Buying a house that needs a lot of work, with a young family?

(17 Posts)
MrsJamin Sat 02-Feb-13 21:56:02

Lol at caravan on the site- even the fact that this house has a driveway with space for one car is to be celebrated! Can't imagine ever being able to afford a house you could park a caravan in front of. The more we think about it, the more it would seem worth it and that we could go away at weekends so we wouldn't need to be in all day around dust. Just have to hope we get a buyer this weekend and our offer is accepted!

marriedinwhite Sat 02-Feb-13 20:35:48

Can you put a caravan on the site to get you through the worst of it. They are quite cheap and can be sold on.

We bought an old static and lived in that in the front garden whilst build happened (we did the roof too and property had fire-risk ceilings and v dodgy electics so not really feasible to live in with 3 and 5 yo.) On site but away from the worst of it.

Yamyoid Sat 02-Feb-13 20:26:17

We moved in when ds was just turning 3. The first thing we did was knock the wall between the kitchen and dining room through and put in a new kitchen. It was hard but I'm glad we did it. There's still a lot of decorating to do which has been put on hold because of dd coming along. The new bathroom was finished only a few weeks before she was born.
I have a friend whose baby was 6 weeks early and they managed with a building site and a new born.
It depends on the type of person you are. If you are good at just getting on and coping, you'll be happy in the long run.
It's very satisfying to know you've got a house that you've put so much into.

myron Sat 02-Feb-13 20:18:20

Good builders will make all the difference!

We rewired, replumbed, replastered, repainted every ceiling/wall. New windows, doors, flooring, skirting, architrave, radiators, and even the staircase handrail & spindles. We completely restructured the layout downstairs, knocking down walls and creating new doorways,etc. We went the whole hog and had a 2 storey extension built at the same time as 'living in'. Ceilings came down, walls were chased, floorboards up but we always had a temporary kitchen - cobbled together from some of the old kitchen units taken out from the original kitchen. We were lucky that this was our original utility room (renovated last and turned into a study) and that we had a double garage that we could store most of our stuff.

We were never left without any water/electricity in the evening so cannot understand why so many seemed to have to endure this (probably have to praise my builder further). DC were 5 & 8 and mostly at school - we shipped them in the school hols to stay with GP's but all in, they finished within the 4 mth contractual deadline. (They did work quite a lot of weekends though which we allowed just so that the end would come sooner).

You will have more control by living on site - I was there to make the myriad daily decisions that crop up as they needed to be made which avoids delay or rework. You also need to spec the details - I never gave the type of architrave or coving any thought at all until my builder presented me with a choice of 4 to choose from! I was however extremely specific about the doors and door handles though. This type of detail - you might not have drilled down to when you accept a formal quotation at the start but if you can specify as much detail as possible, it'll be to your advantage.

We had the original carpets cleaned professionally before we moved in so that it smelled better. Our builders started the following month and once there's dust in the air, the carpets won't be a concern.

MrsJamin Sat 02-Feb-13 19:18:12

Really encouraging to hear people who have lived through it and say it is worth it. We have lots of friends nearby who we can have tea at. I am keen that the work wouldn't drag on. We have kept in contact with the builder who did our present kitchen and bathroom renovation, and he is looking at the house this week to give us a quote. He has a young family too so is really good about understanding out requirements. It is hardly habitable at present - stinks of smoke so the carpets would need to come up, and I don't know whether what is under them is liveable with until we get new ones put in. The main issue is that the order that you would put things in if no one is living there is totally different to if there are people living there, thus extending the work and making it more expensive. I am just hoping the completion would happen at the beginning of a holiday so we could disappear to my parents' house for a few weeks.

Mandy21 Sat 02-Feb-13 19:09:58

That doesn't actually sound like too much work - can you live with it as it stands (apart from the central heating)? We moved with 2 x 4yr olds and a 9mth old - we are 3 years in now and we're doing a little bit at a time. The frustration is not that we have dirt / dust (although that is annoying) its the fact that everything takes so much longer than you anticipate, especially if you're doing some of the work yourselves. You never get a "run" at a job!

But I would definitely do it - we are worst house in best location etc and love it!

ogredownstairs Sat 02-Feb-13 18:41:46

we did it with a newborn and a 3yo, and it was major structural work on the very worst house in the road, including rebuilding the front of the house, moving drains and building a side return extension. I'd say it's perfectly doable - quite stressful at the time, but worth it if you couldn't afford a particular road otherwise. We moved into a holiday rental for the worst three weeks, when there was no power to the building, but lived in it for the rest of the time. Live in it for a bit first to decide what you really need to do, and then get it all done in one go if you can - it can really wear you down if it drags on.

vez123 Sat 02-Feb-13 18:25:41

We bought a house that needed a lot of work a few months ago. We spent the first month in our rental flat whilst we got the house rewired, the boiler changed, the pipework exchanged, a wall knocked down in the kitchen and some plastering done. We then moved in and had no working kitchen for 7 weeks, and the bathroom was being done whilst we were living in there. But I would not have wanted to live in there whilst all the rewiring and new piping was done, these are very messy jobs! We coped with the bathroom work as our builder tried to ensure we always had a working toilet and sink/shower on most days.
But I work 4 days a week full days so DS is in childcare for the majority of the week and I am obviously at work. This has made a big difference. If I had been at home all that time I think I would have slowly but surely gone insane with all the mess and things in the way.
Right now we are still far from the finished product but it feels like home and the horrible first 2 months feel like a distant memory.
I'd say go for it but be mentally prepared (which you seem to be doing anyway!)

Taffeta Sat 02-Feb-13 18:11:11

We bought DHs grandparents house when DS was 8 months and DD to born. It needed loads doing, we did the urgent stuff and lived in it for 4 years.

When DS was 6 and DD 3 we moved out for 8 months whilst major work was done. This was hard for all manner of reasons, and I wouldn't do it ever again but....

It's dream home now, will never (hopefully) move.

nancerama Sat 02-Feb-13 18:05:07

Choose your builders carefully and get recommendations. We just had some work done - not on such a huge scale as yours, but potentially treacherous with a toddler thrown into the mix.

It actually went swimmingly. Our builders were amazing with DS - letting me know in advance if they would be using very noisy equipment that might upset him so that we could plan to be out at the right times of day and packing their tools away safely from meddling little fingers at night.

I think if you actually have the capital to do the work more or less straight away then it should be ok. We've done 2 fairly prolonged ones over a few years and that gets frustrating. I should have learned from my parents, they've only just finished the house we moved into when I was 13. I'm 33!

Will you have family or friends close enough to give the dc tea on occasion? that can make a real difference.

It's exciting though, getting a house exactly as you want it!

LifeofPo Sat 02-Feb-13 17:49:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Lynned Sat 02-Feb-13 17:45:50

We moved in our house with Dd 2.5 and I was 38 weeks pregnant. So far we have had new boiler, upgrade of radiators, new kitchen, bathroom, new conservatory and a loft conversion. ( not all at once, but in that order) By far the worst was the kitchen, lasting memory of my Ds then 2 toddling up the stairs covered in neat Ribena, which he had helped himself to in the make shift kitchen. Unfortunately he settled himself on the pale green sofa to pour it, then padded little Ribena footprints up the stairs to tell us.

We lived through it, and have our house ( almost) how we want it.

Go for it, it's worth it in the end!

annalouiseh Sat 02-Feb-13 17:41:59

if it need all that and poss boiler change and chasing of cables then would take around 3/4 mnths not living there.
the hard thing would be creating one room 1st to live in as normally most things like plastering and electrics you get a better rate all done at once but will be less than renting.
its a shame you cant rent if you have your heart on the house and the end product.
my dh did ours and took 6mths from brick doing all the work except electric connection (did the chasing to save cost) and boiler change/move or bathroom pipes. We was not living there not living there but we did block up a few doors and move, along with ceiling falling down in the bedroom.

Snowloon Sat 02-Feb-13 17:40:54

We bought a house that needed serious structural work when the kids were 3 and 1. Every room needed something major done. We had to have ceilings removed and new joists put in. We bridged for six weeks and stayed in our old flat while the worst of the work was done (celings removed at front of house, new floor joists put in, internal walls removed at back, kitchen moved so plumbing, gas etc installed. It worked because we had builders lined up to go asap.

When we moved in we had a functioning kitchen which was still a minor building site - no tiles, cupboards being put in, etc. There was only one bedroom inhabitable so we shared that for a couple of weeks. It is messy and stressful and inconvenient, but it is for such a short space of time, and it is so worth it to get the house you want, your way. I'd definitely say go for it.

MrsJamin Sat 02-Feb-13 17:33:33

DH and I are seriously considering a house that would be perfect when "done" but needs a lot of work - central heating, carpets, kitchen, bathroom, plastering, etc. Nothing structural though. Would we be idiots to buy and move straight in with boys 3 and 5 yrs old, without having a rental place in the meantime? Most rented houses would need 6 months minimum contract and thus would make the whole sale not financially viable. Could we do the work while living there? Would it cause too much stress? There are currently hardly any other houses of its type and price available in the area- its the worst house in the best road scenario. Advice would be v welcome from people who have had a similar dilemma.

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