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Which house would you go for?

(29 Posts)
ACatCalledFang Wed 12-Apr-17 10:19:04

Bit of a dilemma here: we've had an offer accepted on House 1 (some way over asking price and close to our max budget but pretty much our perfect house) but the owners are no longer in a position to proceed as they lost the property they are buying (which it took them a year to find). House 2 has just come on the market and we're planning to view it asap. Plan B had been to move into rented accommodation as we are proceeding with sale of our flat (but only at survey stage).

House 1

1940s semi.
Quiet tree-lined road.
4-bed (loft conversion). 1 v small bedroom, 3 doubles.
Bathroom, en-suite, downstairs loo, tiny utility.
Really good-size eat-in kitchen with rear extension.
Good size garden.
Would want to decorate, no plans for major works.

House 2

1930s semi.
Busier road (bus route) but still quiet and residential. Nearer shops and station but not by much.
3-bed. 3rd bedroom is tiny. We'd want to convert loft and would probably put in en-suite.
Kitchen is separate from dining room and we'd want to knock a wall down.
Not a "project" - looks in good decorative order - but we'd want to make changes.
No downstairs loo or utility.
Big, beautiful garden.
About £45k cheaper than our offered price for House 1 but suspect we would have to go over asking price.

What would you do? Hold out for the "done" house or go for the one we'd have to do stuff to?

How much hassle would a loft conversion and removal of a downstairs wall be?

wowfudge Wed 12-Apr-17 10:37:47

I'd stick with 1. It's a good time for your vendors to find another place and with your offer accepted, they should be out finding somewhere else or considering renting to keep the chain together.

Bluntness100 Wed 12-Apr-17 10:42:21

I'd also stick with option 1. Could you even do all the work you want for the price differential and make it good , plus factor in the hassle factor.

BonnesVacances Wed 12-Apr-17 10:52:50

House 1. Unless you're in a particular hurry, I can't see why you can't still buy the one you are already buying.

ACatCalledFang Wed 12-Apr-17 10:54:53

Vendors refuse to consider renting so if we want House 1, we have to consider a rental ourselves. Took them a year to find a house to offer on before they put theirs on the market so am not convinced of the odds of them finding somewhere any time soon!

I reckon we could probably get a loft conversion done for around £50k (SE) but had another look at the floor plan and doubt we could remove that wall after all as the wall between sitting and dining room has already been removed. So I think it would be a choice between extending the rear (assuming that was possible) or doing the loft, and waiting a few years (when we would have some money) to start the other.

It's the hassle factor I'm concerned about but House 2 is in such a good location it seems daft not to consider it.

ACatCalledFang Wed 12-Apr-17 10:55:36

Also, going into rental with a toddler and a cat is really not my idea of fun.....

ACatCalledFang Wed 12-Apr-17 10:56:30

....but I think we might have to in order to keep our own sale.

Saraleejunkie Wed 12-Apr-17 11:44:19

I would go and see house 2. It's very different seeing houses in person. If you really like it then I would come up with a price that enables you to do what you want to make it as good as house 1. Offer that price. But only if it is as good as or better for the same price (after taking into account renovation costs) as house 1.

SwedishEdith Wed 12-Apr-17 11:52:14

I'd definitely go and see 2 as well. And let vendors of house 1 know. They sound like they may be "difficult" to deal with but know you're keen on their house.

ACatCalledFang Thu 13-Apr-17 12:12:21

We've now got an appointment to see house 2 this weekend. So we'll see how that goes.

My concern is that if we wait for the vendors of house 1 to be ready to proceed, we could be waiting months, as I get the impression they're looking for something quite specific. And they can afford to be complacent because they had multiple offers on their house and it went to sealed bids, so I doubt they're worried about losing us as buyers.

LizzieMacQueen Thu 13-Apr-17 13:32:04

Why can't they go into rented ? Has that been suggested?

ACatCalledFang Thu 13-Apr-17 20:10:27

It's not can't, it's won't! As I mentioned, they had six other offers and it went to sealed bids so they're not especially bothered about keeping us as buyers. The house is the sort which doesn't come on the market that often and is in a great location. The question is whether we offer on something else in the hope that we can avoid having to rent - these people could be ready to proceed next week or it could be months down the line.

namechangedtoday15 Thu 13-Apr-17 20:35:22

Think you're in a difficult position. It sounds to me that there is no way you can get House 2 to the size / layout of House 1 with £45k. I also wouldn't want to be on a busy road / directly on a bus route.

However, you have to consider that House 1 may decide there's just nothing they like on the market 3 /6/12 months down the line and pull out. If you've sold and moved into rented, and house prices are rising in your area, it might be financially disadvantageous.

PunjanaTea Thu 13-Apr-17 20:39:44

I'd be tempted to write house 1 off to be honest the vendors don't sound like they're in a particular hurry to move, are they doing anything at all to try and save the sale.

Are these the only two houses in your price range?

Bearbehind Thu 13-Apr-17 20:45:14

From what you've said, house 1 isn't an option because it's not actually for sale as it stands.

JennyHolzersGhost Thu 13-Apr-17 20:52:58

How many bedrooms do you actually need and how much time would you need to expand ? That's a vital factor.

JennyHolzersGhost Thu 13-Apr-17 20:53:20

And I wouldn't trust sketchy vendors tbh.

ACatCalledFang Thu 13-Apr-17 20:59:10

PunjanaTea, they're not the only houses in the town in budget but they're literally the only houses for sale in that part of town. And it's the sort of town where anything decent is selling quickly. We'd already decided we'd rather rent for six months than buy something we're not completely happy with, but it's a mess.

You're right that we couldn't get House 2 to the same standard as House 1 for the money. But we could do some of the work now and the rest in a few years when we have more money (expecting a policy to mature which would cover a decent chunk of an extension).

That's also our concern, namechanged15, that the vendors of House 1 could potentially just turn round and decide not to sell after all several months down the line. Hence why we're still looking! Oh, for the Scottish system....

SkiBike007 Thu 13-Apr-17 21:03:56

Our neighbours were a house 1 couple and sold it several times with in days of going on the market but in the end took nearly 3yrs to move as what they wanted didn't come on the market oftern.
I would write off house 1. Also consider whether you will lose your mortgage offer as they only last 6mths? I think?

ACatCalledFang Thu 13-Apr-17 21:04:04

At the moment, we need two bedrooms as a minimum, three for preference - we have one DC but a spare room is important for us as family are not local and visit regularly (fortnightly family childcare, we're very lucky grin). So a spare room would be used a lot.

Ideally we want a four-bed so we can have a study, and/or a room for a second DC if we have one. But we could certainly live with House 2 space-wise as it stands for a couple of years.

And yes, we're very aware that nobody is under any obligation at this stage - the vendors have been honest about how long it took them to find something suitable to offer on, but it's totally possible they could turn round and decide they're not moving after all.

namechangedtoday15 Thu 13-Apr-17 21:21:54

The other thing to bear in mind, having bought something rather like House 2 (although it probably needed more doing to it) with 4 year old twins and a 9 month old, is how hard it is to do all the work with little child free time and usually dwindling resources.

ACatCalledFang Sun 16-Apr-17 09:23:12

An update: we saw House 2 yesterday and I'm torn!

Positives: It is a very nice house, garden is wonderful, location is better in many ways than House 1. We could live with it as it is for a while, and it has lots of original features (30s semi).

Downsides: the 3rd bedroom is the tiniest I've ever seen, and the kitchen is small. We would definitely want to extend.

Turns out the vendors have applied for planning permission for an extension to switch the bathroom and 3rd bedroom upstairs and expand the 3rd bedroom, convert the existing kitchen to a loo and utility, and extend at the rear to make a bigger kitchen and snug. They have apparently been quoted £40k for this, which sounds conservative (£1880 per square metre).

Adding 20% onto this, the only difference between this and House 1 when complete, for the money, would be the lack of a study/tiny 4th bedroom and en-suite.

Vendors have apparently offered on a house but so have others: if they don't get it, they will extend and not sell. They've only had the house less than two years but I think it's a space issue.

So the question is: do we want to do work? (I think ultimately it could be a better buy than House 1 in some ways because of the garden and location.) And do we want to put in an offer just to see what happens, ie we like the house but wouldn't be devastated if the vendors decide not to sell after all?

NoSquirrels Sun 16-Apr-17 09:35:50

Sounds as if you have 2 houses where the vendors may or may not sell, and so you might as well put in an offer on House 2 (& keep House 1 in the mix) if the estate agents are OK with that.

purpleporpoise Sun 16-Apr-17 09:45:31

This happened to my friend. The vendors took that long to find somewhere that when they did the house prices had gone up.
My friend had to pay another 12k for the house or they'd put it back on the market. Again it was extremely popular area, and they'd have had no problem getting another buyer so she had to pay it.
I'm going back about 12 years so before the crash, but do see if you can protect yourself against this if you're in an area of booming prices

BonnesVacances Sun 16-Apr-17 10:41:00

Our house has a rear extension and some of it was hived off to make a small study. You don't need a big room for a computer desk and filing cabinet. But I notice you're not gaining an extra bedroom from the work.

Maybe the snug could be an office/ spare room instead. Especially if the existing kitchen will have a loo. With a good architect maybe you could get the things you wanted from house 2.

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