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Which house would you buy?

19 replies

NorkyButNice · 04/09/2009 14:11

We have narrowed down our search to 2 properties that we would happily be able to live in. They are both 30s semi's but that's about all that they have in common.

House 1 - 450K asking price. 5 beds (although the smallest is only really big enough to be an office as you could fit in a single bed and nothing else). 60ft garden, lovely big kitchen/diner but not to my taste so would want to put my own in. Ditto with the bathroom suite. The other 4 beds are really good sizes though - 3 big doubles and a large single (perfect for a child). General decor not to our taste.

House 2 - 385K asking price (estate agent has indicated that the owner would take 350K). Complete doer-upper (yikes). Needs rewiring, new boiler/central heating/radiators, new windows. Needs new bathroom suite. 2 good reception rooms. Long, narrow kitchen that needs replacing. 100ft garden that is also wide. Obviously it'd need redecorating too.

Both have downstairs cloakroom, a garage, and driveways. Both are in catchment for great schools, but House 2 is literally round the corner as well as being nearer the station.

House 1 you could move into, we'd not need to do any extension work, just redecorate and eventually do the kitchen. We'd never need to move as there's plenty of space.

House 2 has enormous potential. We've had a builder round who has quoted about 45K to do all the work we'd want, including an extension behind the garage to create a 20x15ft kitchen, all the rewiring/plumbing etc, installing a new bathroom - the lot basically. Eventually we'd do a loft conversion to get an extra bedroom.

2 estate agents have indicated that we'd get back the money we put into House 2 with no problems.

Is it crazy to consider doing major refurb with a 2 year old, and potential pregnancy on the way?

All opinions gratefully received (and thanks for wading through this)!

OP posts:
missingtheaction · 04/09/2009 14:24

Obviously this is a very personal decision but you do need to be very resiliant to do the doer-upper thing if neither of you have ever done it before. Unless you are feeling very excited and waking up in the night to replan the kitchen wiring I would think carefully about it. Also in builderspeak £45k means £75k if you include non-builder-essentials like light fittings and carpets and bathroom fittings that don't come from the builder's merchant's value range and clearing up the mess they have left outside.

Personally I would go for 2, but I would have to send DP to The Priory for a year to get over it, and my dc's are 16+.

Go and invest in the latest copies of Self Build and Hombuyer and Renovation. If you read the stories and think 'they are barking mad' then go for 1.

hf128219 · 04/09/2009 14:28

No 2 without a doubt! You could really put your own touch on it.

MrsJohnDeere · 04/09/2009 14:31

No 2 if you can cope with the chaos - you can make it as you'd like and the garden is a lot bigger.

NorkyButNice · 04/09/2009 14:39

No 2 has us excited at the potential. I love the idea of being 5 minutes walk from the school too.

We'd probably get it re-wired and central heating done before moving in as we're renting at the moment.

OP posts:
jeanjeannie · 04/09/2009 14:51

No 2!

We totally revovated the house (still are...opps!) when I found out I was pregnant. Since then number two has also arrived and we're in the middle of a total garden re-landscaping project.

If with house #1 you've still got to redecorate and put in new kitchen at somepoint then I say, bite the bullet and buy number two - get what you really want.

My only advice would be to plan a schedule of works/ time frame / budget before you start.

DomesticBlobess · 04/09/2009 14:54

Recently narrrowed our choice to an old house with lots of potential and a new house already "done".

We have two kids under 6 and the thought of doing major renovations is what killed the old house for us - i knew we could have made a gorgeous "forever house" but the chances of it turning into a nightmare were quite high - a potential money pit, stress of major work, young children thrown into the mix - recipe for divorce if ever there was one....

So we've gone for the less risky option of the newer house - which i'm very excited about and will enjoy the luxury of moving in and not having to worry too much about anything - most is just how I would like it anyhow. There will be enough stress moving house, moving jobs, moving schools etc without having to worry about mojor renovations.

If your instincts are telling you that doing such work with young children would be difficult for you - i would heed them.

HerHonesty · 04/09/2009 17:05

yes IMHO you are crazy doing a big refurb with a two year old and potential pregnancy.

UNLESS YOU have you done something like this before and are fully aware of the difficulties, costs, delays involved.

45k? i would add 20 onto that at least.

HerHonesty · 04/09/2009 17:06

sorrty, dont know why the capitals creeped into that. blame friday..

NorkyButNice · 04/09/2009 17:14

No never done anything like this before...

I know it's probably madness but the thought of creating our own great house is so appealing.

Thanks for the opinions - it helps to know just how foolish it would be to take it on!

OP posts:
GrendelsMum · 04/09/2009 17:21

I'd very much agree with Missingtheaction.

Yes, you mustn't forget that £45k is the builders' rough estimate for the building works. That doesn't include anything else - e.g. it's probably bare plaster walls and the cheapest possible window fittings. You would be amazed at how much everything for a house costs when you have to buy it all at once. Paint costs a lot, flooring costs a lot, floor adhesive costs a lot, grout costs a lot - it just goes on and on. I have just spent about £160 on bloody window fittings for one room (ONE ROOM!), and they are not covered in gold.

If you've done something like this but much smaller before, and enjoyed it, go for it. But I think the problem is that if you don't enjoy it, you've got no way out but just have to press on for months - years.

Obvious, you'd need to be very careful with a baby and toddler, as well - we currently have no proper floor in our kitchen, which is okay with adults, and actually fine with a baby, but is awkward with toddlers to say the least.

In fact, I may create a new thread to moan about how much everything costs!

pcworld · 04/09/2009 17:26

I have done a house refurb with a 2 year old whilst pregnant - it is worth doing but verrrry stressful especially when things like rewiring and plumbing are being done - DUST, floorboards up ... if you can put aside some cash to live away from the house while the very major work is being done then I would say yes, go for it, you can put your own stamp on it.

GrendelsMum · 04/09/2009 17:33

Oh, you know what the other thing is that DH finds stressful? It's the creepingness of works - they always start in one place and end up affecting everywhere else.

So some work is going on on radiators in the sitting room, and then DH comes home and says to me 'why is there no floor in the upstairs loo?' and I say, 'ah yes, it turns the plumber had to take the floor up in the loo to do the sitting room radiator'

I think that living somewhere else would make it easier, but I'd still want to be on site as much as possible.

Hassled · 04/09/2009 17:34

Search for PavlovTheCat's recent posts re her building work - see if you could cope with that level of angst!

My instinct is house no 2 but a) add at least an extra third onto the £45K in budgeting and b) you would need to be a mellow, non stressy sort of person. Or at least be able to pretend to be.

HerHonesty · 04/09/2009 17:48

lol at "mellowed, non stressy sort of person"

NorkyButNice · 04/09/2009 22:19

Yes I've been reading Pavlov's threads with an aghast look on my face for the past few weeks!

I'm taking my parents to look at the doer-upper on Monday for a final opinion on whether we're being crazy to consider it. It'll be the 4th time I've seen the house (and have seen about 20 since I first saw it) - if it's still the front runner then I think we're going to have to go for it.

When we were there with the builder, a property developer was doing a viewing at the same time. We don't want to get into a bidding war so we might not get it anyway!

OP posts:
HouseHunting · 07/09/2009 14:54

Did your parents like it? We narrowly missed out on a house that needed practically everything doing to it but we loved it as it was in the best location for town, schools & train station & had lots of potential to do a double storey extension. I am still pining for it Good luck with your decision!!

daisyj · 07/09/2009 15:02

We just did a refurb similar to the one you describe but on a smaller scale - v. large 2 bed flat - when I was pg. I would probably go for house 2 but, in your circs, only if I could afford to put my stuff in storage and rent for six months while work is going on. We lived at my parents while the rewiring, damp proofing and new ceilings/floors were being done, and then moved back in - it was a nightmare! And I would add at least 50% to builder's estimate for a realistic amount. Good luck!

NorkyButNice · 08/09/2009 10:30

Yes they loved it, and we've had an offer accepted at 20K under the asking price! We are totally chuffed!

luckily we can afford to keep renting where we are now AND pay mortgage, so we will get rewiring, central heating, new bathroom and phase 1 extension done before we move in.

Phase 2 extension (kitchen/diner dream) will need to wait till we've saved up!

OP posts:
StripeyKnickersSpottySocks · 08/09/2009 10:34

I'd buy House 2.

We bought a total wreck when DD was 2, I worked full tiem and DH worked away. It was 6 months of stress but very worth it. You just do one room at a time and keep going.

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