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Help me decide - new house needs cellar doing

(11 Posts)
Bakingnovice Tue 14-May-13 08:46:46

Can you help me? We've been looking for a house for five years. We have been gazumped and heartbroken many times. Time is now of the essence as our eldest dc is yr 6 soon and we need to move because although we were in the catchment area for our preferred secondary, last year the catchment boundary was changed

We saw a house last week. It's not perfect but we like it.
Pros: more bedrooms, nicer area, closer to family, under budget so have spare money to renovate, light and airy. If we buy we probably won't have to take a new mortgage on as its cheaper than others we have looked at.

Cons: it's a repossession so we can be gazumped at any time, I feel sad for the previous owners, it has really old sash windows and is drafty and I know they're hard to refurb, the cellar which has an external door and is ground level will need to be converted if rebut as the current kitchen is tiny, needs a lot of work.

We are moving from a new build detached to a Victorian Semi. Has anyone taken on a cellar project? There's a utility room in there already so I assume that putting a kitchen in wont be too problematic? I'm thinking it could take about 4-5 months to get all the work done and we can stay where we are until then so that's also a pro. We haven't put our offer in yet but won't be offering the asking price.

Sorry for the essay! Thanks in advance for any replies.

BLOO3Z Tue 14-May-13 10:41:17

having lived in a old draughty victorian house I can honestly say that you are going to have a shock moving from a new house to a old one please bear in mind also that most of these old houses are expensive and impossible to make them energy effient especailly ones with a cellar.
Hope you have losts of money in reserve as our old our nearly crippled us with the heating and constant maintenace bills..

flow4 Tue 14-May-13 10:41:26

I have a cellar kitchen. I bought 20+ years ago and lived on a low income for many years, so had to put up with terrible damp: slugs all over the place and units literally rotting away! sad Finally, 3 years ago, I was able to tackle it: I had it ripped out and properly damp-proofed with a full lining, then exposed the beams, replastered, then rebuilt the kitchen. I used a builder for the damp-proofing, plasterers, a joiner to fit the solid wood work-top, electricians for a full rewire, and a plumber to install the sink, connections for washing machine and dishwasher, and gas hob. I built and installed the units, did the tiling and decoration.

It cost about £7.5k altogether: £4.5k for the damp-proofing and plastering, £1k for the electrics, £1.5k for the IKEA kitchen incl new hob, oven and dishwasher, and about £500 for the other bits. It took ten weeks, but 7 of these were very slow progress with the damp-proofing, then 3 for everything else, including a week doing nothing waiting for the plaster to dry.

Definitely stay where you are! It was a NIGHTMARE cooking on a camping stove in the sitting room and washing up in the bath, for so long!

Oh, the cellar is about 4m x 5m.

It's lovely now! smile Tho there are bits of snagging still not done, because I've done it myself!

BLOO3Z Tue 14-May-13 10:43:53

flow4 we had slugs too, horrible things leaving trails everywhere, never ever found where they where coming in.

Bakingnovice Tue 14-May-13 12:39:11

Urghhh slugs! If the cellar already has a utility room built and is ground level will we still have these problems? My biggest concerns are:

Feeling like I'm underground (even though its ground level)
The sash windows (and low energy score)
Spending tens of thousands and still feeling its damp/cold
Heating bills for a 4 storey (our new build warms fast a d stays warm)

It's so stressful! But because the house is under budget we have the money to do the work. Oh and it feels v weird going from spacious detached to semi! And there's the added stress of it being a repo which means everything is more uncertain and faster.

Dh loves it. I'm 50/50. If we don't get it we can keep looking but got a feeling that we might get this one.

flow4 Tue 14-May-13 12:50:33

When you say you're 'ground level' but in a 'cellar', I get confused! confused Do you mean you're underground on one side of the house but not the other? Or that you're half underground?

Bakingnovice Tue 14-May-13 13:39:08

I suppose its not really a cellar. The back cellar/basement room has doors leading to the garden so it's at ground level. But because the front has steps leading to the main entrance the cellar looks underground. Sorry to sound so confusing!

Did you still get slugs after your conversion??

PigletJohn Tue 14-May-13 14:09:01

the floor would probably benefit from being dug out and relaid. This can give improved headroom, plus a concrete floor with DPM and insulation. If the house foundations are shallow, the digging will be done in bays against the wall, filled with concrete. If you are in a terrace or semi it may affect the neighbours so you will need a party wall surveyor.

Latest thinking with underground structures is to accept that damp or wet will find a way, and to make provision for it to be collected and drained or pumped away behind a false wall or lining. Good ventilation will combat damp.

flow4 Tue 14-May-13 16:57:55

No, no slugs now smile
The thing I like about the lining is that the damp is still there in the ground underneath - I live on a hill with a river at the bottom, in an area of high rainfall - but it stays out of my kitchen! grin

Bakingnovice Tue 14-May-13 18:09:17

Thank you piglet John. I just hope wager the house now.

Flow - slug and damp free. What more could you ask for.

BLOO3Z Wed 15-May-13 09:49:40

We had to install a pump to remove the water from our cellar, I would never buy house with cellar again...sash windows expensI've to replace maintenance etc draughty unless you got heaps of money to throw at it don't do it.

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