House project with 2 kids - 3yo and 10week old(10 Posts)
So we have just viewed a house that needs a complete overhaul. Looks like the owner hasn't done any updating for 50 years and has smoked heavily in it.
DH is convinced that it is a good investment once it has all been done up but we would literally be buying for our maximum budget leaving no choice but to live there whilst doing it up. We could potentially stay with a family member for a month to get the worst of the tar off the walls and ceilings and to get a new kitchen bathroom put in but I'm not convinced.
I did this with a four month old. I fell in love with the house and it would be the only way we could afford it.
Don't underestimate the time that it'll take to do with you living in it though. It could easily take years if, like us, you need to save up for each new piece of work. We're six years in. Down to just the living room and hall/landing needing work though.
However, I think it's perfectly do able and definitely worth it. If you can live like that.
We are six months into ours. Don;t have the smoking issue though, and I would definitely get that sorted before moving in. Does it not need rewiring as well? New boiler etc? Get all that done before you move in if so.
Overall, it depends on your ability to live in chaos and motivation to do DIY in the evenings/weekends when you could be doing something better like sleeping. I like DIY and I have enjoyed designing everything exactly the way I want it. I'm glad we didn't pay over the odds for someone else's taste. Thankfully baby #2 is a good sleeper or it would have been a lot harder.
Thanks, I am a bit more optimistic after hearing your experiences. I was thinking that people would come on here and tell me don't do it!!
Yes Tremolo needs everything doing!! Talking about gutting it and starting from scratch.
Hi OP. I totally understand the lure of the project! We are now 4 years into ours. A farmhouse built in 1780, extended in 1820. It was 'uninhabitable' when we got it, and it is barely habitable now. We have a 1 yr old and expecting DC2 in late Oct. OH is an engineer, builder & electrician, and we are doing it all ourselves with a fair bit of renovation experience. It needed everything; new roof, new windows, walls incl. load bearing walls, new floors, damp proof. We had no heating, no hot water, no kitchen or bathroom for a long time. It is hard without kids, it is obviously much harder with them! It obviously depends on your resources because the longer you live with it the more used to it you get, but it does grind you down. I am pretty resiliant and very 'handy' but it has knocked the stuffing out of me more times than I care to remember.
My advice would be to concentrate on a few rooms. If you can get basic amenities and a half decent bedroom to shut yourself in at night to forget the chaos then it will make your life much easier. Make a plan and write it down, but expect to unearth more unseen horrors once you start really poking around. The older the house the more horrors you are likely to uncover. And decide what you're doing it for; it makes an enormous difference if you're hoping to make profit, or you see this as your forever home and therefor you're not necessarily thinking of the resale value.
And most of all be absolutely certain about your decision. That means both of you. My OH was in love with our place, and I wasn't certain. In all honesty it has been a big challenge for our relationship as a result. We are getting through it, but it's the hardest and most painful, stressful and expensive thing we have ever done.
Have you done anything like this before?
Thanks Cornish for your detailed reply. We would be doing a lot of the work ourselves too which means it will take a while.
We have always been in rented and so this is the biggest thing we have done (apart from having DC).
It would be a long term house but not forever home as I ideally want to move out of town and into a village.
I think I am just worrying about living in a mess. I have been actively de littering for the past year and finally starting to feel great about our minimalist living...the thought of all the dust and mess leaves me feeling very uneasy!
Well the dirt & mess is a bit unavoidable. You'll probably have plenty of dinners that taste of nothing but plaster dust. But if you can concentrate on a few rooms first you can create some dirt-free spaces and in my experience that makes a huge difference. Your morale is critical when you are living in a project and working on it at the same time.
I know you said you'd be buying up to your limit, but is there any way you could stretch to a static caravan? It's not glamorous but it might just save your sanity!
I agree it depends on your motivation, your DIY ability and your resources. Ours wasn't quite so bad but an old lady had lived here. It was so outdated, awful bathroom / kitchen, wood chip everywhere. We had 4 yr old twins and a 9 month old. And due to unexpected big expense in between exchange and completion, no money. We did it / are doing it very slowly - only emergency was ripping up carpets and changing worktop in kitchen. We've been here 6 years and we've only just started the extension we aimed to start within a year of moving in. Life has a way of changing the goal posts.
For me, it felt for a long time like living in someone else's house. I was also embarrassed about it - didn't really invite people round (didn't want them to see the half finished jobs / the mess / think this was my taste) play dates were awkward as we had a few small / separate rooms downstairs. I hadn't really considered the impact it would have on our social lives. Everything takes so much longer with children and we've found that most things cost more than you anticipate.
I would do it again in a heartbeat because the house has given us so much in terms of our overall lives - fab schools, lovely neighbours, roots (it will be our "almost forever" house) and one day the house itself will be lovely too, and there is no way we'd have been able to afford a better house than this one. FWIW, this has been a brilliant investment - it's gone up about 50% in value in 6 years without us having done very much to it at all.
Just don't underestimate how big a challenge it will be for a long time. Good luck!
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