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Would it be insane to buy a house built in 1780??

(46 Posts)
emmskie03 Tue 30-May-17 22:09:05

We are looking at a house that was built in 1780. We currently live in a new build, energy rating of c or b I would think.

Two small children, the mortgage on the new house wouldn't leave a huge amount left over.

It's lovely and has a huge garden, something you just wouldn't get here. It's been previously rated as an F. It's been on the market before and they've either pulled it or the buyers pulled out.

There's been some measures to deal with energy efficiency/damp put in place. You can see evidence of plaster coming off the walls in a couple of rooms.

I love it but I'm also a little scared of it!

Bumblebeebuzzybee Tue 30-May-17 22:13:14

I would say it depends on what 'damp measures' have been done because the modern treatments really aren't suitable long term for these properties. If you do go for it I would be advisable to enlist a surveyor who specialises in period properties, otherwise you'll end up living in a property that eats cash!

Juancornetto Tue 30-May-17 22:16:10

Last year we bought an 1800 house. Def a heart over head decision and it's already proving to be a bit of a money pit. But I bloody love it and don't begrudge a penny grin

Mysterycat23 Tue 30-May-17 22:18:59

Have you ever lived in a non new build house? Or stayed in one on holiday?

If not you would be in for a shock and are probably better off not doing it. You will find the house behaves quite differently in terms of temperature, humidity, maintenance etc. Old houses always have areas that are damp, there's no solution to get rid of it entirely. You have to be careful not to put furniture up against walls and so on. Even with the heating on full blast in winter you will always feel the walls radiating cold at you - if you're sensitive to that. If you're not sensitive to smells, draughts etc. it would be an easier transition.

outabout Tue 30-May-17 22:19:34

Life is a compromise!
It is difficult to really estimate the impact of damp and it may be for a 'serious' or 'trivial' reason so you need to get a couple of independent surveyors to look at it. Trivial being a leaky drainpipe outside or having soil against an outside wall.
The energy ratings may not be that important to you if you are usually comfortable with a 'cooler' house. Wearing a thicker shirt or thin jumper for more of the year may allow a couple of notches down on the thermostat and keep bills reasonable.

blue25 Tue 30-May-17 22:23:12

We have an old house, similar era and we love it! So much character compared to other houses we looked at. It does cost to maintain, but as long as you're aware of the issues through the survey, you'll be fine.

Lucisky Tue 30-May-17 22:24:22

I lived in a house built in 1750. I loved it, but the fabric of old buildings is a right can of worms as you are dealing with hundreds of years of diy bodges, and building/improvement work that was only up to the standards of the time it was done. I had blown lime and horsehair plaster, a dodgy sixties kitchen extension (single breeze block construction), woodworm, damp etc etc. I could never afford to do much to it, just as well really, it would have been a money pit! However the character and coziness of it made up for the faults, but, in short, the maintenance of old houses is a continuing and ongoing task all the time you live there, and can be made more complicated if it is listed.

expatinscotland Tue 30-May-17 22:26:52

No way unless it had been completely updated with new plumbing and electrics and had certificates regarding damp, or an a relatively new roof, and windows and heating. Otherwise, it's a money pit. We rented a house that was built in 1802 and I'm glad we did. We're friends with the landlords, and they have sunk tens of thousands in that place in the past 7 years. They are mortgage free because they bought the house in the mid-80s, and it's just as well because it requires a lot of upkeep.

expatinscotland Tue 30-May-17 22:28:45

Oh, it was haunted, too.

outabout Tue 30-May-17 22:50:17

You can have a relationship with an old house. Modern 'plastic boxes' would be the equivalent to a tupperware house.
Visited a just completed new build this weekend, truly awful!

DramaAlpaca Tue 30-May-17 22:52:31

I wouldn't have a problem living in a house that age, in fact I'd love it.

I'd be a lot more worried that you are saying that the mortgage wouldn't leave much left over.

IfYouGoDownToTheWoodsToday Tue 30-May-17 22:54:06

Oh that's quite modern! Ours was built in the 16th century.wink

It's a money pit but I love it. I could never ever go back to living in a modern house.

Firenight Tue 30-May-17 22:56:08

Worth getting an independent damp survey done but some element of damp will be par for the course with that age property I would think. You need to air it throughly, run the open fires and, as mentioned above, not shove furniture tight against walls to help it run as it ought.

You can't beat an old house though and I would do it.

HumphreyCobblers Tue 30-May-17 22:58:56

I would think very carefully about it.

I live in a really old house, bits of it built 500 years ago. It does need stuff doing a fair bit of the time.

We love it but I cannot deny that some bits of it are very draughty. The floors and walls are uneven and the doorways are low. DH banged his head constantly for the first six months we lived there.

Basically I think you have to want it really badly, if you are a bit wobbly then it possibly isn't for you.

CowParsleyNettle Tue 30-May-17 23:03:36

Give me an old creaky house over a new build any day!

Is it listed? We've looked at a few listed ones and that can throw up complications.

DarthMaiden Tue 30-May-17 23:22:33

My house is a bit older than that - 1730's.

It's beautiful and full of character.

Some key points however. Get a survey and by this I don't mean the basic mortgage survey.

We paid over £3k for ours and the surveyors were there for a full day, inspecting everything. We got a 200 page report.

It's a lot of money - but the thing with very old properties is that whist most issues can be fixed they can be hugely expensive to do so.

This is especially true if the building is listed as any repairs have to be done on a like for like basis using traditional tools/methods where possible.

Damp isn't necessarily a huge problem - it can normally be treated but you need to get someone specialist to look/assess/quote before you commit.

You'll face other issues down the line. For example all my windows (26 of them) are non standard sizes. Replacing them meant each one had to be hand crafted. It cost over £50k for the entire house and obviously UPVC wasn't an option (not that I wanted it). The same issue meant virtually all my window treatments were custom made. Windows were just to broad but short for ready made curtains/blinds.

Fitted rooms - kitchens specifically, can be tricky as room dimensions are again very different from modern houses so standard units often won't fit - so you either have spacing panels or, as I did get a custom kitchen made - great but pricy.

Roofs are an expensive issue if there are concerns. So you need to know how sound it is and how much "life" it has left in it.

All that said, they are wonderful places to live. The walls are really thick and sound insulation between rooms is great.

We have old big beams that look stunning and massive inglenook fireplaces that you could actually imagine Santa using!

Our energy bills are reasonable - but that's after all those new double glazed windows and having the loft properly insulated. Before that they were very large.

So back to my first point - get a great survey and then quotes for any works before you finalise any offer. You really need to understand if you can cover these overheads and appreciate the word "custom" will be one you'll end up using a lot.

CormorantDevouringTime Tue 30-May-17 23:33:24

DPs live in a two hundred year old house. It's fine, apart from a ferociously cold downstairs loo. They've had good quality wooden double glazed sash windows installed and there's not a hint of a draft. You do need to line the walls with paper though, because you'll never be able to paint straight onto the plaster, and hanging pictures so they look straight becomes more of an art than a science.

Carolinethebrave Tue 30-May-17 23:40:47

Our house is 1700s, we love it

It's stood for all these years so it's not about to fall down. Great workmanship.

The walls are really thick so it's cool in the summer. The walls are uneven but we don't mind, ditto floors. We don't have damp or woodworm, luckily.

Old houses are worth it in my view.

Badweekjustgotworse Wed 31-May-17 00:55:07

This thread is driving me barking, I'm dying to see these gorgeous old houses and no-one's posting photos!!

Firenight Wed 31-May-17 07:12:08

Badweek. I agree.

Bluntness100 Wed 31-May-17 07:21:43

Ours is about four hundred years old and listed. We love it.

We have no damp, but yes, it gets draughty downstairs due to the exposed floorboards, the size of the rooms and the Windows.

We love it as said, it's unique and I'd never lived anywhere so old before, how much work needs doing depends on what the previous owners did. I'd say if you love it then go for it, living someplace you love is one of life's joys.

TronaldDump Wed 31-May-17 07:28:16

Ours is a similar age and we wouldn't change it! Bear in mind that 'straightforward' work like a new bathroom etc can throw up all kinds of problems because of the house's quirks. Ours is listed and it's not been a huge issue so far.

I love this house, we've been able to get past records so we know what it's been used for, the names of the people who lived here 300 years ago etc. It warms my heart to think about the women before me who've loved and raised their children under this roof. (And men, of course!). Makes it easy to overlook a bit of a damp corner in the dining room!!

user1484311384 Wed 31-May-17 07:37:42

We live in a cottage built around 1700. We fell in love with it 22 years ago and still feel the same way. Do make sure you have a full structural survey, ours showed up enough issues to be able to negotiate a substantial reduction in the asking price, but the surveyor advised that some things could be dealt with over time and it was up to us how much we were prepared to live with. So we've updated as and when, now have had new central heating system including radiators, rewiring, one doorway heightened, new bathroom, new ensuite, veluxes in various rooms to improve the light. We also had to put in parking, and were lucky enough to be able to buy some extra land to increase the size of the garden. Getting older, we thought about moving a year or so ago, but couldn't find anything that we loved which was comparable to our cottage. We have a downstairs bathroom/shower room and another room downstairs which could be a bedroom, so have decided we will take our chances as we become more frail.(Hopefully a good few years in the future.) Go for it, you won't regret it, but please take note that they do require constant attention and expenditure!!!!

outabout Wed 31-May-17 07:59:54

1605 house, good size garden.
Should be for sale due to divorce.
Very sad to see it go but I can't afford it on my own.

Mothervulva Wed 31-May-17 08:04:08

I totally would, but only if I had done the full survey as Darth recommends. My house is only Edwardian, and there's things that need doing quite often.
Also want to see these lovely old houses.

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