Aaarrggghh! Please help us decide about this house?(26 Posts)
Dear Wise Mumsnetters,
DH and I are going round in circles trying to decide on whether or not to make an offer on a particular house and could really use some impartial advice. Here goes...i don't want to give too much detail as we live in a very small town and could out myself!
We have 3 dc (7, 4 & 3yrs old).The house in question is a 3 bed modern semi, very sunny & bright corner plot at the end of small cul-de-sac, right beside large playing fields and a great playpark, 5 mins walk from school/nursery/ train station (cycle paths all the way). Small garden but current owners have managed to fit in a trampoline and a small patio and a small lawn area.
However, we would only buy it with a view to converting the integral garage into another room and maybe adding a small conservatory. It has solar panels and according to the current owner's utility bills, is very cheap to run.
Plus points are location, cheap utility bills, and lower mortgage repayments than if we try and hold out for a 4 bed. This is really important for me as I am currently a SAHP but am going back to college in Sept to re-train and will need to cover childcare and then when I do get a job in my new career the year after it will be a very poorly paid one!
Downsides are it is a small house no matter what we do to it. The rooms are quite small and we feel that it will be inevitable that we will want to move again when the kids hit the teenage years. For now, it is not so much of an issue as with small children noone really gets much privacy anyway! And infact my oldest dc chooses to share with the 2 younger ones even though she has her own room in our current house.
We are currently renting a very cold uninsulated old cottage with no garden to speak of and the thought of being in a lovely warm cosy modern house by winter is very appealing!
Is it daft to buy a house you know you will move from in say 5 yrs time???
For various reasons we have to decide tonight if we are making an offer tomorrow. There is a chance we could get a good price as the owners want to tie this up quickly.
Our other option is to let this one pass and wait for a 4 bed to come up. This would be much more expensive and probably further away from school, station and of course no guarantee that anything we like would come up.
Sorry this is so long. We are so torn... I am leaning towards making an offer but don't want to make a really silly mistake financially.
Any advice anyone (and thank you for reading!)?
I can see your dilemma. I would weigh up whether you need to get on property ladder (saying you rent now) against the cost of moving twice in a short timeframe. I think you're better to wait for a larger house to come up.
Assuming it's a modern house with integral garage, have you checked if any other similar properties in the area have converted their garage into a room? You don't want to buy it then discover that you can't get planning permission
yes, pretty much all the houses on ths street have converted the garage into a living room or even a kitchen so we know it can be done. We have been on the property ladder previously and sold last year and have been renting since. Don't want to wait too long as prices are rising in our area.
Good point about the conservatory. I have heard that before!
To me it sounds like a good option. Could you extend at all in the future? Loft conversion or side extension? I wouldn't bother with a conservatory either, for the reasons listed above!
I would say no to loft conversion/side extension as there is not really enough space and feel that would be too expensive and if we ever did have to sell, would not make back the money we had invested.
My head is also telling me that if the economy took a turn for the worse and we found ourselves in 5 yrs time unable/unwilling to sell, then we would just get on with it. There would be worse houses to be stuck in! The boys would share a room in their teens. Plenty do!
As the location sounds so good for you, I'd go for it.
If you can convert the garage for extra space, does it matter that the bedrooms are small?
Am also not a fan of conservatorys.
You don't need PP for a garage conversion, or building regs.
I had mine done and never regretted it.
However, if you feel this house is small now, with small rooms, I would say don't do it. Stretch yourself as far as you can - think about paying stamp duty, moving expenses etc in 5 years' time and add that to your current budget. With a 'temporary home' mindset I'm not sure that you will ever feel properly at home either..
Correcting myself - I did have building regs as it was examined and passed after completion, along with electrics etc. But I didn't need pp.
If the location is good, I would be inclined to go for it. You could be waiting forever for a four bed you liked and unfortunately in the meantime the prices are just going up (personally I wish they would flatline for several years).
Instead of a conservatory, could you look at an orangery? It had more wall to glass and is usually an all year around room.
Location sounds perfect, I would buy it and enjoy a low-maintenance, well-located house for as long as you want to live there/while you have high childcare costs. Don't sit around in rented waiting for the perfect house to come along.
I would wait for a 4 bed. You have 3 children and it sounds v small. You obviously aren't convinced, but unfortunately nobody can decide for you. Sod's law is that as soon as you complete on this house a 4 bed will come on the market.. Good luck.
I think you have to consider your immediate financial situation. You've said that you won't be earning much for the next couple of years. Perhaps it's better to go with a house you can afford more easily and that is cost to everything and then when your wages are better consider the bigger house. In the meantime if you bought the house do the bare minimum to it so you don't spend more than it might be worth in. a couple of years. This is pretty much what we've done and it's been financially a lot less stressful than if we'd had a bigger mortgage when I wasn't earning
I'm in a 4 bedroom house a mile away from schools, shops etc. it didn't seem a lot when we moved in but in all honesty it is. The dc feel far away from their friends. We live in a small place really and the children play out a lot but are too young to go roaming to the other side of town where their friends live. I regularly covet the much smaller 3 bedroom smallet rooms over all houses much closer to school etc.
The location really does sound good. You know you have the option of converting the garage and if your finances are going to be a bit stretched for the next few years and house prices creep up again you may end up regretting it if you don't put in an offer and can't afford a 4 bed by the time one you like comes up.
I would do it - live for today, you never know what might happen, you could stay there for longer in reality, time whizzes by. Affordability is everything for a decent quality of life - vs - stretching yourself and worrying.
Being able to do what you want to your own home, now, will be lovely after renting.
I'd buy it. Location is key for me.
I'd go for an orangery rather than a conservatory, or even a single story extension if you can stretch to it. Traditional conservatories often end up as junk rooms because as others have said, they're uncomfortable in hot and cold weather.
I too would seize the opportunity and enjoy the place in the next few years...rather than stressing for years about whether something better will come up and if you could afford it in the future.
[But I don't like conservatories either and they do put a lot of people off. The garden space would be better used in its entirety as a garden, having 3 children?]
I'd do a bit of evening and night time research on what the playing fields and park are like later on.
In many areas they are places for troublemakers to gather, or noisy groups of teenagers.
Regarding the house, there's nothing wrong with buying for the short term but factor in costs of moving twice, including stamp duty etc.
I think go for it. Good location etc. You can fit in although it isn't spacious. Of the market rises then you'll be on the ladder. If it falls then you might not gain equity but the gap to a 4 bed will be less.
Having a vague plan is good but I wouldn't pass up an opportunity for what might happen in five years. A bird in the hand...
Can I say if you give dcs bigger bedrooms they just fill them up with more mess
The location sounds fantastic, that, I can assure you, will provide you with a better standard of living than a bigger house or a bigger garden.
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