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Buying a fixer-upper(21 Posts)
Would you consider buying a fixer-upper at this time of the year?
I’ve seen another property that’s in a great location. Garden okay size but the house needs renovating throughout. A bit of paint and carpet could make it temporarily liveable but not for too long.
I wonder whether buying a house that needs lots of work being done to it is a sensible thing going into the cold, dark months.
We moved into a house with broken, single glazed windows (eighteen huge ones) last December. We managed to run out of oil as we didn't realise how much the aga would get through, and spent over a week with no heating except for open fires. To be honest, it was quite good fun - we spent a lot of time huddled in front of fires under duvets! The windows have just been replaced (should have been done in April!) so the coming winter should be warmer. You'll be fine!
Depends what you mean by “renovating throughout”. I completed on my fixer upper purchase on July 31st. I’ve already ripped up all old carpets, laminate and floor tiles; had a boiler and central heating system fitted; filled, sanded, primed and painted all the rooms; had parquet and wooden flooring laid in living room, bedrooms and hallway; fitted skirting boards; replaced all internal doors; ripped out the kitchen and bathroom and removed wall tiles ready for new kitchen and bathroom ordered and booked to go in from mid-September onwards - and I have a full time job and have been doing this evenings and some weekend days where I didn’t have social plans.
Provided you’re motivated, a good project manager, can do a bit of the grunt work yourself and can get good contacts to get all your trades done, it needn’t take months and unless you’re replacing the roof or windows (which you probably wouldn’t want to do in winter) I don’t see why the season should make a lot of difference.
By the time you complete it'll be summer anyway
I started process just before lockdown and completed last week. Summer is preferable for sure, but if there is a house worth buying now, I'd go for it.
We moved into our renovation project on Friday and the architect came on Monday. We have downsized to here and bought it as a project so are fortunate that we have the resources to start asap.
We are surrounded by boxes, woodchip and bodged DIY but loving the idea of making a house in an ideal location into an ideal home.
We bought ours last September, lived in it as it was - green and orange carpets and all! - while getting extension drawings done, organising quotes, dealing with building control etc. Were ready to go in spring and dug the extension foundations then lockdown happened.
We finally moved out for the major (re-wiring, plumbing, moving soil stack etc) uninhabitable works and are hoping to get back in for the anniversary of our purchase!
Obvs would have been much quicker without Covid (and a toddler in the mix!) but TBH I think living in it for a couple of months added value to our renovation. We realised that the reality of how we live in this house is slightly different than we imagined (e.g. we use the front door more than we expected given parking is at the back - we know where our nosey ndns are now and can factor in a bit more privacy! Etc etc)
Even with some shonky knackered double glazing it was still cosy last winter and I even got used to having baths instead of trying to wrestle with the world's worst shower It'll be worth the wait, I'm sure.
So basically - if it's the right house then don't be afraid to go for it and live in it for a bit if you don't want to renovate through the winter. Good luck!
I’m probably going to be doing my fixer upper for the next 5 winters.
I think it’s just one of those things you have to be prepared to face. Timescales don’t always go to plan anyway.
Yes- we have bought one and likely move in this month! Our offer was accepted 3mths ago. Chain free on all parts, but mainly due to delays on the other side, and 'covid' be called up, we've had delays. We thought we'd have the completion early Aug, but hoping its done next week. The gas boiler is dead, along with the broken, single glazed windows and the water not been on for years.
We plan to live in a caravan or do up the garage and live in that whilst renovations are done to the main house. If the property hasnt been lived in for 2yrs, you can claim some of the renovations at a reduced VAT rate apparently.
Just make sure the boiler works, or you know a crack team of plumbers who will arrive at the drop of a hat. Other than that I’d choose it every time.
My 2p worth on a fixer-upper: we moved into a house that's definitely in that realm 5 years ago, and we've done a lot of thinking. Our original plans have changed almost entirely as we've lived in it through the seasons, and every little thing we've done ended up being well thought out and well-executed - without the expense of diving in and paying teams of little men to do all the jobs for us.
So if you've got the time to sit and think about a project and get it right - go for it, and good luck!
I would second living in it for at least the winter (if it can be warm and bathrooms and kitchens more or less function) as it will completely change what you want to do with the house. I have just had to do one up before living in it and it is great but there are (luckily only) small things that I would have done differently if I had lived in it first. Depending on what you need to do (e.g. full re-wire, plumb, plastering) you might need to move out anyway... and it would be better to do this in the spring so you could plan to be in again before next winter. I always buy fixer uppers!
It's fine as long as you won't be totally without water or heat for months on end. I like doing indoor stuff in the winter, as I don't get tempted away by more fun things outdoors!
We did most of our house over 18 months with 2 under 3's. It was fine, and so worth it financially. We got loads of things from ebay/gumtree/builders excess materials sites.
I bought a fixer upper in August and lived through renovations in winter. I've never been so miserable. It was cold, nowhere was safe or cozy, we had mice... 13 months on and the bloody place is still only 1/3 finished. I'm miserable here. I might have felt different if this was a nice house, but as it is, it's just a small terraced house. Bah humbug.
It's always more expensive than you think and takes much much longer .
If it takes too long you get used to bare floorboards and bare plaster and it can get a bit depressing.
It's important to keep up momentum with the jobs and to try and avoid leaving things half finished when something more interesting comes along.
It's worth it to get the house you want though. But it is pretty stressful and depressing at times.
That’s my worry. Doing it bit by bit might be demoralising vs just getting it over and done with in one go.
I hope you're not looking at the same house as us 🙂
Does your post code start with an E?
I would do it! As long as the boiler works and you have one half liveable room it will be good fun! I've promised myself with our next fixer upper I'll make sure the bedrooms are sorted first. How exciting!
We bought a 4 bed Edwardian fixer- upper last June that literally needed everything doing.
We had a very limited amount of money to spend, which has now long gone.
We have already had:
The leaking roof fixed
Rewire of plug sockets up and downstairs
Upstairs plumbed in as there was no water supply upstairs at all when we moved in.
A knock through done between the front 2 recep rooms and insulation laid under the floorboards.
New PVC piipework laid to replace the old lead stuff.
2 new sash windows in the kids room and playroom
Hallway stripped and plastered
3 new radiators fitted, more to be done
New boiler fitted and relocated
Front 2 rooms plastered and decorated.. we did all the decorating.. the smaller room needs doing again though as lost a load of the new plaster off the wall when the new window was fitted.
OH is pretty handy and has rebuilt our front wall and laid a new patio.
It sounds like loads has been done but it still looks like a dusty mess as most of the work isn't 'pretty'.. the behind the scenes stuff obviously needs to be done first.
I absolutely love the house and it will be beautiful, but it's going to take a long time and hatd graft.
You have to be in it for the long haul unless you have endless pots of cash to pay to have things done.
I get down about the mess and chaos, but try to keep focused on the end game.
Biggest piece of advice:get one room done that you can shut the door on the mess and relax.
Think of it as a difficult pregnancy as you forget about all that when you have your beautiful finished result! So worth going through.