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how do you estimate cost of work needed on a property you're thinking of buying?

(16 Posts)
MamaChris Sat 02-Aug-08 16:09:46

We've seen a house we'd like to buy, but it needs some general updating work. All either of us have ever done before is decorative. This needs new windows, new boiler, loft/cavity wall insulation, repairs to drainpipes, re-plastering in places, ultimately a small extension to add downstairs toilet and utility room.

We are keen to cost it as we are choosing between two houses, one recently renovated and this cheaper one that needs work. We want the cheaper one but only if it will still be cheaper after we do the work! How do we go about getting guide costs when we can't ask builders to come out and quote? I'm sure this is the kind of thing someone must have put on the web, but am failing to persuade google to find such a place today Any tips please?

zippitippitoes Sat 02-Aug-08 16:12:21

it would be quite normal to view the property with a builder

GrapefruitMoon Sat 02-Aug-08 16:13:03

Why can't you ask builders to quote?? No reason why the sellers shouldn't let them in to do a quote...

amner Sat 02-Aug-08 16:14:36

You need a builder to give you a quote.

Could be £75K.(this is what we have just spent (excluding decoration) on new boiler, electrics etc. It was very basic and impossible to live in before the work.

Although obviously this depends on the size of the house.

LIZS Sat 02-Aug-08 16:17:59

Focus in what needs doing rather than what you would like to do (ie. extension)which could be as much as you make it. Replacing our guttering front and back was over £800. Quote for windows (4 bed plus attic) recently was 11.5k You may be able to get a grant for some of the insulation and boiler costs. A surveyor or builder could give you an idea but you could consult the planning department as to whether any extension is feasible.

MamaChris Sat 02-Aug-08 16:23:29

Thanks for costs LIZS. We're focusing on what would be needed to make cheap house comparable to expensive house. Extension is optional, but the rest definitely needed. Will try and contact builders to ask one to give me a quote. Only problem is we're moving to another part of the country. Anyone recommend any builders in Cambridgeshire? [cheeky grin emoticon]

MamaChris Sat 02-Aug-08 17:19:31

amner - how big is your house? hoping we don't need rewiring, as imagine this is one of the most costly jobs. How much is a new boiler for a 3/4 bed house?

amner Sat 02-Aug-08 23:17:45

5 bed, 3 storey, victorian stone house.

Paid about £20 k to plumber, but he replumbed whole house as it was in such a state and fitted a funky all singing all dancing new boiler. This did include some bathroom work and some expensive character radiators.

The estate agent should be able to point you to some builders in the new area. Thats how it worked for us anyway.

Oh... and dont under estimate how stressfull the whole process is especially with a family. Sorry dont mean to put a dampner on it. Good luck !

TheQueenIsDead Sat 02-Aug-08 23:29:15

I think Sarah Beeny wrote a book giving guide prices for all kinds of building work. You might be able to find it online.

lalalonglegs Sun 03-Aug-08 12:33:45

Beeny book not very useful - I was given a copy. It hurts me to say so as I love Property Ladder.

I think a lot of it will depend where you live and how busy your preferred builder is. It also depends on the finish/spec: for example, we had all the windows replaced when we bought our place with new wooden, double-glazed sashes that match originals on other houses in the street. Cost £9k but would have been about a third of that to stick in uPVC. We put in a Worcester boiler and Megaflo system but could have put in much cheaper (although much less reliable option) etc.

To be honest, what you are proposing doesn't sound massive amounts of work BUT, if you haven't done similar before, there could well be lots of hidden things that you had no idea might need attention. If you can't get a builder round - and they can be a bit tricky about this sort of thing - then get a proper survey from an independent surveyor and ask him/her to give you idea of costs.

GBR Sun 03-Aug-08 12:38:25

And don't forget to add about 50% to the quotes to get an idea of the final budge (bitter experience emoticon)!

noddyholder Sun 03-Aug-08 12:40:57

It depends on where you are in the country quality of materials and builders used finish required etc.Get a quote I can do this by eye now as have been doing it so long and am not a builder so am sure a local builder could give you a fairly accurate quote.

MamaChris Sun 03-Aug-08 14:37:58

thanks - hadn't realised surveyors could give any idea on costs - doh - what a good idea

Fizzylemonade Mon 04-Aug-08 15:53:16

MamaChris - as you are choosing between two houses you need to ask yourself whether it is worth the hassle of having the work done too.

I only say this because we went from having houses that were only a couple of years old and only having to put a new kitchen in to completely gutting a house from top to bottom.

Will you be living in it while the work is done? For us we have decided to have wood flooring put down in our lounge and dining room. As they flow into one another we now need to work out where the hell we are going to move all the furniture to!! hmm

Will you be able to be there whilst the work is being done? Sometimes decisions need to be made on the spot. I am a sahm so it was easy for me.

From what you have mentioned, plastering per room is a few hundred quid, new Worcester Bosch combi boiler cost us £2500 and we had valves put on our radiators and cold water tank removed in 3 bed house, windows are thousands and thousands just for UPVC, insulation I don't know about.

Like Lalalonglegs says it's the hidden stuff!

There was always a reason I bought recently renovated properties was because I could move in, slap some paint on the walls and it would be mine grin

If you are to renovate, hopefully you can get it done in one big job so that you have the disruption early on and then enjoy it.

willali Tue 05-Aug-08 08:49:42

You've also got to consider whether the work you do will actually add value in today's market - if the numbers don't actually add up then is it really worth it to go through all the hassle and stress of doing all the work when you can take advantage of someone else having done the work in a falling market. Having undergone 2 big projects over the years I can guarantee it will take twice as long and cost twice as much as any person will tell you at the outset and there will be points at which you will regret ever having started the job! I personally think the days of Beeny like developments /renovations are on the wane as they simply do not make financial sense any more...

MamaChris Tue 05-Aug-08 17:03:32

thanks. we're not thinking of complete renovation (moving walls or rewiring or anything), but new windows/drainpipes/boiler would be essential. extension is optional and we're thinking about cost only really to compare to expensive house down the road that already has one.

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