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AIBU to think there's nothing wrong with buying part of an old country house?

(73 Posts)
notborntothemanor Fri 21-Apr-17 04:08:37

DH and I are moving (within Yorks). We've been house hunting for a while like 3 years so no hurry then. Three DCs. Finally found a place I really like. Old Victorian house divided into three, each with 4+ bedrooms a third of the garden etc. I'd say manor house but not really that grand or big more like big old country house for some rich old Victorian bloke. Mostly done up. I love it. High ceilings, big windows, details, wood floors and so on. DH is worried about offering on it for the following reasons: (1) There are several like this around the areas we are looking and they all take ages to sell and price drop a lot or go off the market (we've been looking at three of them for years and none sold, one in this same house). Maybe the prices will go lower, he says, and more importantly (2) why aren't people buying them? Is it because (3) homebuyers reports often show roof and windows problems, spot of mould etc, or (4) septic tanks and shared driveway responsibilities? But this place is literally twice the size of something newer, and it's grand-shabby outside (I quite like that). Am I missing something? AIBU? If you wouldn't buy a place like this, why not? I could post in property, but I'm more interested in what the people not in one of those stress chain situations would say, I think....

MrsTerryPratchett Fri 21-Apr-17 04:16:27

Septic tank? Hell no.

It really is like buying antiques. You don't buy for the resale, you buy because it suits you, you love it and it's a keeper. If you live there forever and you're happy, that's great.

I lived in a flat in a massive, grand house in Liverpool and I loved the fabulous shabby grandeur of it all. Not sure I would have bought it...

nogrip Fri 21-Apr-17 04:31:57

It sounds amazing. The only concern I would have would be what the other 2 sets of owners were like. You would be living in close proximity and have to make joint decisions about things like repairs to the drive etc it's a leap of faith that they were nice.
It's late, i cant get my words out properly. But hopefully you get my drift

Code42 Fri 21-Apr-17 04:37:04

I think they're unpopular because it's basically being in a terrace but at detached prices. But if you're not planning to move again, it doesn't matter if it takes a while to sell on.

Mummyoflittledragon Fri 21-Apr-17 05:26:50

I am selling a detached farm house at what could be said to be a ridiculously low price when you compare it to the new builds just down the road or the houses in older estates. It has a good chunk of land and is a mile and a half from a town centre. So not remote but in a pretty lane with houses dotted along and farm land around. It is in the south east and has had a fair number of viewings for the type of property and sales in the region are bouyant. It has a full asking offer on the table but the prospective buyers are not yet stc. So my house is attractive whereas yours appears not so much so. Mine is also on mains drains and gas, which makes a big difference. Just be aware you will never make a big profit on this house as it isn't attractive to that many people. Moreover, if you need to resell, a property will sell if the price is low enough but it may end up having to go to auction if you need a quick sale. So I'd be very wary of buying if you may need to sell and move for work in future. It will also require a ton of money to maintain and heat even if you insulate it in every way possibly. Hand on heart, could this be your forever home?

HopelesslydevotedtoGu Fri 21-Apr-17 05:56:55

I've seen some of these lovely conversions in Yorkshire, they look like fabulous places to live.

I imagine some people are put off by the communal nature, repair costs, energy costs. I lived in a similar set up as a renter and I loved living there, but there were quite a few niggles and I was glad I wasn't responsible for repairs and maintenance.

It depends how likely it is that you'd want to sell, and whether you'd want to wait 3+ years to move! Could your family need to move for work? If so I'd either rent or choose something that will resell more quickly.

Etymology23 Fri 21-Apr-17 06:42:27

Septic tanks are not a major problem at all - cess pits on the other hand are a no go. I also wouldn't be prepared to share a septic tank unless there was some agreement in place: they're easy to use properly but some people don't.

Bluntness100 Fri 21-Apr-17 06:51:09

I have a shared septic tank there is absolutely no issues there. I'm not sure what people's concerns are? It's on an auto empty with a local company who come out, empty it,check it and bill us and I ask my neighbours for a percentage and they transfer the money, I've only lived here three years and I've never had a problem.

As for the house, it sounds lovely. If it's not selling it's the price. You do not have to pay what they ask. Put in a lower offer. And if you love it you will love living there.

As for making a profit, of course you will, if you maintain the property it will increase in value like any other home. As said if it's not selling it's the price. No offers doesn't mean it's an unattractive home, it means it's not priced right.

Maybe post a link?

Ifailed Fri 21-Apr-17 07:00:32

is it leasehold or shared freehold?

helpmesusan Fri 21-Apr-17 07:18:22

most houses where we are have septic tanks. I wouldn't think twice about that. Shared driveway I would be less excited about, but happens all the time without incident.

Just make sure your solicitor gives you chapter and verse on the rights and obligations of those and the other arrangements - before you are committed contractually.

helpmesusan Fri 21-Apr-17 07:18:47

Ps sounds lovely!

eurochick Fri 21-Apr-17 07:22:10

There are a few like that round here (Surrey). We wouldn't consider them because having been detached we would never go back to being joined to neighbours. And they are the same price as similar sized detached houses.

nicemarmot Fri 21-Apr-17 07:25:23

I live in a similar set up; large house divided into 3 plus another house in grounds. My dad who's a retired solicitor was very pessimistic about it- flying freehold over part of it and garden is across the driveway. A detached house of the same size and land would have cost at least £200,000 more though which there is no way we could afford so we were happy to put up with these shortcomings. We moved in 7 years ago and on the whole we've been happy with our choice. Upkeep is expensive and costs can be depressing- we've redone our portion of the roof and there's always a rotten sash window to fix rather than being able to do the nice things like redecorate (but this would be the same in any old house). Our neighbours have all been here for 30 plus years so we're still the newbies. We'll probably be getting new neighbours over the next few years which could have a big impact. Do you have any knowledge about the neighbours at the place you like? As the newbies we've had to fit into everyone else's way of doing things. Septic tank, driveway costs etc are paid for as and when they occur- ideally I'd like a common fund that everyone pays into (one neighbour is rather tight and complains about costs). Do you know if there's a fund everyone pays into?

LettuceMash Fri 21-Apr-17 07:26:52

I wouldn't want to be that wrapped up with others when things Luke the roof need repairing, costs a fortune and everyone has a different POV on how much they want to pay etc.

Resale would bother me too, and shared driveway and garden etc.

fiorentina Fri 21-Apr-17 07:27:32

It sounds nice but if I was going to buy a house in a more remote country location, I would want to be on our own, away from neighbour issues. However there will always be people who will buy it eventually. Is your local housing market buoyant generally?

notborntothemanor Fri 21-Apr-17 07:33:01

OMG mumsnetters you are brilliant, thanks so much for these really helpful responses. I think I get too much in my own head and can't see the wood for the trees.

To answer questions, yes, It would be a forever home, v. v. little chance of us having to move due to jobs etc. Also it is shared freehold. I really feel as if I better understand what's going on now. It makes perfect sense, yes, people would rather live in a detached if they have detached money, and yes, it looks like heating and repair/maintenance would scare people off (including DH), as well as not being on mains heating (hadn't even thought of that!) or septic. It is on mains water thank goodness.

As for the other owners, fingers bloody crossed! One's rented out (after not selling). I would love to put a link and see what you all think, but I am afraid of outing myself. Yorkshire villages have mumsnetters!

THANKS. If anyone can think of any other reasons other than price (the biggie) and what's been said already as reasons people (and DH) are nervous about buying this sort of place, please tell me. Otherwise, I think we'll start crunching numbers. I wear the pants with houses and DH just likes to think of all the negatives before coming round.

Happy Almost Weekend everyone! And thanks again.

Batteriesallgone Fri 21-Apr-17 07:33:15

Properties like this are cheap because of the hassle of shared maintenance.

There's always one who is too tight to pay for essential repairs, damaging everyone's asset, or alternatively one who wants to do the full bees knees and had never heard the word budget.

They can work a dream if everyone is sensible and nice but you've heard the expression 'hell is other people' ? This is one of the situations where that holds true.

Plus once you've fallen out with neighbours it's very hard to be truely happy in your home.

Ifailed Fri 21-Apr-17 07:35:46

As it's shared freehold, is there a management company set up to look after it? If so, ask to see recent meeting minutes and evidence of work done and costs. If not, still ask for evidence of work done, but also a detailed explanation of how maintenance is arranged? Are there any upcoming works due?

shellhider Fri 21-Apr-17 07:41:53

I wouldn't want a communal garden, I'd run a mile from a house with mould and the septic tank doesn't endear me to the house either; there was one under the back garden in the first house I bought and it the garden collapsed one day. It was not a pretty sight or smell - never again!

beargrass Fri 21-Apr-17 07:41:59

Shared freehold? I would seek good advice about this. It's usually better to be leasehold than to share a freehold. Agree with PP about always having one person too tight to pay for repairs. Is there a sinking fund? That would be a positive indication if yes.

Ifailed Fri 21-Apr-17 07:46:17

I would also want to take a good walk round the gardens - how big are they? Are there any out buildings, perimeter walls, fences or hedges - what state are they in? Are there any covenants on the property, and public rights of way?

SailAwaySailAwaySailAway Fri 21-Apr-17 07:47:24

We looked at one of these but the house was much older. We didn't buy it because of the reasons Batteries listed. Also we were worried about the impact of one of the sections being empty for years. People life in flats with shared maintenance issues and terraces with joining neighbours. People have shared driveways or septic tanks and lots of old houses cost a lot to maintain but your house seems to have all the negatives and few positives.
I'd sit and make a list of all the positives and negatives. Really work through the negatives and come up with solutions. That way you'll get a clearer picture.

Instasista Fri 21-Apr-17 07:56:39

For me it would be the share of the freehold and the cost of service charges (landscaping, driveways, window cleaning 🙈) and major works. A friend of a friend lived in one and had to spend £17k for his share of the stairway refurbishment. If done residents don't have that, it won't get done

Instasista Fri 21-Apr-17 07:57:39

There won't be enough in the sinking fund to pay for things, they're designed to be paid into from day 1, not when the property is already hundreds of years old

notborntothemanor Fri 21-Apr-17 08:01:19

Oh thanks again. No management company, no meetings, no shared fund people pay into, seems instead to be do what you need to do when something goes wrong (although I will check into this) as one of the posters above said. Also uncertain with one set of neighbors because renting. Mmm, hell IS other people, you're all right.

Ok, the pros to balance the cons. It's in an excellent location for both our commutes. It has to-die-for views. This flat only owns a small chunk of garden relative to the others (fine by me, enough for DCs). The internal set up would work really well for us (bedrooms, floors etc). We have a septic in our current place (no problems but also not shared), it's only the sharing that concerns me (and the age of everything). I was thinking that old houses have thick walls and so the neighbors might not be too "in our faces" but I'll look into this more carefully.

Again, million thanks! Moves from checking bank accounts to cyber-stalking the neighbors to see if I can find out more.

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