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Can we live in this place while we renovate?

(16 Posts)
mrsbabookaloo Wed 20-Jul-11 12:37:53

I know nothing about renovating or DIY. We have found a place in our area that we like and which has enough space and a lot of potential. It's on for 224,000, but the agent has hinted that anyhting over 200,000 might be accepted. It's a probate sale and ovbiously needs completely redecorating and new floors and new kitchen and bathroom, which i realised before we viewed.

When we viewed, we found out that it had no central heating, so we would have to have that put in. It's an excouncil block (a nice, low rise one) and I'm sure other flats have central heating and that there's a gas supply.

I'm trying to imagine us living there while all this work is done. I can live with th kitchen and bathroom for now, but couldn't spend even one night there with the carpets still down....there was a distinct smell of pee. And I imagine having the central heating put in would be hugely messy and disruptive. I don't mind "camping" for a short while, and there's no way we could afford to rent elsewhere while we did it up.

Any experiences to share? I really have a good feeling about this place - despite pee smell - and can picture us living there, but don't know if the work will just be too much.


AMumInScotland Wed 20-Jul-11 13:12:58

If you're fairly flexible about things, I don't see why you can't live there while the work is done - the builders will go home every night after all! You don't mention kids though - small children and building work can be a dangerous combination - they may leave floorboards up overnight, or stuff like that, which is very difficult to manage with children in the house.

Builders will be used to replacing the only bathroom in a house, so they should be able to eg swap the loo for a new one within the day - assuming you are keeping the same layout, so you wouldn't be totally without facilities. If you're ok to wash in the kitchen sink while they do the bathroom, and do the dishes in the bath while they do the kitchen (and live on pot-noodles and takeaways) then you should be fine.

If any of that sounds hideous, you may want to reconsider!

narmada Wed 20-Jul-11 21:55:35

It might also need rewiring, in fact it probably will do, so budget/ plan for that if you can. I understand it's fairly disruptive and sometimes bits of plaster/ ceiling have to be removed so you might want to be out of the way for that.

mrsbabookaloo Wed 20-Jul-11 22:01:40

Thanks for these tips - hadn't thought about re-wiring! It's actually not that old....will find out.

Bathroom can wait actually; seems to have been done more recently than the rest of the house - it doesn't have a bath, I think they had it replaced with a shower because they were elderly, which I feel a bit tragic about, but we can manage without for a while.

We DO have small children; they are 2 and 5, so that is a consideration.

Any more things to consider?

narmada Thu 21-Jul-11 10:18:00

If you need a mortgage, check with your lender that they will lend on an ex-council property. You do say it's low-rise, which is great, but some are funny about lending if fewer than a certain percentage of the flats in the block are in private ownership etc. Some won't lend on flats in ex-council towers, but it doesn't sound like yours is one of those.

It's probably also worth asking about the maintanence arrangements for the communal areas if it's now all privately owned. Is there a decent sinking fund? Are any major works upcoming that you'll be part responsible for?

mrsbabookaloo Thu 21-Jul-11 13:12:38

Thanks narmada - we're actually moving from another ex-council I'm aware of some of those pitfalls at least! The one we live in now is really nice and very well maintained; we pay an eye watering amount in service charges and are partly moving to get out from under some scary upcoming works!

LemonDifficult Thu 21-Jul-11 13:22:59

Builders will tell you that you can't but that's cos they like to be left alone. You can live there and turn water on and off at the mains and so on. The electrics is more tricky. Get an architect to look at it or a services engineer if you're lucky enough to have one as a friend.

If you have a tightly organised renovation project with Programme of Works established beforehand then it is amazing how fast things can get done and it might be worth you paying to rent somewhere. Get professional advice for all of this, no doing it on the fly if you've not done it before and time is critical.

mrsbabookaloo Thu 21-Jul-11 20:31:47

Thanks LemonDifficult, altho your words are rather scary. Perhaps I've overstated things - it's not a complete renovation: there's nothing structural to change, it's just heating, kitchen and later bathroom, and complete redecoration.....eek!

Kveta Thu 21-Jul-11 21:04:36

we're doing just this at the moment smile it's knackering, but ok. we got the bathroom in first, and getting the kitchen done now (no kitchen for 3 weeks is a nightmare though!) we have a nearly 2-year old, and he's loving the builders grin

mrsbabookaloo Thu 21-Jul-11 21:43:46

Thanks Kveta, good to hear from someone who's actually doing it. Kids do love workmen don't they? Mine always go into a frenzy of excitement about anyone who comes round to fix or install's a novel sight as they never see me with a mop or an iron in my hand, never mind a paintbrush or a screwdriver!

sixtiesqueen Fri 22-Jul-11 13:05:18

We bought a probate property similar to the one you describe, though it has central heating which needs to be replaced.

We moved in in January - we've done a few bits but our main work begins on August 8th. I have a blog at which might be helpful in looking at the issues that have faced us thus far - not least a massive planning battle (which we won). The main thing I'd sy is that everything is more expensive that you think and that if you can move out for part of the renovation then you should!

mrsbabookaloo Sat 23-Jul-11 20:41:21

Ooh, thanks sixtiesqueen, I look forward to checking out your blog.....I imagine your place will be very cool judging by the title! I have no eye for design at all, and everything will probably be Ikea, but am hoping to pick up a few ideas!

mrsbabookaloo Sat 23-Jul-11 20:58:06

Loving the blog - and glad our plans are nothing like so elaborate! I don't think we'll need planning permission or architects. The windows are done - it's a council block, so the council is responsible for roof etc. Am v jealous of our garden and the cubby house though - gorgeous!

Loved that light fitting - there is a v similar one in the kitchen at....was going to say "our place" but we haven't even put in an offer yet. We will do though.

We are now thinking to maybe rent somewhere for a month if we can, while the central heating and the floors are done.

Good luck with the rest of your works!

MavisGrind Sat 23-Jul-11 21:03:29

I hope this is possible as I'm considering this as a working LP with dcs aged 2&5..!

Just out of interest mrsbabookaloo what is your rough estimate for renovation costs? The places I'm looking at need central heating, kitchen, bathroom, new carpets etc so I'm interested to know how much it seems to cost people.

Soopermum1 Sat 23-Jul-11 22:37:48

I did some very similar renovations in a maisonette a few years ago. We got let down by builders and the 3 month plan stretched to over a year. We were able to live in it at the time, but I wouldn't have done it with small children.

mrsbabookaloo Sun 24-Jul-11 09:32:42

Soopermum1, thanks for the warning...we need to be prepared for anything I guess.

Mavisgrind, we are only doing rough guesstimates at the moment and we may be way off, but we're hoping to do it all for £25,000 and think that's quite generous and we should be able to buy some furniture with it too. But I know everything costs more than you think.

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