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Do you live in an old house?

(38 Posts)
NaturalBaby Mon 21-Jan-13 10:32:18

Can you give me an idea of what it's like please?!

We live in a fairly modern town house built in the 70's and our previous house was new build. We've found a cottage built in 1850 ish and have fallen in love with it, but are trying to work out what it's going to cost to live there. It needs modernising - new kitchen and bathroom, has a mixture of windows from single glazed to secondary glazed, working fire places (the front room was toasty with the fire going) but other rooms feel cold. I would be happy to live in it as it is for a while before doing any work, but am worried about a constant list of jobs that will need doing.

Pagwatch Mon 21-Jan-13 10:35:56

Ours is 1840 and is a good example of a period house so everything we do, we try to do in keeping.
It is a big house in fairness (on my profile) but yes, bloody expensive. And endless.
We had to have the porch repaired and relied recently - that was £8,000. The guttering needs doing next. We have spent well over £100,000 including the work on the basement.

sausagesandwich34 Mon 21-Jan-13 10:40:16

mine is 1870s end terrace

about the same cost to heat, high ceilings but very thick walls

rooms/walls/floors are not square so things never sit quite right but it adds character

I also never hear a sound from the neighbours!

i wouldn't live in a modern house again

GoldPlatedNineDoors Mon 21-Jan-13 10:43:40

1880s mid terrace ground floor flat. Weve sanded the floorboards, so the house cools down quickly when the heating is off, and we heat it all day and night feom Oct - March.

We could carpet but the rooms are hugh and would be costly.

High ceilings, cornicing and ceiling roses which are stunning. I love it dearly but we need a third bedroom and a garage or loft (storage) so will need to sell up within the nexr year or two and I wont be able to afford a whole old house sad

Troubleintmill Mon 21-Jan-13 10:44:35

We used to live in a 16th century cottage and now live in a 1840 townhouse so used to period property! If the house is sound structurally you shouldn't have to lay out too much, as long as you keep on top of any work that needs doing. If you leave it that's whenit becomes expensive as more damage to fix IYSWIM! If its just modernising internally you can spend as little or much as you can afford.
I'd get the fires opened in other rooms if there are any-wood burners are good for heat.. You can add more secondary glazing and make sure you have good curtains to keep heat in. Maybe get someone to give you an idea of how much stuff will cost before you commit? Will help you see if you can afford it. Good luck!

austenozzy Mon 21-Jan-13 10:48:20

ours is a mix of ages. the oldest part is mid 1600s, the middle part is late 1800s and the end part is 1970s! the newest part is coldest as it's flat roof and not amazingly well done. the original part is toastiest as it's timber framed with wattle and daub.

the beams in the loft of the oldest bit are amazing, they're like lengths of tree, not squared off planed beams like today.

NaturalBaby Mon 21-Jan-13 10:51:09

There is a wood burner and good curtains, carpet throughout. They have solar panels so very low electricity bills but the central heating and radiators could do with upgrading. It looks well looked after, as much as I can tell with several inches of snow all over the place!

It's been on the market a while which is making me think again.

Jux Mon 21-Jan-13 11:32:58

Ours is Georgian. It's a money pit, remorseless!

What I would give for a nice, modern bungalow grin

SaskiaRembrandtVampireHunter Mon 21-Jan-13 11:38:52

Mine's only about 120 years old, but large and drafty and we do need to do more repairs/maintenance than we would in a modern house which can be expensive.

I'm another who's starting to hanker after a modern new build grin

GooseyLoosey Mon 21-Jan-13 11:45:59

Much of my house is around 700 years old. First question would be: is it listed? If yes, I would think hard about buying it as it will make some of your plans harder.

Secondly. consider how your plans would affect any period features eg. if you want double glazing throughout, will this mean removing old windows and glass?

Is it damp? My house is pretty damp and there is little you can do about it. We have tanked some of the internal walls but I still regularly have to kill the mildew.

I love my house but you do have to accept things like damp are part and parcel of living in an old house.

LifeofPo Mon 21-Jan-13 11:47:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

exexpat Mon 21-Jan-13 11:51:52

Mine's late Victorian, and currently needs roof doing (£££), drains clearing (£), external masonry repairing (£££) and sash windows replacing (£££), as well as general redecorating because of previous leaks and cracks in ceilings etc. My parents live in an older house (most of it Georgian) and there is always something that needs work. But I hate living in modern houses with low ceilings and small windows, so I have to put up with it. I did have a 1930s flat for a while which was a good compromise, but I expect 1930s houses are reaching the age where they need constant work too.

Goodwordguide Mon 21-Jan-13 12:37:58

700 years old shock that's amazing goosey

We're about to move into a Georgian house - it's already a money pit and we having even got there yet. I'm sure it will be freezing as well. But we didn't see another hosue that came anywhere near it for space and light and loveliness. Just hope we can still appreciate the aesthetic benefits when we're cold and destitute!

NaturalBaby Mon 21-Jan-13 12:50:35

It is called a cottage but has lots of big windows and high ceilings in places. I don't think it's listed, that's on my list to check.
There was a lot of condensation on the windows so will ask about damp.

I really loved living in a brand new house, and am worried we'll never be able to make this cottage ours as it has so much character from the current vendor. It just needs opening up or tweaking a bit with all the little bits added on and it's impossible to know which walls and doors we can move at the moment.

SaskiaRembrandtVampireHunter Mon 21-Jan-13 12:51:46

"First question would be: is it listed? If yes, I would think hard about buying it as it will make some of your plans harder."

Yes, listed status can be a problem - but also check the house isn't in a conservation area. I used to work for a building firm in a town that had several conserved areas and there were often problems when it came to replacing doors and windows, repairing a roof, or adding any kind of extension.

babamummy Mon 21-Jan-13 13:03:36

Live in an old house of varying age- oldest bit is about 1650. They're always seems to be something to do but that is also partly down to moving to a bigger house. Just about to have our roof redone(££££) and getting some extra insulation put in whilst we're there which will hopefully bring the heating bills down.

Our last house was a cottage c. 1800 with no central heating (very naive and believed the previous owners when they said that the wood burner kept it warm). Lasted one winter before we put in central heating.

I love living in old houses but occasionally fantasize about how much easier a new build would be when watching grand designs.

Astelia Mon 21-Jan-13 13:04:56

Also check for TPOs on trees in the garden and also on ones which could possibly fall on the house.

drjohnsonscat Mon 21-Jan-13 13:09:15

Mine is 1820s but I had it almost gutted when I bought it as it was in such a terrible state. Every joist, window and door has been replaced. We are in a conservation area but not listed so I have sash double glazing. I also had the walls internally insulated.

As a result it's really warm and draught-proof. The whole thing cost an arm and a leg to do but worth it as it is comfortable and quite low maintenance atm.

The problem you may find is that when work needs to be done you'll find more problems that you / the builder first thought of!!

Main part of the house 1820s, with various added on bits over the years. Has a full basement so it's effectively 3 storeys but you only see 2 from outside (big window wells). Quite a bit of work was done here but done badly so have spent many a year updating and putting things right.

Example we had stairs / landing replaced and the joiner was shocked when he found out what was holding up all the old stairs! Had to have ne wbeams put in, extra lintels etc - so any relatively straight forward job just becomes bigger. So best to have reasonable contingency funds for any job you do.

Most modern we have ahd is a 1960s built flat roofed place which also took up lots of money.

Got most of the house reasonably sorted now - still prefer older to new build.

NaturalBaby Mon 21-Jan-13 14:23:23

Our biggest problem will be no contingency funds - it will all go into buying the house. That's going to be my biggest concern. Will a survey show up everything?!
It's not listed and there are no TPOs on the trees.

Surveys never show up everything as ma ny problems are just hidden!! Also you get to learn a few trades to help reduce costs and find people who can do the various tasks. Also a few older trades like working on older properties and can be very helpful with tips and sometims throw in extras etc.

In the short term if the house works then you can live with it. We moved in here and in the 1st week removed the horrible 1970s stone fireplace the owners puty in - it took a couple years to repalce it with a proper stone mantle and log burner - so worth it in the end!!

AnnaBegins Mon 21-Jan-13 14:40:06

Our house is only about 100 years old but we are about to move to one built in early 1800s!

I'd agree that structural integrity is the most important thing. If you put (nice) double glazing in the rest of the windows that would help with heating, our current house is easy to heat but my old rented house of a similar age but single glazed was a nightmare!

Check what changes and additions have been made in eras when building regs were less strict/followed less often. E.g. extensions done in the 70s are notorious for having poor foundations, according to my ex-builder dad.

Check that the roof is sound!

And don't get too worried by the scary wording of surveys etc - get the surveyor to talk you through what is actually an issue and what isn't - surveys of old houses sound scary but sometimes aren't once you get through the surveyor speak!

Woodburners are amazing - the rooms with a chimney running through them should also get heated once it gets going.

Good luck and lucky you! House sounds lovely.

Fishandjam Mon 21-Jan-13 14:43:32

Ours is two old one-up-one-down workers' cottages, knocked through and with an extension built on. The original part is 1820 or thereabouts. There are virtually no foundations so it's all a bit wonky due to settlement over the years, is a bugger to heat cos the walls are so thin (and heating oil is so horrifyingly expensive). When we moved in we had to damp proof, woodwork treat and replace a bust lintel above the front door, but nothing major. But it's a nice old-feeling place and has loads of garden with a field at the back so we're not overlooked. I love it!

Fishandjam Mon 21-Jan-13 14:44:28

PS we have a big woodburner and it's wonderful.

RooneyMara Mon 21-Jan-13 14:47:39

yes always old houses but not that old. Mostly Victorian.

Check stuff like whether the ceilings are plaster/lath etc

what walls are made from

what the electrics are like

all this should show up in a survey I think.

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