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WWYD? House needing renovation or complete conversion

(6 Posts)
racmac Tue 04-Aug-09 07:37:20

We are stuck between 2 choices.

Choice 1 - Large house with big garden needs complete modernisation - needs new roof, new kitchen, new bathroom, new windows etc - top end of our budget at £250k In a village in nice area.

Choice 2 - a RAF billet with 2.3 acres of land with full permission to convert to 3 bed property - the shell is in place. In countryside with town not too far. We would have to live in a caravan on site till completed. Well within budget - £185k for land and then extras for conversion

We are at a quandry - our own property has sold and is proceeding but we havent seen any other properties.

Any advice/ comments?

frostyfingers Tue 04-Aug-09 10:10:50

It really depends on your circumstances I'd say. Do you have children, how old are they? Have you done it before?

Choice 1 - is it liveable while the work goes on, if not where will you be? Does it all have to be done at once, or can you do bit by bit? If you're not on site you need to check the builders every day..... If you're living there, it can be a nightmare with children - we did a kitchen including tearing down walls and ate outside all summer (2006 and it was dry), cooking in a microwave only. It was a nightmare, but we got away with it. The following year we did some more wall removing (filthy, noisy and scary), new floors and new bathrooms. It is really hard work to keep your sanity whilst chaos (and dust and noisy builders) reign. Does the £250k include the renovation costs - you'd need to be very careful you don't go over and have a large contingency, there are always hidden nasties. Will it be your perfect home when it's done - and what will the value be - ie will it be a good investment?

Choice 2 - How long will it take, are you prepared to live in a caravan over a cold, wet winter......I've never done it this way, but have said that if we do another renovation, I'd rather be off site than try and live around the mess, but it would have to be after the dc's have gone (3 boys) as we'd drive each other mad. Do you like the plans or do they need changing? Again, what will finished value be?

I've no idea which I'd choose, these are just some of the questions we've asked ourselves previously. The idea of living in a caravan does not appeal, but then living on a building site is pretty grim too. If you do the caravan route, get as big a one as you can, make sure it's situated somewhere on dry/hard ground. I think you need to go with your gut feeling and then work on that property to make it as least stressful as possible. Have you done a similar thing before - it's really hard work, but very satisfying.

Not much help really, but food for thought I hope!

missingtheaction Tue 04-Aug-09 10:17:33

I assume by 'haven't seen any other houses' you mean 'we want a doer-upper and these are the only two we can find' and not 'we want a house and these are the only two we can find'.

If you are up for a big project AND up for handling 2.3 acres long term AND like the location i would go for the shell - more scope to customise it to what you want, you know you will be in a caravan etc etc.

but if you are just looking for a nice house then go into rented!

racmac Tue 04-Aug-09 15:20:17

Thanks both of you.

We havent seen any other houses that fit the bill - ie bit of space round them , preferably rural.

We would live in choice 1 and do the work as we went when money became available.

Choice 2 - we would get a caravan and put on the site whilst the work was being done.

We have 3 lo's - they are 8, 3 & 2 so could be quite hard work whilst being in a caravan!

No we have never taken on anything like this before but dh is a groundworker/civil engineer so does have some knowledge and contacts.

GrendelsMum Tue 04-Aug-09 16:26:19

Frosty speaks the truth.

When you say, complete modernisation, though, what do you actually mean?

There's a massive difference between not having a kitchen and having a very old fashioned kitchen which you'd like to replace when time and finances allow.

There's also a massive difference between building works where you have 80% of the house fine, and 20% out of action, which I'm perfectly happy with, and building works where you have 90% of the house unusuable, either because there are builders in the room or because you have had to move the furniture from some rooms into other rooms. We're currently at 40% of house unusable, which is starting to get depressing.

New kitchen units = 1 - 2 weeks with no kitchen. Not really a problem if you've planned well in advance. Rest of house slightly dusty and has kitchen furniture in.

New bathroom suite = 1 - 2 weeks with no bathroom. Fine if you can wash somewhere else.

New windows = dust everywhere, I should think! Never tried this, but wouldn't be surprised if you have to box up / cover everything in the room.

New electrical works = dust everywhere

New central heating system = dust everywhere

New roof = no idea, but guess it involves a lot of dust...

To be honest, the problem I'd say is that you don't know it will affect you emotionally. I don't mind building works, DH finds them very stressful and genuinely upsetting. This means I'm then stressed on his behalf. If one of you hates building works, it will make the rest of the family miserable. They key thing is having somewhere to retreat to which feels normal.

Also, with three DCs, do you really have the time to manage building works as well?

HerHonesty Tue 04-Aug-09 18:18:28

both sound a tricky on your budget, tbh, have you really investigated the costs?

caravan with three kids.... are you really prepared for this

and can you do what you need to do in the 250k house given it is top of budget..

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