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Renovation of a 3 bed - considering a "doer-upper" without much clue what we are doing

(8 Posts)
errithinkso Fri 04-Dec-15 13:42:45

We are considering buying a house that needs a lot of work.
We are in a city. A house in our ideal area is just out of our price range. There are occasional houses on the market nearby which are in slightly less desirable area and many have been long term rentals which have got quite run down.

There is a house currently for sale that is a fairly small 3 bed terrace set over 3 floors. It looks mouldy/dirty, wallpaper falling off walls etc, very very tatty. It is currently 4 bed with a shower room built out back of kitchen. We'd lose an upstairs room to have a bathroom. We'd have about £50k to work with and would try to get the work done before moving in. DH could strip rooms out but beyond that would pay for the work to be done.

I think it would need
- (non supporting wall) between hallway and kitchen knocked down to try create some dining space
- a new kitchen - (fairly small about 10'4 x10 including table space)
- bathroom installed in bedroom upstairs (currently bedroom 4)
- small downstairs shower room cleared & plumbed for kitchen appliances
- re-plastering whole house
- new wooden flooring downstairs (about 200sq foot)
- re-wiring

(At a later point new PVC windows)

This type of house typically goes at an open day at or over the asking price. We'd have to guess at the work, assume that as no damp problem is declared its a ventilation issue or similar damp/mouldy patches. A full survey would highlight any damp issues and allow us to withdraw at that point.

Does it sound like we are vaguely on the right lines re doing this within £50k. ARe we making a huge error to consider this without knowing what we are doing? What problems could crop up after buying that we haven't though of?

Grateful to anyone who has take the time to read!!

Quodlibet Fri 04-Dec-15 16:03:17

That sounds reasonably do-able to me, providing that the survey doesn't reveal some awful mess. It would depend on the spec you were going for, but if you were able to do at least some of the decorating yourselves and weren't going for top-of-the-range, why not? I'd be trying to work out a project budget of £40k with £10k contingency if I were you, as houses are bloody money pits and once you run out of money things grind to a complete halt. If you can chuck a load of money at it and get professionals in to overhaul lots of it in one go, it's much easier than trying to live in it and do bit-by-bit IMO.

Kitchen and bathroom you could do inside of £15k if you got a reasonable builder and cheap-ish units. I've just priced up my similar sized kitchen on and units come to about £3k. Plus £2.5k for fitting/replastering and taking down a non-supporting wall which was my builder's quote. So allow maybe £7k inc new appliances.

Depending how shoddy the extension is, it might not be too much extra to have that sorted at the same time as the kitchen. £1k?

We had wallpaper falling off the walls when we bought ours, and some mystery damp patches which cleared up once the house was being heated again, so they can be not too threatening. But definitely pay for full structural survey.

Replastering here in London is c £400/room but you might get a better price for a big job.

Rewire - £2.5k?

Wooden flooring costs almost as much to lay as it does to buy (£25 sq/m to lay, £25-35sqm to buy) but it's not rocket science to lay. If you got someone to help you out you might save a reasonable amount there.

Would you need to build in carpeting for upstairs? That's approx £400/room plus fitting cost.

You might even get the windows - or at least some of them - inside that budget I reckon.

Other thing to think about: new boiler/central heating overhaul. New boiler = £1800.

When you view, try to gauge how much of the house's condition is down to general worn-out disrepair, and how much bodge-jobbing has been done. Clearing up someone else's bodge jobs can be expensive and annoying, but if your approach is to strip right back to basics it might be fine.

Sunny777 Fri 04-Dec-15 16:05:05

i guess 50k is gud enough budget for this work. unless you go for super high end stuff.

errithinkso Fri 04-Dec-15 18:58:59

This is really encouraging. The idea makes me so nervous and i expected to be told the budget is unrealistic. But DH is quite enthusiastic.

Interesting re flooring. DH thinks he could lay it himself but I thought he was being a bit ambitious.

I think we'll be happy with fairly low budget finishes. We had one of Wickes cheapest kitchens before but with nice worktops/tiles etc and thought it looked good. We're not fancy.

Yes, need to factor in the heating. Thanks.

I have a fear of some hidden horrors, no idea what.

Marmitelover55 Fri 04-Dec-15 19:51:39

Would building regs allow you to take out wall between hall and kitchen? It might be fine but I'm not sure.

BasinHaircut Sat 05-Dec-15 07:54:52

Definitely plan to spend £40k with a £10k contingency! We are doing £20k worth of work here (in a doer upper) and have already found 2 fairly serious issues that have cost us an unforeseen £3k.

The problem is that even a survey is limited and sometimes you have to start work before you come across a problem.

What I would say though is don't necessarily write off a property because of damp, as most of the time it is easily fixed and not as expensive as you might think.

If you are concerned about damp I can recommend a damp specialist who will do an additional damp survey for a couple of hundred quid. Someone recommended him on here to me and he has been grEat. He is totally independent so will not try to sell you unnecessary chemical injections and the like.

Moving15 Sat 05-Dec-15 19:10:16

Which city are you in?

errithinkso Sat 05-Dec-15 20:16:30


Yes I've been reading and realise damp isn't disastrous.

We're having second thoughts re the street now. We need to find somewhere soon so trying to keep an open mind. Open house not for another week.

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