I'm just trying to work out where to draw the line in terms of how much work I'd be prepared to do/have done on a house. I'm talking family home, not developing for profit. Can anyone recommend some reading which may help me build a realistic picture of what is involved in different jobs, help sort priorities and how to go about building a realistic budget. I'm thinking of houses that are very tired, badly wired, heated, insulated etc, rather than seriously unsound.
A lot of it is down to personality and your family circumstances, though. I have a very high tolerance for building work so long as I have a couple of rooms to retreat to, but DH finds it quite stressful and upsetting. Managing the building works is time consuming, and, realistically, if you're not there all the time things will get done in a way that wasn't quite what you wanted. (i.e. builder has to make sudden decision, if you're there you can be asked, if you're not there, he will have to do what seems sensible to him.) I've gone down to working 4 days a week and doing a lot of work from home in order to run things smoothly.
One thing you have to remember is that things will go wrong, builders will overrun, and that new problems that you hadn't expected will be found. e.g. central heating suddenly packs up, unexpected wall is damp. You do have to plan for all this.
However, there's a point at which so much needs doing that it makes no odds - e.g. our dining room needs all the plaster taking off to fix the damp, but hey, the plastering was really badly done anyway, and that's a great opportunity to have the electrics fixed
We're about 3 months in to what will probably about 3-4 years of building works (as I want to live in the house while it gets done, so we can't have too many rooms out of order at once), and so far I'm still chirpy. But it may not last...
Do you have a property in mind? If so, I would get a builder to look at it, then either ask them for reccs for jobs that need doing, as opposed to nice to have, then at least you have somewhere to start your library search.
Hi NigellaT - no property in mind. Am just starting from a position of complete ignorance and would like to decide whether I have the skills, patience, funds, time etc to take on a bit of a wreck - or whether I should only consider properties that can just be slowly redecorated to taste.