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House that needs work or finished house?

(45 Posts)
Squiffy01 Sat 23-Sep-17 20:10:07

Hi all,

First time buyer here and we just don't know what to do. We have found two houses that we like.

1.3 bedroom. Finished and to a nice standard couple of things we would like to change but nice. Top of budget (if we can get them down slightly which we think we can). Garden backs on to train tracks lots of trees can't decide if this is good or bad. They have cut the third bedroom out on first floor to do stairs and gone in the loft so can't get any bigger.

2nd house is ok but would want to change a lot, we liked position and that it has potential and just the feel. It is cheaper which means we wouldn't have to use all our deposit money and could keep some back to extend downstairs and do kitchen. Bigger garden (even when extended). No time in the near future as we couldn't afford it - we could do a loft extension.

So does anyone know what it is like extending in London? Is it more hassle than it's worth? How do you even go about finding a good builder ( no one we know have ever used one).
We won't need more than three beds just like that we could have more add more value when we eventually sell.

So my question is are we being silly thinking about taking on a project for first house buy when we have no idea about anything can't even decide what we would want to do we are not designers AT ALL.
Should we just go with the really nice house and live a stress free life?

Sorry for the novel. Any thoughts greatly welcome.

mooneypie Sat 23-Sep-17 20:20:26

I would go for the project 100%. It is in a nicer position,you get a feeling from it and it has a bigger garden. 3 hugely important things for me. Is it liveable with as it is? Bonus that it's cheaper, but I wouldn't go into it expecting to make money by dong an extension

JoJoSM2 Sat 23-Sep-17 21:33:41

I'd go with a project. You'll be able to get it right for you. And if you intend to stay in the property, there's no rush and you could wait until you've saved up. I would actually expect to make money by extending in London as every sq m is expensive here.

When it comes to the ready house, how close are the train tracks? It could be a nuisance. Will you see them when the trees are bare in winter? You'd also need to make sure that the done up house is actually done up and not just clean with a nice feel. Sometimes people fall for a house and only when they see it empty do they realise they need new carpets, the electrics is too old with too few sockets, there's crumbling plaster under the lining paper etc and it turns into a money pit.

Squiffy01 Sat 23-Sep-17 21:35:20

Thanks mooneypie even though it's cheaper mortgage will be about the same just because we wouldn't be putting all of our deposit into it.
It is liveable now, not to our taste and would like it bigger but it is perfectly functional.
So would have time to plan what we want/ research and not just jump straight in.
I don't really expect to make money. I think we can add value to the property but not more than we are putting into I wouldn't have thought. I just like the fact there is room to move and the other one we would be reliant on the market to hold property value which with everything happening at the moment may not happen.

Alicetherabbit Sun 24-Sep-17 07:24:42

Project project! Everytime for me, well for the two houses I've owned. One in London where we did do an extension, got builders in all very straight forward. Did everything else internally ourselves except bathroom. Electrics and plastering. It's hard work, but so much more worthwhile. Currently doing a huge renovation, will be specialists in for some of it.

user1499786242 Sun 24-Sep-17 07:30:04

Project 100%

GETTINGLIKEMYMOTHER Sun 24-Sep-17 07:37:45

If the project house is liveable for now, why not? You will be able to do it the way YOU want, even if you have to wait a while.
A dd and SiL bought a project house - very dated decor and on the small side downstairs - but it had other big plus factors. They had to wait to do their extension, still on a tight budget, and yes, it was a pain while it was being done, but it's lovely and has transformed the house completely.

GETTINGLIKEMYMOTHER Sun 24-Sep-17 07:43:47

Just to add re finding builders if you need to, , I would ask any neighbours who've had extensions/loft conversions, whether they'd recommend whoever did theirs. And check them out on any websites you can find, including the Federation of Master Builders.

Ploppie4 Sun 24-Sep-17 07:48:42

Project. Location and long term potential important.

AJPTaylor Sun 24-Sep-17 07:54:10

it depends on you.
ask yourselves really and honestly whether you can cope with building work. be really realistic about the costs involved. builders are hard to find and building costs are increasing.
no one can answer for you but be really honest with yourselves.

Ploppie4 Sun 24-Sep-17 07:55:57

Also you need to be ok about living in something that needs work. I would be fine but others wouldn't.

Also consider longevity. Would you need to move again with house A? What about house B? Moving in itself is s huge expense!!

Ploppie4 Sun 24-Sep-17 07:56:53

I moved recently and the whole move cost 20k

KoolKoala07 Sun 24-Sep-17 07:58:34

Always buy the worst house on the best street!
You can change most things about a house but you cannot change its location.

LoveNunxxx Sun 24-Sep-17 08:00:21

i would be extremely cautious, even tight fisted old us ended up spending much more than we intended on our extension, 20k more.

TableMirror Sun 24-Sep-17 08:02:11

Needs work every time! I've never viewed a house that isn't a project, although only one was so bad as to be uninhabitable.

I always feel a bit gutted looking at a finished house, I love a bit of work.

OhOhDearling Sun 24-Sep-17 08:05:01

I would go for the "project" but not bother with the extension, just redo the kitchen as soon as you can afford it. As IMO there's no point going through the hassle and expense of major building work for something that's not going to massively benefit you, other than gambling on it adding more value to the house than it costs. Whereas a lovely new kitchen is something you will benefit from immediately.

CanIBuffalo Sun 24-Sep-17 08:07:29

Stand in the garden when a train goes past. How many per hour? Is it near a station where you might get trains stopping and waiting next to your garden? Are the trees deciduous?

notheretoargue Sun 24-Sep-17 08:12:33

We bought a project as our first time buy. Never again. I had no idea how much hassle it would be. We had to move out to do the renovations (unbearably expensive in London) and still don't have the money to finish everything off. It took a huge toll on my work, because I had to spend to much time sorting things out and arranging short term childcare for our rental location. We both say that if we ever move again, we will happily pay the premium for a house that needs no major work doing to it.

Allthebubbles Sun 24-Sep-17 08:13:59

Whose land are the trees on? A friend lived by a railway line with lots of trees as a screen but on the railway side and they all got cut down about 6 months after she moved in. It completely changed the feel of the garden.
I would go for the project.

Joinourclub Sun 24-Sep-17 08:30:38

You know yourselves and how you like to spend your time. Projects are time consuming, lots of decisions need to be made, time spent wandering around paint stores and carpet showrooms, getting quotes for builders, trying to get a cheaper one, trying to do things on a budget, coming home after work and sanding the woodwork for hours every night for weeks or paying somebody 3 grand to do it, trying to choose between 20 different shades of white, having a heart attack at the cost of kitchen taps, having to put up with the grotty bathroom for a few more years as you've run out of money after the kitchen, a never ending list of things to do.

Personally I'd rather move into somewhere 'done' and spend my weekends and evenings relaxing and enjoying myself.

sandgrown Sun 24-Sep-17 08:37:26

We bought a "project" as it was all we could afford. Both not good at DIY so employed professionals for all but decorating. Not finished 17 years later! Never wanted a new house but would consider it now.

Wheelycote Sun 24-Sep-17 08:39:59

I bought the house that needs work.

Wish I'd bought the house already done.

The cost is still the same. It's just whether you want to make it how u want it.

I'll repeat, wish I'd bought a house already done

CanIBuffalo Sun 24-Sep-17 08:40:33

Having lived in a project for the last 16 years and it's still not finished, Join's description rings true.
But I woke up this morning from a really vivid dream where we'd moved house only to find that there was a railway line and busy road in the back garden and part of the house belonged to the neighbour. She had her 'solicitor's' letter on Thomas the Tank Engine notepaper though, so I was sceptical about that.
When I woke up, I was so glad to be in my unfinished project with its big, quiet garden.smile

WhatwouldOliviaPopedo Sun 24-Sep-17 08:51:12

We're two weeks away from moving into a project, also in London. Like you, we could've paid full whack for a house already finished but as soon as we saw this place I knew it was right for us. It needs a new kitchen (including knocking down walls and reconfiguring), new bathroom, flooring and decor throughout, but we do have a big budget to do it all at once and that's something I suggest you consider above anything else. Would you be happy to live in the do-up for months and possibly years in the state it's in if you can only afford to get, say, the kitchen done? I know I couldn't, so having the budget was convinced us. Then again, this is our forever home so you might not mind as much if you're planning to sell it on at some point.

If you do decide to go ahead, there may well be a neighbourhood Facebook page or local website where you can get recommendations for builders/contractors (try Mumsnet Local too) from neighbours. There are lots of great house magazines available to inspire you re: design and I also got loads of ideas from Pinterest.

Squiffy01 Sun 24-Sep-17 09:21:59

Thanks all.
Even after all that advice still just don't know. There are pros and cons for everything!
allthebubbles that is a good point re trees. I don't think they are on 'our' land and wouldn't be great if they were moved, as you say it would change the entire feel of everything.
With either house we wouldn't need to move any time soon. It is good for my work now and transport is good for future jobs. Good for DH.
There is room when we decide to have children. So it will be a forever home unless we decide to move back to home country, which obviously if we are buying a house we wouldn't do for some time.

I think what scares me most is budget. Everyone I've spoken to says they have always gone over budget on any sort of home works. And we just aren't in a position to do that. Is it generally builders under quoting or more the end design and fixtures we would pick that would send us over? Obviously we can just change what we pick but if it is builders that don't give accurate quotes then we can't change that and we will be in a bad place.

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