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Brave versus Safe? WWYD?

(41 Posts)
unavailable Fri 12-Jun-09 14:07:14

After the house we were buying was taken off the market, I thought we would have to rent as we are running out of time before we need to move. I have now seen two very different houses where the owners need a quick sale, so it could still be possible.

One is modern, needs no work ,has everything we need in the right area, but just a bit boring.

The other is has no heating, is in need of alot of work, but is in a beautiful (if impractical)location. It could really be gorgeous, but probably cause us alot of stress trying to get it that way. We would have about £40,000 left from our budget to do it up.We have never done more than paint walls ourselves before, and have no real experience of builders.

Please share with me your experiences. Did you play safe and regret it, or take on a "project" and find out it was a money pit and a nightmare?

It is likely to be our "for a very long time", if not "forever" house.

All advice welcome.Thanks

HelloBeastie Fri 12-Jun-09 14:27:17

Can I ask what your situation is with kids/work?

What I mean is, how hard will it be to be constantly waiting in for deliveries, or to let workmen in; or to keep a toddler out of a giant hole where the floorboards have been pulled up? (Ah, happy days...)

MarquesDeLeon Fri 12-Jun-09 15:05:03

I think location is the most important thing (think future resell if nothing else). You can always make the modern boring one your own. I lived in a building site for a year and it is pretty stressful not to mention time consuming.

Himbo Fri 12-Jun-09 15:19:55

We chose new build over an old wreck that needs doing up. My friend went the opposite way and told me I was mad. But dh just doesn't have the time to do diy. Nor do I have the inclination to co-ordinate everything.

Now my friend has a part-time job to cover the extra things that have cropped up on their "project" and can only do things on a month to month basis, as she gets paid, as they have managed to go through £70k (they were left an inheritance) in 2 years on building works.

unavailable Fri 12-Jun-09 16:03:22

Thanks for the replies.

We both work full time, and will be starting new jobs in a new area, which will mean we cant start taking time off as soon as we arrive. I hadnt thought of that.

I can see us sitting miserably huddled in a freezing building site of a house in the middle of winter thinking "whose bright idea was this" , but then I think about how fab it could be when its all done.

Its probably not the right time for us to take something like this on, though.

Fizzylemonade Fri 12-Jun-09 16:14:49

We had previously only ever lived in new build houses no more than a couple of years old, most we ever did was put a new kitchen in and paint.

We bought this house over 5 years ago and gutted it from top to bottom and have just finished the last room in the house. (I had a baby in the middle of it all, he is now 3)

Despite me being a sahm with a toddler it is almost impossible to get anything done in the day, even having people come in to do work means arranging for people to come out and quote for the work, then you shopping for it all even if you don't physically go and buy it your time is taken browsing catalogues and trawling through website after website.

Being in for deliveries, checking it all over, sending stuff back that is damaged etc etc,

If any of this sounds like fun then go for it, me? I want a place that needs practically nothing doing to it so that we can spend weekends having fun with the children instead of DIY etc

We totally underestimated how much time and energy it would take, we were incredibly naive. Now we can fit bathrooms, kitchens and relied on the experts for electrics etc but we would never do a whole house again.

I vote for boring grin

KathyBrown Fri 12-Jun-09 19:16:04

these things always cost 50% more than you think too.

ninah Fri 12-Jun-09 19:19:07

another vote for boring esp given the impractical location of the 'project'

wombleprincess Fri 12-Jun-09 19:24:08

have always played brave and it has always worked out ok, but I LOVE a project....

is it liveable at the moment?

unavailable Fri 12-Jun-09 19:46:46

Yes womble- just about!

lalalonglegs Fri 12-Jun-09 20:08:04

I love projects too but with both of you working full-time and never having done it before and a location you're not convinced by... I would rent.

wombleprincess Sat 13-Jun-09 10:23:57

okay so i am a bit of project queen. but i know have a little one and am going back to work full time, and the amount of stuff i still have to do on our latest project is causing my quite a lot of grief...

so unless you are committed renovation enthusiasts, perhaps think twice about the project...

Quattrocento Sat 13-Jun-09 10:29:41

Don't do the beautiful thing. Please don't.

We bought our run-down house, and started work on it 12 years ago. It was structurally sound. It has proved to be a complete money pit. Every year I set aside £15k to £20k for the next project. Every year I am afflicted with builders of varying degrees of competence. Every year I have to plan design and manage a project when I really don't have the time. I'm heartily sick of it.

My dream house is a now a featureless box without a garden. Or trees. Or bats.

Pannacotta Sat 13-Jun-09 10:36:31

Sorry but I agree with the others.
We bought a project last year and it has also turned out to be a huge money pit.
With houses that need work you often find there are hidden extra jobs which you didn't think about, in our case re-buiding the chimney, re lining the flues, renovating sash windows, fixing dodgy drains etc etc.
We have two small DSs and I am a SAHM but I still find the work takes up many hours a week dealing with tradespeople - getting quotes, keeping an eye on them, making tea, ordering things etc

wombleprincess Sat 13-Jun-09 11:10:17

quattro, panna... no glimmers of hope???

Pannacotta Sat 13-Jun-09 11:20:08

womble our house will be lovely, one day!!
I think what I was trying to say that it's easy to be seduced into picturing the wonderful final result, but that the process of getting there shoudl not be underestimated.
I do think that with young DCs and when working full time, full scale renovation is not really very practical/wise.

ToughDaddy Sat 13-Jun-09 11:23:29

was in the same situation two years ago and went for the Edwardian money pit instead of modernity. Often, I wish I had gone for the easy option but slowly, very slowly seeing light at the end of the tunnel.

good luck

Quattrocento Sat 13-Jun-09 14:20:00

I often reflect ruefully on how jolly pleased I was with myself for seeing the potential of the house.

2009 has been about redoing the bathroom and getting the back and side garden landscaped - huge jobs. Also the study and playroom both need redoing. 2010 is front and other side and drive, some of which requires planning permission and all of which requires someone who can deal with stone properly. 2011 is windows - there's exactly 30 of them including three sets of french windows ...


ToughDaddy Sat 13-Jun-09 18:54:15

Very well put Quattrocento- only do if you have the time (and money)

slackrunner Sat 13-Jun-09 19:22:33

Oh God <covers eyes>. We've just offered on another Edwardian money pit today - and I have a horrible feeling that we will be sinking stupid amounts of cash into it for some time to come.

<whispers> but I do love it.

Go frit - if you are the project mangeey type, and you don't mind living in squalor and eating a diet of potatos for the next ten years lol. We've just done up a Victorian townhouse and it is a thing of beauty. Even though we're being forced to sell, and have not made money on it, I'm glad we did it. It needed love, and now it's been restored to some of its former glory <sentimental old fool emoticon>.

Good luck with whatever you decide

ToughDaddy Sat 13-Jun-09 19:48:52

slackrunner- you are a serial offender. Just done up your Victorian and then your are off again. Did the same here. smile

Or you are possibly the person who is moving for accessibility reasons; i recall from another thread

Fizzylemonade Sat 13-Jun-09 20:36:11

You have to think about just doing one room, where are you going to stash all the stuff from that room whilst they re-plaster, then wait for the plaster to dry then give it at least 2 coats of cheap emulsion that gets sucked into the plaster then 2 coats of normal paint. Then the new floor can be laid. Do that with every room.

If it is re-wiring, the amount of dust generated is incredible and you clean up that same dust for several weeks.

Windows, doors, flooring choices, bathrooms, taps, kitchen units, worktop, tiles, appliances, garden, driveways it just goes on and on and on and the actual amount you spend is way more than you thought.

Go for time with your family rather than DIY grin and take holidays, beautiful holidays and come back to a lovely already done house grin

slackrunner Sat 13-Jun-09 20:53:27

Toughdaddy - you've got me sussed lol.

Yes - we're moving house for accessibility reasons, however I have to admit to feeling a bit of a buzz after seeing the money pit today (same road as the one we offered on a couple of weeks ago but didn't get), so I think I may have a serious property money pit addiction.

LOL at fizzylemonade. Beautiful holidays - who needs them? Borin' .

ToughDaddy Sat 13-Jun-09 21:27:16

slackrunner- my motto with houses is that there is always another one if you are patient enough so keep playing it cool.

Advice to you and unavailable is to go through the surveyors report and price everything that he mentions need fixing. Try to negotiate that off the offered price. Even in the frenzy of the boom we knocked 20k off. Now it seems like we should have knocked 200k off!

Swedes Sat 13-Jun-09 21:34:17

I've had the mellow stone rectory with the walled kitchen garden and the Edwardian town house with all orignal features. I am now on 1920s detached in a nice town with Pvcu windows. shock It is by far the nicest house I have ever lived in even though it is neither the largest nor the most beautiful. I can't really explain it but I think it's the ease and manageability - its maintenance doesn't consume us but it gives us the space and comfort we need.

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