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Buying an old house....

(25 Posts)
Strawberryshortcake40 Thu 26-Oct-17 16:04:16

In the process of buying a 200 year old cottage. Does anybody live in an older house and regrets it? Survey has come up with a few issues to sort but never having lived in a house that age I'm not sure what else I should be worrying about.

LovingLola Thu 26-Oct-17 16:05:21

Will you be able to get it insured?

Strawberryshortcake40 Thu 26-Oct-17 16:07:35

Hadn't even considered the insurance aspect. I presume the people living there have insurance. Will go check!

mimiholls Thu 26-Oct-17 16:16:07

You will be able to get it insured, 200 years isnt really that old, providing is not in a state of disrepair. Our property is late 1800s so not that old. I love period properties and don't regret it but there's always something that needs doing in terms of upkeep and it's not energy efficient at all. If you do any work to it you will probably find a whole load of other things that need doing at the same time. E.g. we knocked a wall down and ended having to replaster both rooms as the old plaster disintegrated in the process. Renovation tends to cost more if you want to match period details or style. Then again they tend to retain their value well and are desirable when you come to sell.

Lucisky Thu 26-Oct-17 16:23:29

I lived in a 250 year old cottage for 15 years. You won't have any trouble getting insurance. Is it listed? This can cause problems if you want to change anything, as you will need listed building consent.
It won't have been built with a damp proof course.
The problems I had were mostly to do with blown plaster and damp (inside) and roof and chimney stacks outside. Of course if any of the previous owners had done proper maintenance, this would not have been a problem. How well maintained is it?
Get a proper full survey, not a home buyers report, and go from there.
Oh, sorry, just seen you've had one.
I loved my cottage, had no regrets about living there, but any work done always seemed to open a can of worms, as the fabric of the building was so old, things were often uncovered that needed fixing. You will need to allow a slightly bigger pot for annual maintenance.

Strawberryshortcake40 Thu 26-Oct-17 16:27:23

It's not listed. It seems relatively well maintained but the issues that have come up on the survey are bothering me. Because I'm guessing with a timber framed building of this age it's hard to tell what other issues will be hiding!

DarthMaiden Thu 26-Oct-17 16:39:36

My house was built in the 1730’s.

I love it, but there is absolutely no denying that is more expensive to run and maintain that a modern property.

You need to get used to the word “bespoke” and come to terms with the £££ that entails.

I had to replace the windows. All of them are non standard sizes and had to be handmade. It cost nearly 50k.

Equally window dressings (curtains/blinds) had to be made or altered as ready made curtains just won’t fit.

Rooms aren’t square and everything was built to imperial measurements. So things like kitchen units don’t fit without being “padded out” or losing space unless - again - you get bespoke cabinets (which we did).

Tilling in bathrooms is labour intensive for the same reasons. Standard metric tiles don’t fit, so there a lot of work to cut to size and around uneven ceilings for example. Wallpapering is a pain as it has to be cut around beams.

On the plus side (now I have double glazing) the house stays beautifully warm in winter and cool in summer thanks to the very thick walls. However the same walls mean we have wireless repeaters through the house to get WiFi coverage!!

I’m really selling this lark aren’t I grin.

That said I wouldn’t change it. My house oozes character with large inglenook fireplaces, beams and heavy oak doors.

It’s cozy, welcoming and unique with its own “personality”.

You do though need to be realistic about costs - especially if you are expecting (like I did) to have to do significant work (new bathrooms, kitchens, rewiring, new central heating etc). Its far more expensive to do this than in a modern house and if you’re listed then what you can do is even more restrictive.

stormnigel Thu 26-Oct-17 16:54:12

We just bought a house that is apparently the second oldest coaching inn in England-built in 1480 something in some parts.
Insurance was not that bad. But any work that needs doing is a lot more than it would be in a new house due to listing and just general difficulty in working around old beams and what not. If yours isn’t listed it shouldn’t be an issue really.
I love living in somewhere with a sense of history. It’s well worth the extra bother.

RubbishMantra Thu 26-Oct-17 17:00:24

I wouldn't be put off by the age, but I'd personally be very wary of buying somewhere with a timber frame. My DSis has one, and the buyers pulled out when the survey reported the house was timber framed because their lender withdrew the mortgage offer on learning it was a timber frame construction.

MarmiteAndPB Fri 27-Oct-17 14:40:38

Echoing the "everything costs more and is more complicated" points. Ours is only Victorian, but even so we've found that what should be very simple jobs take so much longer because the house has so many "quirks". For example, the floorboards are so incredibly solid and hard to cut through that it took half a day to even get started on a supposedly simple rewiring. This does mean that our floors are good and solid, though!

But there are up sides as well - we discovered a beautiful parquet under a carpet which polished up to something we could never have afforded to put in (the restoration cost though was not inexpensive in itself...)

MarmiteAndPB Fri 27-Oct-17 14:42:44

And yes to cool in summer! Coming from a small, modern flat which would get sweltering in summer, I am in love with how cool the house is coming home from work in summertime. Expensive to heat, but no need for fans or anything!

ForgivenessIsDivine Fri 27-Oct-17 14:46:47

We have lived in a 1930's house, 1920's, 1900 and now 1750... I love this one most!! Windows, kitchen, roof and heating were all done by someone else. We had a multi skilled team do our bathroom and they were able to work around the quirks.

Strawberryshortcake40 Fri 27-Oct-17 14:56:40

Okay, sounding more positive! Pretty much all the big jobs are done I think so that's not so much of a concern. I do feel the cold badly though so will need to stock up on thermals! Presume decent lined curtains would be a good idea too?

Specialist survey and electrical survey still to be done, hopefully they will be reasonably positive

Bluntness100 Fri 27-Oct-17 15:05:16

Meh, mines listed, timber framed and about 400years old. No issue with the frame, it’s structurallh sound, no one even mentioned rhe dact it was timber framed, no issues with Insurance or mortgage.

Anyways downsides

Drafty in winter and hard to heat
Total money pit as we finding things to do, which are admittedly aesthetic


It’s unique,
Big rooms.
Chocolate box pretty
Period features.

I love older properties, everything was made to such a higher standard inc rhe quality of the materials used. I’d go for it..every house has issues, even new builds, the question is are they just normal stuff and the surveyor protecting themselves or is it a significant issue.

thecatsthecats Fri 27-Oct-17 15:09:53

My parents place is 400 years old, but the 400 year old bits aren't the problem - the electricity put in about twenty years ago is.

It's gorgeous, honestly stunning, but I can see a minimum of £100k needing to be spent to update the electrics, modernise the kitchen and bathroom, and various other sundry works.

IvorHughJarrs Fri 27-Oct-17 15:13:53

Ours is also Victorian and I would second the costs more but it is worth every penny as it is solid and beautiful

macshoto Fri 27-Oct-17 16:14:28

Yes, we have a much adapted farmhouse from the 1830's. Non-square walls, sloping floors, lime plaster and all. It's great.

A really useful resource is the Period Property Forum -

Definitely go there for guidance on damp issues and the like.

Caprinihahahaha Fri 27-Oct-17 16:21:37

Yes to earlier points - everything is more expensive and complicated
Ours is 1840s but it's very large so everything costs a lot . We had to replace a door from the hall to the kitchen and the whole thing had to be specially made because it was both huge and wonky
A couple of the fireplaces need replacing and that's going to cost a bit

Totally worth it though

carelessproffessional Fri 27-Oct-17 18:08:19

350 years old, timber frame, wooden windows here. Adore my house. Its stunnning, a money pit but perfect!

scaryteacher Sat 28-Oct-17 09:34:42

My UK house is 1830s, and I love it, thick walls, stays warm in winter, and it breathes, so not sweltering like the renovated 1920/30s house we rented abroad which was so over insulated. Now we rent a 1750s personage, with thick walls, beams and terracotta (tomette) tiling for flooring. It may cost to heat, but has character, charm, is quiet, and if I could take it back to the UK with me when we move back, I would.

Myview2 Sat 28-Oct-17 09:45:53

We moved from a brand new house (first owners and moved after 3 years) to a house that was built in the very early 1900s. I had similar reservations over running costs especially as this is much bigger than our old house but it had recently had a new boiler and heating installed. Our gas and electric costs us only £30 a month more which is amazing, we pay less than my parents who live in a modem bungalow. I imagine it will cost more when we need to replace sash windows etc but we don't have one regret. We have more space, loads of character and none of the draughts or bills we worried about. Go for it!

MrsMarigold Sat 28-Oct-17 09:50:20

Ours is Victorian but has had very few owners and little maintenance, I think it was a commune at one point. It is a money pit, at least once every few months something goes wrong. It is also freezing (you get used to it, but visitors always need to borrow jumpers etc) and it isn't exactly a comfortable house. But I love it.

ChishandFips33 Sun 29-Oct-17 09:17:52

Always lived in old houses - love the character of them

Harder to heat but the warm lighting and throws you have strewn round add a cosines!

The wonkyness adds more character and you don't worry so much about things being 'perfect' so much

Just make sure you love it as that's where your money will go

Note3 Sun 29-Oct-17 11:09:39

We had a victorian house with a cellar growing up. Freezing and endless money pit. Ongoing issue with wet rot on ground floor and awful damp in cellar. Ended up having to fix cellar with a permanently open vent which then chilled rest of house.

Some of the issues were caused by double glazing and cavity wall insulating the property as these older houses were built to breathe not be sealed.

Stunning and enormous house but expensive and quite miserable for us. Appreciate other people would not feel as negative about the issues though. I prefer more of a 50s/60s style as it provides room and storage without as many issues in my experience

Newmummy332 Sun 29-Oct-17 14:26:44

Echo what others have said about one job leading to ten. We have a 150 year old station house and I wouldn't change it for a modern house at all. It's much larger, I love the period details,and the history. To me new builds seem boring and devoid of character. I much prefer a house with history. The only issues we have had are similar to note3 with builders not understanding period properties and their need to breathe rather than be sealed. If you need a builder find one with experience of period properties. Good luck.

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