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To want to sell my old money pit house

22 replies

Nettlebread · 13/01/2024 17:51

Looking for some advice please dear mumsnetters! NC. 

I currently own a large old house, single, no children. I bought it with my ex 3 years ago, we’d planned to raise a family here and we did a large renovation on it with the idea we’d be here at least 10-15 years. After we broke up 2 years ago i bought him out so it’s now solely in my name (all fine at the time as i had a large salary). Unfortunately i’ve since had to drop my hours at work due to chronic illness. I’ve always had lodgers and realistically i’m now only able to keep paying everything because of lodgers with my new reduced income. I don’t plan to increase my hours for a while, if at all, due to health. 

I’m mid thirties and definitely tiring of living with lodgers. Alongside this, as it’s an old house, it constantly seems like there’s costly repairs - as an example, i had to spend a few thousand over the last year due to unforeseen repairs, and i’ve now been hit again with an unforeseen costly repair. I now have very little savings and every time i feel i’m building back up, i’m hit with another bill. I now don’t have any savings and as someone who used to have a large amount pre house this terrifies me! 

I’m getting tired of living with lodgers, but also tired of the constant maintenance here. Between the renovation and now with a reduced income, I don’t have much disposable income and i feel like i can’t just enjoy things such as going on holiday as i can’t afford it and haven’t been able to since before i bought the house - almost everything has been poured into it.  

I’m therefore wondering if it’s a good idea to sell up and downsize. I’m not sure what to do as i was very lucky to be able to buy this house when i did in the area that it’s in, and i’m scared of losing this asset, but also of being priced out of an area i’ve really grown to love although it’s definitely not an area i want to stay in long term. If i were to sell, i wouldn’t be able to afford to live here, even in a flat as it’s v v expensive so would have to look at options, none of which are very appealing. The flip side is, that the house has become a massive millstone around my neck and i’m not really happy here anymore. It’s a big house, the heating bills are ridiculous, and i feel like i’m just rattling around. I’d definitely prefer somewhere smaller and more manageable and it would definitely match my lifestyle more (quite minimalist and low impact living etc).

I’ve had some estate agents around, who have given me an idea of what it would currently get - the area is a property hotspot so it’s sort of its own bubble WRT sales etc. 

I have built up a lot of equity (or i think it’s a lot? - 50%). 1.5 years left on mortgage and increased rates do concern me slightly (it would be doable but only just about). I’m aware if i keep it at least in the short term it’s likely to lose some value too.

TIA x 

YABU - keep the asset! 
YANBU - downsize and enjoy life! 

OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?

109 votes. Final results.

You are being unreasonable
You are NOT being unreasonable
Richie23 · 13/01/2024 18:03

I mean you aren’t happy there and if it’s a money pit then waiting another year etc isn’t going to do you any good.
You can always put it on the market and see what interest you get. You don’t have to actually sell to anyone if none of the offers are high enough, but at least you’re taking a step. Then you’ll know exactly how much you have to find a new place that you’ll love and enjoy being in.

PauliesWalnuts · 13/01/2024 18:08

I can’t advise you what to do but I can tell you that I’m in a similar situation and I will be downsizing for a less stressful life and more disposable income.

Inherited a house when parent died, needed a huge amount of work just to make it habitable, so it’s had a rewire and new central heating etc but only a basic kitchen and bathroom. Three beds, conservation area, high council tax at £225pm with single person’s discount, and there’s just me. I’ve made the decision to declutter in Jan, paint the last room to do in Feb, and then get it valued and possibly on the market by Easter.

I do like living here but it needs new windows throughout, and a re-render and external paint job. That would cost me thousands, I’m only on a public sector salary, and like you, after 8 years of living here I’ve had enough with the frugal life. At age 50 I’ve been to four funerals of peers in the last 12 months and had a cancer scare in Dec, so now it’s time to free up some equity, downsize, and rebalance my life.

Tel12 · 13/01/2024 18:11

Your circumstances have changed, seems like it's time to move on

Notthisone · 13/01/2024 18:13

There is no point staying somewhere that you are not happy.
Do you have any idea where you might go? Have you looked at properties that would be in your budget and have you explored what mortgage you would be able to get with your reduced hours?
These are both things you should explore before making a decision.
When you say you have 1.5 years left I assume that you mean of a fixed term mortgage if you only have 50% equity.

MagpiePi · 13/01/2024 18:14

I wish I had your drive @PauliesWalnuts ! I’m in a similar position, but have an overwhelming amount of decluttering to do.
I think making sure the estate agent prices to reflect the state of the property will be important, and for them to communicate this to potential buyers so you don’t get ridiculously low offers.

WhereIsMyLight · 13/01/2024 18:14

You like the area at the minute but don’t see yourself living there long term, so does it matter if you’re priced out of the area?

Hreywallsa · 13/01/2024 18:14

Def sell up!

SkaneTos · 13/01/2024 18:17

Sell and downsize!

Don't let a house run your life.

LondonQueen · 13/01/2024 18:18

Sell up and move to somewhere you can afford.

Gassylady · 13/01/2024 18:20

Move and get rid of the worry and hassle. I think for many people there comes a time where living with housemates/lodgers loses its appeal big time too

velvetstars · 13/01/2024 18:24

Could you rent it out so the bills are covered by the tennants and rent a small flat nearby which you cover from your salary. That way you keep the asset but free yourself up a little in the short/medium term?

Saz12 · 13/01/2024 18:24

Find out for certain what you could afford if you sold - what type of property in areas you like. Go look at some.

It sounds like your current home is beautiful, but doesnt work for you - council tax, mortgage, maintenance, heating (which is only for a few months, so calculate it for the year), together with increased col and reduced earnings.

itsmyp4rty · 13/01/2024 18:28

Yes, I want to do the same.

PauliesWalnuts · 13/01/2024 21:31

It’s only because I’ve reached the end of my tether with council tax taking up 10% of my take home salary @MagpiePi ! Plus I have some kind of slug ingress in the kitchen which I can’t get to the bottom of unless I rip the kitchen out (which I am not going to do).

Non resident boyfriend is away for a month so I have weekends free to declutter. Not all will be thrown, some stuff that I will keep is in the “loft” pile, but I just want a simpler, less expensive life. That’s what driving me if I’m honest.

Nettlebread · 13/01/2024 21:34

Thanks so much everyone, lots of food for thought and good advice. I considered renting out but it seems to also bring its own headaches, and i’d still need to pay for repairs and additional maintenance from tenants. So probably not for me. Thanks folks - looks overwhelming like i’m being silly holding on to it when it’s no longer working for me!

Also thank you for sharing some personal stories too, sounds similar and i wish you all the best with your plans

OP posts:
Nettlebread · 13/01/2024 21:37

@PauliesWalnuts what are you downsizing to if you dont mind me asking? Around here i can afford a small flat in a nice location or a small house in a not very nice location, and neither appeal! Flats dont appeal as im worried about the service charge and leasehold lengths (around here the leases seem to be 200 years or less, and service charges over £1k minimum p.a.). I’m tempted to sell and then hold onto the money and see what the market does later in the year

OP posts:
Sunnydays0101 · 13/01/2024 21:47

Find an area you’d like to live in and have a look at property prices for that area for a smaller house. Sounds like a 2 bed house would suit you. Have your house valued. If the numbers work, then sell.

If you were able to put down a good size down payment on a new house and have a small mortgage, you’d probably be a lot happier.

PauliesWalnuts · 13/01/2024 22:03

@Nettlebread I’m looking for a unicorn house! Basically I’d like a two bed with a garden but round here (northern mill town) it’s all terraces with back yards. I really don’t want a new build or a flat. I did see something that would have been perfect over Saddleworth way, but I was in no position to move.
So I think it’ll be sell if it sells, then rent until something comes up. I have a good amount of equity (mortgage was to buy out a sibling) so could be a cash buyer if the price was right. Just need that little cute garden cottage to come up!

ActDottie · 13/01/2024 22:06

It’s not worth the stress. Set up and get an easier house.

BlueGrey1 · 13/01/2024 22:39

I would sell, you don’t seem happy and seem quite stressed, this stress may also contributing to your health condition, but a nice small warm little house / apartment, somewhere you are comfortable, relaxed and warm in.
I bought an old house last year and although I like it, it’s so cold and Dosen’t retain heat, I underestimated how cold it would be, I would love a cosy warm house, I think it has an effect on my mental health

TempleOfBloom · 13/01/2024 23:21

You have had a tough few years OP, and I wouldn’t think the stress of managing ongoing maintenance costs and living with lodgers is helping your health condition.

It no longer seems an asset that suits you. You have dine well to have 50% equity by your age, and hopefully your income will rise again at some stage. But why spend all your income on a house bigger than you need?

Before you make any decisions talk to a mortgage advisor about how much you could borrow (and afford to borrow) on your current income and taking into account your big deposit.

MummyFriend · 13/01/2024 23:39

Playing devil's advocate a bit here... You're definitely not being unreasonable, but it's worth bearing in mind that if your reduction in salary is going to be permanent then getting another mortgage in the future might be tricky. Living in a flat is not for everyone. I have done it before and it didn't feel all that different to me to living with housemates! Fortunately I got along with my neighbours, but neighbour turnover can be high as people outgrow their properties, so it can be a bit of a gamble! If you can find a small house in a nice area then absolutely go for it, but I'd think twice about moving to an area you're not happy with our you could just end up swapping one source of misery for another. Good luck though OP!

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