bother at all. Just made sure we had a proper microwave/oven so we could continue to cook actual food.

Inbl00m Wed 07-Jan-15 22:57:17

We've been doing ours up for 2 years as we've been doing as much as we can ourselves and although the house is lovely now, I'd never do it again! Living without a kitchen for 5 months nearly pushed me over the edge! Have a baby to try and care for in a building site is stressful indeed! The thing with old houses is there are always unpleasent unexpected surprises along the way too...

Good luck whatever you decide to do smile

Pancakeflipper Wed 07-Jan-15 22:57:27

We had 6 months living with builders. DS1 was 5 and DS2 was 2. We survived but only cos the builders were brill and put me a washing machine in a bathroom and created me a kitchen ( fridge,microwave, 2 ring electrical hob and lots of crates in the hallway.

It was not a safe environment really for our 2 yr old and he was pretty much contained in the lounge for the 6 months.

Although it wasn't half as bad as I thought it would be - I do now look at newer ready to move into type houses with longing..

And it always costs more than you ever think.

Wh0dathunkit Wed 07-Jan-15 23:00:46

My parents had an extension done when my DB was a toddler. DM still shudders at how far he got up a ladder before anyone noticed.

I have been present when work has been done in houses I have lived in, and it was ok, as I wasn't doing it myself, but it would have been better if I'd not been trying to WFH at the same time. I've also tried to do major projects myself around the day job. If I'd had an ounce of DIY know how, it might have worked, but certainly not if I'd had children running around as well. That having been said, if I'd been able to make sure said nonexistant children were safe & secure in another part of the house (perhaps with a minder / babysitter?), and I'd actually had a DIY-capable bone in my body, it might have been practical / have not cost me a flippin fortune to put right blush

StrattersThePreciousSnowflake Wed 07-Jan-15 23:06:51

I've done it, have renovated four houses whilst the DDs were small - DD1 was 3yo when we bought the first one, I had DD2 whilst we were halfway through - think living upstairs because only the kitchen and bathroom were finished. Bought the next house when DD1 was 6, and DD2 was just coming up to 2yo.

Was it difficult? Incredibly. Was it worth it? Absolutely. It's how XH and I made what money we have.

wobblyweebles Thu 08-Jan-15 02:29:10

Thinking about it, my friends renovated a barn, and during the 2 year process they lived in a caravan on site during which time they had a toddler and a new baby...

AmantesSuntAmentes Thu 08-Jan-15 02:42:13

I renovated a dilapidated house when heavily pregnant and with a 2 year old. I laid the last piece of flooring and moved in, the day of my edd! It was fantastic, I loved it then after a year sold it for twice its cost to me!

Plarail123 Thu 08-Jan-15 08:13:54

I did it, lived in two rooms with a bathroom and no kitchen for 6 months, I would NEVER do it again. The dust was very severe and started to give my 2 year old asthma symptoms. I'd say buy it and rent somewhere else while you renovate. Wish we'd done that.

londonrach Thu 08-Jan-15 08:26:03

Parents in law did it. Almost broke them as the stress was awful. There are alot of cowboy builders out there. On top of that i cost double what it should due to hidden problems. Five years later that stress is still taking its toll on their health. They do have a stunning house now though. Wouldnt look at out place in all those property porn magazines with its soak staircase and huge rooms. They say it wasnt worth it. They had a 1960s bungalow which ended up with just one wall going through to the new house as the other walls fell down luckily while the planning officer was there on site. My advice choose a good builder!!!!! On a separate note dh and i will never do it having seen what they went through. Kevin in grand designs mades it look so easy but in a cold night when you have no heating, kitchen etc and you are chilled to the bone.... Whatever you decide good luck. X

missymayhemsmum Thu 08-Jan-15 08:41:51

Depends how much renovation is involved, and how much you would plan to do yourselves. If it's mostly horrid decor but liveable, and you can do a room, recover for a few months, do another one etc then why not. Or if you can get the major work done (eg rewire, re-roof, heating, knocking any walls down) while you live elsewhere, or if you are very laid back and resilient. Will having this shared project strengthen your relationship or could it break you?
Oh, by the way, don't get plumbers in to move the only toilet while you are late on in pregnancy, like I did.

BallsforEarrings Thu 08-Jan-15 09:08:39

Oh yes get a builder recommended via word of mouth and try to get to see their work elsewhere.

As londonrach says - there are cowboy builders out there for sure! I know an elderly couple who have done a fair few renovations in their lives in various areas of the country, however the last one, which was huge btw, was a really bad experience due to the builders they used.

Idontseeanysontarans Thu 08-Jan-15 09:11:06

Did 2 houses up while pregnant. The houses were both exactly what we wanted at a decent price so we took the plunge. It's hard work and occasionally thankless (and you'll reach a point where you can never see yourself actually getting finished) but the end results were really worth it for us.

Idontseeanysontarans Thu 08-Jan-15 09:12:13

Forgot to add:
The first house was while I was expecting our eldest, the second was when we needed a bigger place to fit our third. DC2 was 4 at the time.

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