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Huge C17 house - are we mad?

(39 Posts)
MrsPoyser Sun 11-Sep-11 17:35:06

We've inherited some money and are planning to move to a much-needed bigger house. (Yes, I do know how lucky we are). Is it daft even to consider a rather lovely, large house that's 400 years old? Are we going to spend all our time worrying about woodworm and death-watch beetle and run out of money to maintain it and end up living in one room and running out to put buckets under the leaks like I Capture the Castle? Or would it in fact be as much fun as we're imagining?

coccyx Sun 11-Sep-11 17:37:42

how much do you have allocated for repairs etc and how much time?? we have an old house can be a battle to keep enthusiasm going.
I love Capture the castle.....

Onlyaphase Sun 11-Sep-11 17:38:39

We used to have a big 450 year old house and it was fine. Timber frame and all. The bit that gave us grief was the 1970s extension.

noddyholder Sun 11-Sep-11 17:39:34

You only live once as long as you can afford to maintain it it will be lovely.

coccyx Sun 11-Sep-11 17:40:56

We need pictures!!!

MrsPoyser Sun 11-Sep-11 18:10:13

Don't think I can do pics without outing myself! (This is a small village, and I bet the vendor is a mumsnetter). It looks sturdy enough - stone-built, but it does have 4 floors. I don't think it's been too much messed around with. How much do you budget for maintenance? We've always had Victorian terraces with the usual damp/wiring/roofing issues. (We will, obviously, get a full survey if we proceed, but I don't know anyone with a house on this scale).

coccyx Sun 11-Sep-11 18:41:08

MrsPoyser you are teasing us.! Does it need renovating or just redecorating etc

MadameCastafiore Sun 11-Sep-11 19:08:39

We are selling our C15 house at the moment - well it goes on the market tomorrow!!!

Has been wonderful living here - so nice to have such wonderful character and it has cost us a lot of money in repairs to the roof, electrics etc but no more than a victorian house would i expect.

If we ever bought one again I would go for one that has been renovated (and not a listed building unless you are far more patient than I!) or make sure we have 10% of purchase price in cash sitting there waiting to be spent.

MrsPoyser Sun 11-Sep-11 19:17:05

No, no, not teasing, just tentative about outing myself, especially in relation to a possible property transaction. But I'll stop drip-feeding: it has 9 bedrooms (I feel coy about admitting this - we've never had more than 3), a panelled drawing room and staircase, and was fully renovated in the late 1990s, so I guess should be OK on the wiring/plumbing. We're going back for another look tomorrow, but I keep happening to walk past the outside and imagining deciding which bedroom becomes the library, the playroom etc. (Music room? None of us plays an instrument.)

Onlyaphase Sun 11-Sep-11 19:46:26

A general rule of thumb is to allow 1% of the value of the house for maintenance each year.

I agree with MadameC about listing - I wouldn't buy a listed house again if all else was equal as I don't have the patience to deal with all the red tape.

stripeybump Sun 11-Sep-11 19:49:32

shock and envy

It sounds bloody amazing. Go for it but research the worst possible things that could need doing and ensure you have enough money leftover to sort fallen roofs etc.

Pleassssee link? We won't tell.

MrsPoyser Sun 11-Sep-11 19:57:34

It is listed, grade 2. I thought that just meant you couldn't do anything to the outside? Does it affect day-to-day maintenance? I suppose I should also check about insurance, which might reasonably be rather expensive.

Can't link. Honestly. I want to be able to come back here and bask/agonise if we do make an offer, and I can just imagine the vendor reading avidly and negotiating accordingly. (Though I suppose I could do a kind of double bluff, pretending here that we were about to pull out and waiting to see her react, but I really don't have the stomach for that.) I don't feel I can tell rl friends because it's so very much more splendid than anything any of us would ordinarily consider.

catsareevil Sun 11-Sep-11 19:57:44

It does sound lovely. Will you be able to use all of the house?

catsareevil Sun 11-Sep-11 20:01:05

I live in a listed building. Insurance doesnt have to be an issue, but some insurance companies penalise your for it, so you might need to shop around a little. Some of the online quotation services cant cope with listed buildings.

MrsPoyser Sun 11-Sep-11 20:01:34

Well, you know. Guest room. Study. I do work from home a lot. Play room. But yes, in all honesty there'd probably be a room or two that ended up being under-used. I'm both infatuated and daunted by the idea of that much space - we've all been on top of each other since the kids were born and I grew up in houses where there wasn't usually anyone in the next room. It felt very different, and I'd like that for me now, even if I'm not sure it's best for children.

CaptainNancy Sun 11-Sep-11 20:02:02

Oh bugger- I started a thread about listed homes, and everyone said it was fine, great even!
Hmm... if they've been v recently renovAted it'd be okay?

MrsPoyser Sun 11-Sep-11 20:03:23

Estate agents always seem to say 'listed' with pride, as if it's an asset. Snob value? (Sign me up)

GrendelsMum Sun 11-Sep-11 22:07:25

I think the 1% rule of thumb might be a bit conservative for a house with nine bedrooms. presumably that would only be 800 - 1000 per year, and that's not going to get you anywhere very much. How much would it cost to have the windows repainted, for example? How often does the lime wash need re-doing, if applicable, and how much does that cost?

if you've got a lot of money spare each year and plenty of time to oversee or do repairs, it would be lovely. I would say that you really shouldn't underestimate the time needed - we have the money, but Im starting to resent the time taken somewhat.

listing applies to the inside as well as the outside, and if you search on here you'll find various threads outlining the pros and cons of owning an olderr house. some day to day maintenance needs to be done differently in an older or listed house.

you might want to take a look at the forums, which are for owners of old houses.

MrsPoyser Sun 11-Sep-11 22:58:09

It's a lot more than £80,000! 1% is more like 5k, which we could probably find some years but not all. Time - well, we're busy, like everyone, but some of what we're busy with is house and garden and crafting, and it does seem like the kind of house it would be a pleasure to care for.

Thanks very much for the link. I will explore, and have another look around, and see where we get to. (It has carved window-seats and marble fire-places! Is it OK to buy a house because you've fallen for it?)

nelliesue Mon 12-Sep-11 08:20:43

Hi - I've been following this thread with interest as I live in a lovely listed cottage. I agree with most of what has been said about listing and maintenance costs - our financial situation changed and we are struggling with maintenance, we have the time but not the money...

A couple of things I would add -

There are people that do specialist surveys of listed/old buildings before you buy. They are expensive (ours was around £2K), but worth it and it sounds as though you will be able to afford it. They can highlight some specific issues for you, particularly if you are dealing with timber/lime wash etc.

Also, don't underestimate heating bills in a large/listed building. Certainly where we are, we cannot have any double glazing or insulation and even roof insulation is problematic. Heating costs us a fortune in winter and there's not much we can do about it.


Northernlurker Mon 12-Sep-11 08:25:00

It sounds amazing. If it's a once in a lifetime house then go for it!

Catsmamma Mon 12-Sep-11 08:27:40

I'd phone the Listings chap (or lady) at your local council, they can be a mine of information about the listing, and how tough they are on stuff that needs doing and also how up to date their records are.

we looked at one here CatA (Scotland) and we ran screaming from it in the end, somehow both local authorities assumed the property was under the care of the other, as it was on the county border and no end of malarkey had gone on with the property!

All of which I found out through informal phone calls! :D

JillySnooper Mon 12-Sep-11 08:30:31

OMG, I need to know where you can get a 9 bed listed house for £500K!

GrendelsMum Mon 12-Sep-11 08:45:18

oops! That's what comes of trying to do percentages in bed after a very tiring day! five thousand a year sounds like a much more reasonable amount to budget.

I think it might be stressful if you dont reliably have spare money. not saying don't do it, but I can tell you life is so much easier if you do have the money for the endless things that go wrong and that aren't picked up on the survey.

On the other hand, sounds like a lovely house, and if you'd put the care and time into caring for it, perhaps you're the very people to own it next?

JajasWolef Mon 12-Sep-11 08:56:24

How exciting! I live in a listed house but nothing like as big as that. There is a cachet apparently and supposedly the listing can add 20% to the value of the house.

I love living in a totally unique house, yes it can be a pain and the maintenance is either on-going or like us you ignore it because you can't afford it and erm yes I Capture The Castle is definitely more romantic than the reality!

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