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What's it like to live in an older (ie Victorian) house? Pros and cons please.

109 replies

TsarChasm · 27/02/2008 19:06

If we ever get out of out of our 3 bed semi I would love to buy an older house.

I've not lived in an older property before but it seems to me that they are bigger inside (ie you get more for you money) are better built (ie not plaster board walls and chipboard floors) and have more character.

Can you tell I'm very disenfranchised by my house

I'm starting to hate the way newer houses are asking more money for so little living space and quality.

So what are older houses like? Draughty and expensive or better than newer houses? Do you love or hate yours?

OP posts:
pointydog · 27/02/2008 19:24

tsar, you only want confirmation of your firmly held opinion. Pros and cons, my arse

TsarChasm · 27/02/2008 19:24

Oh dear getting carried away on the romance! Perhaps not the dry rot!

OP posts:
GrapefruitMoon · 27/02/2008 19:24

Wish I could agree about the thick walls - the party wall in our semi is only half as thick as it should be! Noise not so much of a problem as neighbours are quiet - feel sorry for them withy my noisy kids though! It is a problem doing any work on the wall though as plaster falls off on the other side if you do chasing out, etc

One of the things I like best about mine though is that none of the rooms are box-shaped, all have little quirks.

Love the big windows, hate buying curtains for them!

The high ceilings mean that our tiny bathroom (carved out from one of the bedrooms) still feels spacious.

Surprisingly warm and undrafty - but the original windows had been replaced before I moved in....

hippipotami · 27/02/2008 19:25

Oh yes, room sizes are generous. For instance our master bedroom is a whopping 16 by 13 foot), and our dining room is a proper 14 x 12 foot room, not one of those you see in new-builds where you cannot accomodate a dining table and chairs without the backs of all the chairs scraping against the walls.

admylin · 27/02/2008 19:25

Tsarchasm, I don't think you'll save any money buying an older cheaper house - when I see what my parents and my sister have both had to put into their victorian houses just to bring the kitchens and bathrooms up to modern standard. Newer houses do ask more money to buy but you maybe won't have to put any more on top of the initial buying price. My sister has a huge loan to pay back on top of her mortgage because she needed so much done to her place.

Anyother big thing to consider is - are you good at the whole decorating, renovating thing? We aren't and if we ever got out of Germany and buy some where then we'd have to buy new because we are no good at fixing things and don't enjoy it either. It's sad really because I grew up in a big old house and loved it.

DualCycloneCod · 27/02/2008 19:25

nothign fits

nkf · 27/02/2008 19:26

I thought newbuild was usually cheaper.

noddyholder · 27/02/2008 19:27

Big substantial pieces of furniture and art look right and not stuffed in like they do in new houses.You can mix styles whereas old stuff in a new house looks a bit odd.

hippipotami · 27/02/2008 19:27

But that is the charm cod. Nothing fits, walls are not true, the floor creaks and slopes a bit, layout can be higgeldy piggeldy.... great fun, who wants a newbuild which is identical to the other 100 on the estate?

DualCycloneCod · 27/02/2008 19:28

i see that as inconvenicne to life

nto charm.

LyraSilvertongue · 27/02/2008 19:28

Mine isn't draughty but we do have a bit of damp on thr ground floor. A damp proof course will sort that out though.
I find newer houses have tiny gardens in comparison to older one and less character features. I've also yet to see a new house with high ceilings.
Older houses tend to have working fireplaces, floor boards, high ceilings, cornicing, solid doors, character windows and bigger gardens so they get my vote every time. i gre up in a 60s-built house and the walls were thin, the chipboard floors creaked badly, you could hear every sound from next door and the garden wasn't very big.

DualCycloneCod · 27/02/2008 19:28

you inherit secodnhand dirt.

DualCycloneCod · 27/02/2008 19:29

au conatraire a lto of 60s and 70s houses had bIG gardens- liek thsoe chalet style ones wiht coloured facings for eg
it was hte 80s when land got in short supply

noddyholder · 27/02/2008 19:29

there is charm in the higgledy piggledy feel and they look stylish even when untidy Modern houses look like the set of shameless when they're messy period houses look bohemian

nkf · 27/02/2008 19:30

That's true. You lift carpets and underneath there are layers of newspapers carrying stories about Armistice Day.

hippipotami · 27/02/2008 19:32

yippee noddy, now I have a real excuse not to tidy up

MrsMattie · 27/02/2008 19:33

Just moved from a Victorian house to an Edwardian one.
I love 'period properties' - love the history and the character. Our 'new' house was built in 1910 and is full of lovely features - beautiful ceiling cornices, original cast iron fireplaces, stained glass windows in the hall, lovely curved walls on the landing. It feels solid, too. We looked at a few new builds and they just seemed so flimsy in comparison. The only down side to living in an old house is the dust. Don't ask me why, but this house and our last house were very, very dusty in a way new houses just aren't, (the brickwork? I don't know what causes it...), so lots of extra cleaning (or not, if you are a slut like me!).

hatwoman · 27/02/2008 19:34

not all lack parking. lots of semis round us have parking for 2 cars

hatwoman · 27/02/2008 19:35

agree that christmas trees look good but, if you want to fill that bay window good god are they expensive

LynetteScavo · 27/02/2008 19:36

We moved in to a large victorian terrace,and moved out because:

The garden was far too small
Parking for 2nd car & guests was a problem
I often couldn't find DS
It was seriously COLD, and the heating bill was HUGE
Upkeep was high compared to new build,ie repainting, roof repairs, leeking pipes etc.
It was haunted

But God I miss the hall floor, and the sweeping stair case

MrsMattie · 27/02/2008 19:37

Another plus - old houses force you to be stylish. Nasty laminate and DFS sofas in an Edwardian house? Methinks not. I have had to force myself to cut back on those sinister cravings I get for bland, tasteless Next shopping and start looking for 'unusual finds'. Wonders will never cease.

wheelybug · 27/02/2008 19:37

Haven't read thread but I love older houses - couldn't imagine ever buying new but here's my thoughts:

Pros - character, high ceilings, often bigger rooms, period features (if not ripped out), thickish walls (although we did have some noise issues in a semi but I htink that was more to do with the 'sort of person' living next door), often able to convert lofts (may be able to in new houses, not sure)

cons - can be drafty, can be damp (mine is 1860s is the former but not the latter but previous victorian house was)
Not designed for modern living (i.e if a downstairs loo exists it is small and bunged in somewhere - ours is currently in the understairs cupboard, in our old house it was off the kitchen, halls are narrow, new houses more likely to have utility room, downstairs study, more storage space)
The gappiness can encourage rodents.....

Even so, I'd choose an old house everytime.


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wheelybug · 27/02/2008 19:38

No garages. But, we have always had off street parking (in last house it was instead of front garden but now have both).

wheelybug · 27/02/2008 19:39

We do also have a mahoosive gas bill in the winter ...

GrapefruitMoon · 27/02/2008 19:40

Ah, yes, the rodents...

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