Whether to buy flat in v bad condition(13 Posts)
I've been flathunting for a while now. Divorced, 2 DC. Currently still living in marital home which now belongs to XH. (He bought me out, so I have a biggish chunk of equity as a deposit for a new place).
Anyway, I viewed a flat yesterday which was well within my budget. The seller said it needed some redecorating as her grandparents previously lived there. The layout and location was great. However, the place would need extensive renovations - rewiring, new bathroom, new kitchen, new floors, stripping off layers of ancient wallpaper etc etc. I've got a handyman friend who could do some of it.
However, I worry about costs possibly spiralling and just the general hassle of all the work.. My head says it would still be a good deal but my heart sinks at the thought of it ...I'm really bad at imagining how nice it could look if totally redone.
So my question is: Should I buy the flat or not?
If you have the cash leftover to get the work done, or if you have the time to diy, then go for it.
I bought a flat that needs gutting and re doing from scratch and don't regret it. It's a labour of love and is taking a long time, but compare it to what I could have bought finished to a high standard and I have done well.
I have an old house conversion flat and am reconfiguring the internal layout to create an extra bedroom (going from 2 to 3 bedrooms, have a large separate kitchen and living room, have a hallway rather than all rooms connecting from the living room. In comparison I could have bought a 1 bed finished flat in a block with no scope to extend or improve.
Don't underestimate the time it takes - I've been here 8 years and can see the end in sight another 5 years down the line (paying for it with savings rather than borrowing so it's taking a long time) but it's worth it.
We once bought a house that was a doer upper. We lived in it while it was being done. Never again.
The problem with places that need doing up is that often you think one thing needs doing and when you start the job it reveals more things that are wrong, so it takes longer and costs more.
Also, if it is a flat the improvement works will impact on the neighbours so you will need to get them on your side.
I would also get an extensive survey done to make sure there aren't some serious (expensive) problems that need dealing with such as dry rot, woodworm, deathwatch beetle etc. (Voice of bitter experience).
The issue with flats is that you may also need permission for changes from the freeholder and external changes such as windows are handled communally. There are also standards for sound insulation which you would use but neighbours might not have yet upgraded to.
Windows are only handled communally if that is the terms of your lease. I manage my own windows. I am first floor and everything other than roof is my responsibility.
The windows are the only thing that doesn't need renewing, as they were replaced in the whole block of flats a few years ago. Nothing structural either as far as I could tell. Just all the interior decoration.
As another poster said, you have to go into it knowing that every time you do something you will uncover something else that needs doing. It will be long and annoying and you will get decision fatigue.
Personally doing it again I would only if I had a large chunk of the renovation budget up front and could get the electrics plumbing kitchen bathroom most decoration done before I'd move in. I found doing it over years a real drain on my sanity!
Unless you love it walk away. The work will take twice as long and be twice as expensive as you plan. You risk falling out with neighbours who you will then be stuck with due to noise/dust/builders parking etc. There will definitely be more problems revealed after you start stripping everything back no matter how good your survey. You couldn't live there while the working was being done. Nightmare!
The only that that would be particularly bothersome on your list is the rewire -
assuming the rest is aesthetic only and nothing else.
I'm the sort of person who can live with nasty wallpaper etc. if it's saving money on buying (esp. for a good location) and I know I'll be in house for a long time and do it eventually. Are you?
If it's structurally sound I'd go for it. Assuming you have a reasonable ex you will be able have your DC sleep at his during the height of the disruptive stuff like bathroom and kitchen fitting.
Once you have the wiring, kitchen and bathroom sorted - decoration will only take as long as you want it to take.
And also you can go for a neutral finish of cream or white in every room to get it nice to live in. Then take time to decorate as you wish, as that is the stuff that can take time to work out what you want.
I have just had some minor reno work done. It has taken 40% more £ and 2x the time. At every stage we uncovered issues that needed rectifying. My builder has been great and it was still really stressful. Far more stressful than I thought it would be TBH.
A PP mentioned the 'decision fatigue' and I totally got that! What size spaces do you want between the tiles, what do you want going on the doors, what height do you want the shelves at etc etc etc
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