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Does anyone know about renovating a house?

(64 Posts)
MrsKoala Sun 30-Mar-14 17:11:47

We have had an offer accepted on a 3 bed Victorian semi, which needs a lot of work. I don't really know what're to start. I have a 20k budget for work, decorating and some furniture. I could do with some realistic advice on what different things will cost.

So if you would be willing to give me a bit of advice I'd be most grateful.

As well as some work on the roof and guttering and fixing/replacing the boiler and doing a bit of water damage repair (which the surveyor said would all come to about 7k) we need to:
- put in 2 velux windows and turn the loft into a usable space.
- move loft hatch to hallway ceiling (rather than second bedroom) and put in a decent pull down ladder
- strip all the wood chip paper off and replaster the whole house
- put in and tile a new bathroom
- replace cupboard doors and put in a new sink and work surface (I'd like cream doors and a wood work surface if poss) in kitchen
- Have 2 fireplaces moved from the bedrooms to the living and dining rooms
- knock out chimney breasts in 2 bedrooms
- have fitted wardrobes built in 2 bedrooms
- some floor boards need replacing
- replace banisters and landing balustrade

After this we would need to decorate, but will decide on that once we have established a budget for the above. So we could probably stretch to about 15k for the above. Is that wildly unrealistic?

Any advice would be wonderful smile

Turnipinatutu Sun 30-Mar-14 19:02:41

I would say wildly optimistic, especially if your in SE!
Sorry sad

5ofus Sun 30-Mar-14 19:04:51

Agree that's wildly optimistic. But how far you get with your 20k also depends on how much you are able to do yourselves.

WetAugust Sun 30-Mar-14 19:15:13

I've just spent a similar sum to that which you have available renovating my house. It's also taken me a year, but I did a lot of the work myself.

As well as some work on the roof and guttering and fixing/replacing the boiler and doing a bit of water damage repair (which the surveyor said would all come to about 7k) we need to:

Assuming you're not in London and don't need the whole roof replaced and the roof is accesible via scaffolding, �7K sounds about right.

- put in 2 velux windows and turn the loft into a usable space.

I'd get that done while the roof is being repaired - saves 2 lots of scaffolding.

- move loft hatch to hallway ceiling (rather than second bedroom) and put in a decent pull down ladder

That's easy to do - I've done that myself. Should cost a few hundred for reframing the loft hatch, repairing the hole in the ceiling left by the old loft hatch and the cost of the ladder. I used an aluminum one with a handrail.

- strip all the wood chip paper off and replaster the whole house

That will be one hell of a challenge to get the woodchip off if it's got lots of layers of paint on it. Re-skimming a whole house could be a thousand or much more - depends on the size of the house obviously. It was �400 to do my bathroom ceilng and walls.

- put in and tile a new bathroom

cost me �5300.

- replace cupboard doors and put in a new sink and work surface (I'd like cream doors and a wood work surface if poss) in kitchen

I replaced the units but went for Axiom worktops. Inc integrated dishwasher, some bespoke carpentry and new appliances was IRO �7K

-^ Have 2 fireplaces moved from the bedrooms to the living and dining rooms^

No idea - but they will be decorative rather than usable as you're knocking out the chimney breast above.

- knock out chimney breasts in 2 bedrooms
No idea but suspect it will be very expensive as you will have plastering of walls and ceilings, new boards etc and will have to cdeal with the pots on the roof.

- have fitted wardrobes built in 2 bedrooms

Depends if you do it, or go to a DIY shed, Ikea or get a wardrobe company in - they are really expensive.

- some floor boards need replacing

DIY job? Unless they they are being replaced because of woodworm or damp/dry rot in which case you need to treat those problems first

- replace banisters and landing balustrade

I looked into this. A short 2 metre run of landing balustrade was going to be in the region of �600 fitted. Decided against it.

After this we would need to decorate, but will decide on that once we have established a budget for the above. So we could probably stretch to about 15k for the above. Is that wildly unrealistic?

TBH - yes.

What about carpets, curtains, flooring, new accesories etc.

Is the electrical distribution board up to a modern standard as that's the first thing that a lot of my workmen wanted to ensure. If not, that will be about �400 to replace.

Any re-wiring needed?

Any new windows or external doors required.

Any additional electrical sockets required or need to be moved?

Any lead pipes to be replaced?

Fencing and outside paving?

You need to sequence the work carefully so you're not repeatedly calling in the same trades time after time.
I'd start with the roof.
The place will be very difficult to live in while major structural work is being undertaken.
I saved money by doing my own painting and sourcing some of my materials myself. So I'd get a carpenter in to do the joinery and then knot, prime and paint the wood myself. Get a plasterer to skim, but decorate myself.....
You can save a lot by doing that.

FloralPuddles Sun 30-Mar-14 19:18:20

I'm really sorry but I think your budget is a little unrealistic sad We do not have a lovely Victorian property but we bought a 70's ex LA house that needed some TLC and it's taken a LOT of work and we are now just starting to think about paint colours etc and we've easily spent a tad more than 15k up to now.

This has included as well as lots of little bits - a partial rewire, removing of all artex - every room and re plastering the whole house, (we removed all wallpaper ourselves), new kitchen and bathroom, we also had the stair bannister and spindles replaced. We have scrimped to keep the costs down and sourced, researched etc, the most expensive charges have not been actual items but labour charges.

We are doing lots our self to keep costs down and we are building relationships with tradesmen etc to get the odd favour but it's still all adding up even with such a plain house as ours.

Sorry for the ramble, not sure if thus will even help.

throckenholt Sun 30-Mar-14 19:21:05

another vote for widely unrealistic.

Prioritise which ones are most important and cost out those - then save up for the others in due course.

Sunnyshores Sun 30-Mar-14 19:54:26

£15k including the £7k estimate? ie £8k for the rest of the work listed is completely unrealistic. Even if £15k for the rest of the work I think unrealistic. More like £20k if shopping around for bargains and doing alot of work yourself.

exexpat Sun 30-Mar-14 20:04:19

Your budget sounds wildly unrealistic to me as well, I'm afraid - that's a very long list of work that needs doing.

By way of comparision, I just had a quote for about £15k for a partial loft conversion - turning part of it into a sleeping loft above DD's room, which involves reinforcing some joists, new insulation and floor boards, velux windows, putting in a fixed ladder and some stud walls, and some general building work and replastering etc.

You won't get very much change from £5k for stripping out and completely refitting a bathroom either, unless you are doing a lot of the work yourself and only using the most basic fittings.

KirstyJC Sun 30-Mar-14 20:07:31

Sorry, another vote for unrealistic here too!

We have done some work to our current house (and to previous one) things always cost more than you think.

Although if you could do most of the work yourself then it would be save loads - labour is usually the most expensive part.

I would definitely do the structural stuff first, as that is essential - decoration etc can wait. I have done woodchip-stripping although we can't afford to plaster, and tried to convince myself the dodgy walls look 'rustic' and that it adds to the charm.....not totally bought that but still!grin

Our bathroom was load cheaper than the PP - we got the loo and bath for £235 delivered, paid someone £150 to take out old one and replace with new ones (a friend of a friend who is semi retired and just does a bit of plumbing to keep his hand in - do you know any tradespeople like that? Saves loads!). The double sink unit, base drawers and taps came from Ikea and were less than £200 all in and I think the tiles were about £50. I did the fitting of the sink and the tiling. The floor was an offcut of vinyl from a local flooring company - they are often roll-ends available much cheaper so I would look into that. I think the whole room was less than £1000 so it can be done.

Decorating costs a fortune so you can do that yourself so much cheaper.

Our kitchen we just repainted the cupboards, it took 3 coats but they look fabulous. We are planning to replace the sink, tap and worktop with wood when funds allow.

The fireplaces could work out quite expensive - it would be mostly labour. Can you do any of it yourselves?

MrsKoala Sun 30-Mar-14 20:22:24

Oh dear that's what I was afraid of. sad

Dad is an electrician and will help with lots of work (altho electrics are fine-as is plumbing). We have a good labourer who charges £60 a day and does a bit of every thing.

The 7k is not included in the 15k. We could stretch to 20k. So 27-30k all in.

MoonlightandRoses Sun 30-Mar-14 21:28:53

Congratulations on the new house!

To be honest, a lot of it sounds like work you'd like to have done, rather than must have done. If you just get the structural and necessary at this point (so roof (inc. velux), kitchen & bathroom, any other minor repairs) then go through the others after that do you think you'd still be happy in the house?

Often after living in a place for a few months your ideas of what you want to do with it change.

We moved last year, and I am so glad now that I agreed not to go for the full width extension (among other things) straight off as what I actually want done after living here is totally different to what I thought I wanted done, IYSWIM?

ShoeWhore Sun 30-Mar-14 21:40:45

Hmm yes sounds a bit optimistic sorry. sad

You may not have to totally replaster after removing the woodchip, it depends on what's underneath (lathe and plaster will disintegrate, more modern plaster may well survive). We got away with papering with lining paper, although a friend was more unlucky and the walls completely disintegrated.

A couple of questions:

If you are only having a ladder up to the loft then do you really need velux windows up there?

I'm a bit shock that you are planning on removing fireplaces and knocking out chimney breasts - they are part of the charm of buying an old house, no? Think carefully about this, it may have a negative effect on the value of the house. Are the bannisters really not salvageable either?

peggyundercrackers Sun 30-Mar-14 23:01:59

We removed lots of wood chip and our walls were fine. I would do as much of the donkey work as you can to save money. I would be surprised if you got half the work you wanted done for 15k.

Although you think you know what needs doing in the house, wait until you start taking bits down/apart then you will really find out what it needs, Victorian houses although lovely (we wouldn't swap our for the world) are full of surprises. Old houses need something doing all the time.

MrsKoala Mon 31-Mar-14 02:19:34

Thanks all. I am tempted to pull out of the sale now sad There is a house a few doors up which is on for 17k more and it's all been done, new kitchen, bathroom, everything. Only work needed is wardrobes and garden. It doesn't have a loft space or off street parking tho and we don't like a much as this.

This house has a ceiling price and if we spend anymore than 20k we have exceeded it.

The amount we can do is limited. We have an 18mo and I am pregnant. Dh works long hours and isn't very good at DIY. So he's not able to do much himself. We are renting at the moment and wanted to get as much done before we moved in rather than bits at a time.

Oh dear sad I think I have let excitement and desperation get the better of me.

If we don't get the chimney breast and fireplace removed in the main bedroom there is nowhere to put our bed. So that needs to be done. The loft needs to be done and the wood chip paper stripping and skimming is such a big messy job we couldn't face doing it while living in with babies/toddlers.

We could live with the decrepit old bathroom and kitchen. But this is really not our forever home, and we would want to be moving again in about 5 yrs. so we'd have to do them up before then anyway. Realistically tho, we could have saved another 10k in about 18 months time for the kitchen and bathroom. It would just mean well exceeding the ceiling price for property on this street and having to sell for at least 40k more than we paid to just break even.

If we were in it for the long haul and totally in love with the house then I think I would feel differently. But it already is very much a compromise even without the work.

However, we have no where else to live and a baby on the way so probably will just have to take it.

Thank you all so much for the great advice. Sorry for the negativity, im very tired. I hope I feel more positive in he morning when I've had some more sleep.

MrsKoala Mon 31-Mar-14 02:31:52

Sorry Shoewhore - I didn't see your question. We love the fireplaces, they are 2 original ones in the bedrooms, so we want to move them to the living room and dining rooms directly below bedrooms which have been tiled over. The chimney breast in the bedrooms make the space smaller and the way the doors and windows are placed make positioning furniture virtually impossible. The surveyor said that altho the chimneys could be cleaned out if real fires wanted, the hassle and cost just wouldn't be worth it. So we thought, make a decorative feature of he lovely fireplaces downstairs and use the space more effectively for furniture upstairs.

Dh wants the loft as a little office. This is why this house appealed to us rather than others on he street without a space which could be converted.

The house has been a rental for years and has not been looked after very well. The banisters are cheap and flimsy and my toddler extremely rambunctious toddler will easily smash thru them confused the stairs are very steep and I will be carrying toddler and baby up and down so want something sturdy to hold on to.

mysteryfairy Mon 31-Mar-14 06:20:33

I would either pull out under the circumstances you've outlined or drastically reduce my offer. Renovating houses with small children in tow is no fun and if it's only a short term purchase I think it would be a poor buy given that from what you've described you are highly unlikely to generate any profit but are at significant risk of not recovering your investment.

You could reduce the offer and explain the amount of work required and the 'quotes' as the reason but if so do think carefully about whether you can stand to live with builders and little ones for a long time. I know I hated it.

Depending on the parking situation I.e. Is it always easy to get on street parking I would be tempted to go for the done house. The second compromise would be DH has to accept working at dining room table.

notnowImreading Mon 31-Mar-14 06:52:41

I've done much the same thing recently, not having asked mumsnet beforehand. I had a budget of £22K but so far it has cost £34K as we discovered a lot more problems along the way. The original builder's estimate before I bought the place was £18K. Be prepared for what you expect to pay to double!

It will be lovely when it's done! <grins manically>

MrsKoala Mon 31-Mar-14 09:22:18

This offer is reduced from what the going rate of 240k is. They accepted an offer of £222500. They wanted 225k as had already reduced it due to work needed. And the surveyor has come back with an estimate of 7k for all essential work. So on the surface it seems in budget. But they aren't taking the bathroom, kitchen and wood chip walls into consideration.

they were quite insistent that the estate agent tell us that what they wont be doing is reducing it any further regardless of what the survey comes back with.

also everything else is way over our budget. So i think its this or nothing. Our rent and council tax is very high at the moment, and we are in a tiny flat. So we really need to move.

fuckit! sad

LondonGirl83 Mon 31-Mar-14 11:21:02

Go for the other house that is 17k more. The cost of the work you are envisioning is much more than your budget unless you are very handy.

MrsKoala Mon 31-Mar-14 11:33:09

The other one hasn't got off street parking and the street is a dead end st very near the station. Also it doesn't have any loft space to use. While it has been done up, its very low quality and really not to our taste. So i would still be living in a pain in the arse house. I think id rather not bother with either at the mo.

thanks for all the advice. I just want to cry. I am very tired and hormonal tho. So it may be that that's making me so upset confused

Sunnyshores Mon 31-Mar-14 12:23:15

So sorry for your dilema,but it really does sound as if you're better walking away now. You could spend much more money than you think, have a horrendous mess for a year while work takes place and then sell at a loss 4 years later. Basically the house is overpriced, the only way round it is to pay less, do less work or do the work yourself.
Good luck with your decision.

Apatite1 Mon 31-Mar-14 12:44:00

It's just shit isn't it mrskoala?

I'm looking for houses right now, everything is either £££ or will cost £££ to make habitable. I feel your pain. I really hope you find something very soon. Given that you have very young children, it seems a better idea to pick something you can move straight into.

oscarwilde Mon 31-Mar-14 12:45:55

Hi there MrsK.
Try not to get totally disheartened, you'll just have to hit the phones and get quotes for stuff. You've got the room measurements and a floor plan presumably?

I've fairly recently done a lot of the work you've outlined in SE London and I think your estimates are probably a little optimistic but not wildly so if you are saying �7k for basics plus another �15k? I think it is more a case that it's not all achievable at once and you will need to prioritise. If you won't consider living in a house without your whole list done, then you might need to reconsider.

I think what is really sinking your budget for me is replastering the entire house. That gets really, really expensive. We replastered a couple of rooms but striped the top layer of woodchip off in the hall, stairs and landing and then put up lining paper and painted it. Nice smooth surface and it looked fine. Didn't put anyone off when it came to be resold. If we'd taken all the wallpaper back to the victorian plaster we'd have had to take it all off back to the brick.
I would call these guys and see if they will quote for the structural work you want done. They do stuff besides lofts and will come in and blitz the place.

A top hung velux window is circa �400 plus labour to install. It's about �500 to board out a loft with insulation underneath. I think you could do the loft for about �2k as a bare bones with a ladder but it would be freezing in the winter time. To add decent insulation, plasterboard the walls/ceiling and stick a radiator up there.... ??? A loft company will give you a good idea though.
Is it a real priority though? Is DH going to work from home/do weekend work/on call from home if this goes in or is this just a "den" for him to disappear to in the evenings and play on his computer? Take it from me that two small children leaves very little spare time for tinkering in the evenings. Mostly though, I would say that if your loft has sufficient head height to be converted, I would be loathe to spend a few thousand on it now. I'd rather save up and convert it properly in a few years. It would be cheaper to give him a nice corner of the dining room to work in ?

We put in a Howden's kitchen with a new boiler for �10k including (expensive) floor and wall tiles, painting etc. That excluded appliances. We totally relocated the boiler requiring replumbing, some new rads, a new fusebox and rewire of the kitchen (to make safe).
A new bathroom which was almost fully tiled was about �3500. We got a good deal on the tiles though.

We had chimneys removed (beware, this will make your living room chimney unusable if you rip out upstairs) for circa �1000 per chimney breast including plastering and making good. You will need a party wall agreement with your neighbour though and you will need to pay for the cost of this. �0 - �1500 depending on the surveyor they choose.
Personally, I'd leave the chimney breasts in place and work around them if your budget is tight. How big is your bed?

Does any of this help or are my numbers making it worse?

oscarwilde Mon 31-Mar-14 12:51:13

There is one other option which is tricky. If you take out a short mortgage, 1-2 yrs only, you could have the house revalued at the end of the term and release equity (if the house has appreciated in value because of the work you have had done/market rising) to get more work done in 2 yrs time. If your proposed mortgage is at the limit of what you can afford then that's a v bad idea.
I only raise it as a suggestion as we found when buying a fixer upper that we could only borrow 90% of the value of the house. Even though we could afford a higher mortgage repayment, we couldn't borrow on work that needed to be done.
So we went ahead and spent all of our disposable income on it as we went instead. That was pre-kids though when living out of one room while the rest of the house stank of paint was feasible.

MrsKoala Mon 31-Mar-14 13:04:08

That's all great thank you.

our bed is a super king and we would struggle even with a normal double. There are doors 3/4 way along 2 walls so no bed would fit and 2 windows on one wall and the chimney breast on the other. I think we could squeeze a bed on the larger side of either of the doors, but it would mean one side would be pushed up either against the windows or the chimney. The room is 11'x11'10 and our bed is 7' wide. We also need to fit a wardrobe somewhere and a sidecar cot.

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