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Victorian properties ! how much do they really cost

(34 Posts)
stressedFTB33 Tue 05-Apr-16 15:37:01

Hi all ,
Ftb here every property we have liked so far seems to be a victorian one.
However we have no idea about fixing anything as a landlord has always done it for us .
Is it really naive and stupid to buy a victorian property as a ftb with no experience ?
My heart tells me yes but my brain tells me hell no !
Any advice from current victorian house owners is much appreciated !

Pipbin Tue 05-Apr-16 15:42:10

I lived in a Victorian terrace for 10 years.
I never spent a penny on maintaining it, however that was because I was skint.
The property was damp and poorly heated but I simply didn't have the money to fix it. The plaster was coming off the walls but again I don't really have the money to get that fixed either.
It very much depends on the house and what the previous owners have had done.

MrsNuckyT Tue 05-Apr-16 15:43:58

I've had two Victorian Houses. They are sturdily built from good quality materials. Of course things go wrong like with any house, but I genuinely don't think it is more than modern houses and quite possibly less (sometimes I think very new houses are quite flimsy!!). You can't beat room size and ceiling height!

namechangedtoday15 Tue 05-Apr-16 15:59:42

I think Victorian houses are expensive to maintain and heat. As a FTB, I'd want to have enough of a pot / enough left over per month to keep on top of it all.

They definitely cost more to heat as the rooms are often of bigger proportions and have poor insulation (in comparison to new, modern homes). Often they are single glazed too. But thats the pay off usually for having such a lovely period house.

catbasilio Tue 05-Apr-16 16:25:28

I owned a Victorian house for nearly 6 years. It was relatively dry (i.e. not damp) but I always had a long list of works that needed doing. Plaster coming off, boarded chimneys, rotting joists, slug invasion, old wiring etc. Most things estimated to cost in thousands. I couldn't lay proper flat flooring without replacing the old, wonky joists. I couldn't repaint without replastering. There was a constant musty smell coming through the floorboards - I spent 00s on water survey and there was nothing wrong, just a "typical" old house smell according to the surveyor.
It was a beautiful house though.
I am now in a boxy 1960 town house where nothing needs doing. I can afford a better lifestyle.
I would love another period home but it would have to be completely renovated which comes at price.

wonkylegs Tue 05-Apr-16 16:29:17

Over 20% of the housing stock in the UK is victorian or older and its condition and how much it'll cost you to buy and maintain is very variable. Some is in very good condition, has been looked after and has had various improvements that make them energy efficient, modernised etc and others are in dire need of TLC but this equally applies to housing stock of different ages.
You need to look at each house on its individual merits and evaluate that - and that applies whatever age house you buy.
Our last house was a 1910 terrace house which had modern central heating, insulation, electrics, double glazing and no damp - it had wonderful big rooms and great details but modern kitchen and bathrooms - it was energy efficient and generally a fab house (drawbacks - yard no garden and no off street parking).
Our current house is a 1870 semi and we bought it knowing it needed and budgeting for a big renovation, which now we have done has made it energy efficient (so cosy) and has all the mod cons, yet still has its quirkiness (and wonky floors) - yes it cost lots of money but we knew we had to spend it and had budgeted accordingly (with a contingency which we didn't need and have therefore spent on some nice touches).
We've not got damp here either as we cleaned the air bricks and put adequate ventilation in the bathrooms.
I tend to find that people find that houses are money pits because they naively think that they will never have to spend on them - any house old or new will need work and you need to put this into your costs from the beginning.
My mums 8year old Charles church new build is a terrible money pit - it's already needed new rads (rusted through), new front door, has had problems with gutters, conservatory and windows and needs new kitchen and bathrooms and is not particularly efficient to run - frankly it's a pile of shite that would surprise me if it's still standing in 50yrs let alone 150!
So yes it could be a money pit or it could be a lovely house - look at each house with a critical eye and work out what you need to do and go from there.

IlPorcupinoNilSodomyEst Tue 05-Apr-16 16:32:14

This is our second Victorian house - you only really realise how big the rooms are and how high the ceilings are when you start painting ... A week later you're still at it! Yes they cost quite a bit to heat, and there's always something on the to-do list, but I love the space, and the history of all the lives that have been lived here.

stressedFTB33 Tue 05-Apr-16 16:48:00

Thank you all for your answers
We have a second viewing on the one we liked . It looks like it has been taken care of but you never know whats hidden behind mirrors and rugs .
What do tou think we should look at more closely the second time?

JT05 Tue 05-Apr-16 16:48:18

After living and completely doing up in two Victorian houses, 1860 and 1897 we moved to a 1960s house and lived there for 27 years.
Today we left and are buying a 1920 house with character. Our hearts sing!

We know all the problems that there might be, but the character is all important.

Ours is 1906, I think. It definitely costs more to heat than a more modern house, and never feels entirely warm in winter, even with the heating on full whack. Other than that, I don't think it's any more expensive to maintain than any other house would be. I'd hate to live in a modern house - I prefer character.

lalalonglegs Tue 05-Apr-16 17:31:21

wonky is only 20% of housing stock Victorian or older? I would have said it was more like 50 or 60% if I had to guess blush.

I agree with what PPs have said about damp being a persistent problem and they are hard to insulate effectively. I suppose it depends if you are buying one that needs work or has been renovated and subsequently looked after. I don't like the narrow corridor you get from the front door in most Victorian houses either but that's not really a maintenance problem.

Kirjava Tue 05-Apr-16 17:43:28

I've lived in victorian/edwardian terraces most of my life, but never had serious problems.

We've spent a far whack on our current house (built 1906) renovating/extending it, but most of that didn't NEED doing, but we wanted to do to make it nice for us. Refurbishing our original sash windows cost about £4k and made a big difference in keeping draughts out. That's probably the only job we have HAD to do.

Condensation is a pain in the arse on single glazing and probably my only bug bear with our house (we've got the original victorian glass so didn't want to put double glazed timber sashes in). My heart breaks when I see a lovely period property with ugly UPVC windows sad

We keep our house at about 18/19 degrees so don't spend a fortune on heating (I like a cooler house so not keeping it at that temp for financial reasons).

Get a full survey done to make sure there isn't damp, roof problems etc. You'd be taking a risk to buy any house without one of those though.

I wouldn't want to live in anything other than Victorian properties tbh - I love the character, room sizes and they are incredibly well built.

wonkylegs Tue 05-Apr-16 18:08:59

Lala - according to the english housing stock survey in 2008
pre 1919 housing was 21.4%which was the second largest sector, I thought it was more but I suspect that that's just because I live in the NE where we have lots of victorian relics.

IlPorcupinoNilSodomyEst Tue 05-Apr-16 19:00:33

Definitely have a full survey (and prepare for it to sound horrendous)

IlPorcupinoNilSodomyEst Tue 05-Apr-16 19:01:59

Sorry, it will send horrendous but probably won't be too bad upon closer inspection - they always mention damp proofing, roof etc.

wowfudge Tue 05-Apr-16 19:05:44

I think it really does depend on the type of Victorian house. My first house was a 'miner's cottage' - i.e. a northern two up two down with nothing in terms of original features as they weren't built with any! It did have great room dimensions though. Being a mid terrace it wasn't expensive or difficult to heat.

Lived there for a long time.

ZenNudist Tue 05-Apr-16 19:12:27

I live in a 1901 semi. It's lovely. It has cost us money to renovate but that's just because we wanted the place nice and we have done it 'right' rather than bodge it. So rewiring, re plaster , insulation in a cold room, new kitchen, it's work done over 10 years, I don't know if a newer house would have been cheaper.

I much prefer older houses. I hat the boxy small new builds. I hate the crappy use of space (town houses, multiple unnecessary bathrooms, no storage, at least in ones in my price range!) everyone says how nice my house is when they walk in. I will admit that the rooms are
Smaller than you'd think for a big house but that's a quirk if this property.

peggyundercrackers Tue 05-Apr-16 19:19:23

We have lived in a Victorian house for the last 7 years and other than the work we done when we moved in we haven't spent a penny on it. Heating it can be more costly but its not horrendous, we find once ours is warmed up it keeps the heat more. We would buy another house like this if we had to rather TNS move to a new house.

NewLife4Me Tue 05-Apr-16 19:24:11

We have one victorian and one Edwardian, they both need constant maintenance and if we hadn't been prepared to do most of it ourselves we'd be broke now.

ChablisTyrant Tue 05-Apr-16 19:29:29

If I were going to visit again then I would take a close look at each window. Will any need replacing because that it £1k each? I'd also think about whether walls or chimneys have been taken down or bashed about without proper support. Finally the standard old house things: boiler, happy with radiator locations, does the lighting circuit have an earth, etc...

Moving15 Tue 05-Apr-16 19:47:05

If it's a big house, you will struggle. If it's a smaller house you will learn without too much expense.

I am in my second Victorian house and you have to work with them rather than against them.

Solutions to annoying problems can be cheap. For example, a friend of mine has replaced a single storey roof in her kitchen because she thought it was leaking. It turns out the damp was condensation. All needed to do was crack the window and leave it that way for ventilation.

On the other hand, problems can be very expensive to resolve. For example my dad discovered dry rot in his bay when replacing windows. He had to replace masses of structural timbers to resolve that one.

I love old houses, we are very comfortable in ours, it is enormous compared to modern houses. But we don't mind wearing an extra jumper, learning to do some work ourselves or working with wonky walls, floors and ceilings.

Go with your heart!

stressedFTB33 Tue 05-Apr-16 19:47:17

There are no chimneys and no fireplaces in the house it looks "modern" inside and i think the windows have neen replaced with upbc sash ones . It looked freshly painted and i didnt smell any sort of damp . But its massive at least compare to the most recent build ones that we can afford so i am guessing it will be difficult to heat
When you enter the floor on the corrodor is quite squikey is wooden floors

wowfudge Tue 05-Apr-16 21:54:59

Things like carpets and curtains with thermal linings can make a big difference to keeping droughts at bay and making the place warmer. Shutting interior doors is also effective. There are lots of things you can do to make it easier to heat/keep heat in. Some cheap, some expensive.

wowfudge Tue 05-Apr-16 21:59:28

Draughts obviously

peggyundercrackers Wed 06-Apr-16 07:15:51

Houses should,not be difficult to heat as long as they have a sufficient amount of radiators and a boiler big enoug to satisfy demand. There is a formula that you can use to specify how many radiators or what size of radiators a room needs to be heated sufficiently. Heating really isn't that bad either unless you are trying to heat a house with a massive number of rooms that have no floor coverings, single glazed Windows, no curtains and no loft insulation.

If there are no fireplaces have they been bricked over? Is the chimneys still there? Have they been removed?

I wouldn't worry about upvc sash Windows, lots of people put them in because they are cheaper than a replacement wooden sash window and they are relatively maintenance free.

Squeaky floorboards are absolutely normal, put talc powder on them and it will stop them squeaking for a bit

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