Buying a fixer upper house, need some advice on fixing it up
We’ve seen a house that we like, fairly remote, small, but bigger than our current, and with recent and ongoing new developments nearby. Nice elevated position overlooking the Scottish coastline.
It, we think, belonged to an older couple, sone mobility features, handles scattered around the place, and a large walk in shower etc. Don’t think it’s had much done to it over the years.
Home report says some damp patches, sone uneaven floors. But structurally ok.
It’s an odd construction. Timber framed wood panel and board walls, externally clad with brick. Single story, with a shallow sloping felt on timber roof.
It has its own septic tank and has an oil fire in the living room and a hot water boiler that runs off gas bottle.
I have to admit, I know little about that set up, and I’m told both the boiler and the stove haven’t been used in years.
So, bit of forward planning, floating sone ideas about. There are various grants and government loans available, possibly, that could be used for different aspects, for insulation improvements and more sustainable heating.
We were thinking that a wood stove would be a top up heat in the living room, replacing the oil stove. But were not sure about other stuff.
Could look at ground source heat pumps. If the floors need sorting, then underfloor heating, if not, radiators.
Is it still worth considering solar water heating? Solar electric may be an option, but not sure about deals at the moment. South facing gently sloping roof? There’s s garage attached to the house for all the gubbins..
What about the septic tank? Just leave it? Not sure there are more options, but with new builds up the road I think a proper sewer connection may be feasible. But I’ve no clue on costs.
Other options for the house is just move everything to oil (working in land remediation, oil makes me very nervous) or LPG, but that seems like it’s missing an opportunity to do something a bit more sustainable whilst there’s assistance available.
Other option is to flatten it and rebuild, but that seems a bit much, and I’ve seen enough grand designs to know that it’s budget + x2. So that too makes me a little nervous. :-/
Could do with a steer, if that’s possible?
Main reasons for moving would be for the shore, local hills and forests and views. Bonus would be that our mortgage would half. 🙂Posted 1 week ago
Can you get a mortgage on it? Can be tricky with non standard construction. I’d check that before looking at the other stuffPosted 1 week ago
Is it a 1940/50’s wooden construction that’s had a brick skin built around it at some point?
Other option is to flatten it and rebuild, but that seems a bit much
TBH it sounds like it needs knocking down and starting again.Posted 1 week ago
Patching up the existing structure sounds a bit of a waste.
(For example, it sounds like all the internal walls are partitions, so replacing the floor might require those to be removed.
Uneven floor is concerning)
Septic tank – I’d have a survey done on that by a specialist first. It might be shot beyond use, and I think there was a recent change to law that tightens up the regs around discharging through then possibly requiring their replacement if they arent up to standard.Posted 1 week ago
Septic tanks cant discharge anymore. So either it’s a pump out job or a treatment type.
Has it got a home report on it?
I’d not be surprised if its un mortgageable due to the construction
It needs floors and a roof. The walls are single skin so need insulation.
Factor in a new oil tank and CH system and a rewire…
Your probably into just bulldoze n start again tackle….
But that’s me being cynical.Posted 1 week ago
Got a link. I’m nosey andas I’ve just bought a place I’m not going to steal itPosted 1 week ago
Unless its 2 p to buy sounds like a money and time pit to me
Many years ago i bought a house that had not been touched for 30 years but it was structurally sound. took all my spare time for two years to do it up – new kitchen, complete rewire, complete replumb, window repairs then decorate
Uneven floors could be a sign of something seriously wrong or it could just be wonky. We have a drop of several inches across my flat but its soundPosted 1 week ago
We have a drop of several inches across my flat but its sound
There was so much drop across my tenement flat i could actually feel it lengthways when lying in bed.Posted 1 week ago
Cheers so far.
Home report says suitable for mortgaging, septic tank I assumed was a pumped jobbie (no pun intended)
It’s a 1950s wooden structure with a brick skin.
I suspect the uneaven floors are due to damp. I can also see the downpipes for guttering terminate halfway down the wall, in done cases, so that’ll not help.
It’s been on the market since September, asking oo £108k I think with the work needing done around £90k will get it.Posted 1 week ago
Too much dosh for the plot on its own.
Just to add. It was lived in a few years ago, and has double glazing new shower etc. So would be a shame to demolish it.Posted 1 week ago
Things have moved on a lot. What was considered ‘habitable’ when it was built would be condemned today. Sounds to me to be a bit ‘jerry built’ with little regard for regulations. If you want something suitable for the 21st century, then a meeting with a big yellow digger might be preferable – it’ll be difficult to meet insulation and air-tightness of a new build when there are structural issues e.g. uninsulated, floor, non structural walls. Also, what are your plans? If you’re going to be staying there until you leave feet-first in a box or are planning on selling/moving in a few years. Finally, bear in mind refurbishments are eligible for VAT whereas new builds aren’t.Posted 1 week ago
Link?Posted 1 week ago
Bit if a quirky area too. Old ww2 fortification. Lots of below ground bunkers with caravans on top!
I’ll bring my banjoPosted 1 week ago
Looks better than your description painted it.
Got a good local builder?
I’d go n have a look, get in the loft. Get an endoscope and have a look under the floors.Posted 1 week ago
It does doesn’t it!
We’ll get a nosey round as soon as we can, then if it still looks feasible, get a better look with s tradesman in tow.
I’ll be contacting home energy Scotland for advice on thermal and heating grants too.
The home reports can be a bit blunt, but it was more, odd bit of damp here and there and uneaven floor in the conservatoryPosted 1 week ago
That looks like a couple houses locally that are unmortgagable by normal means.
They are for sale sub 100k in a market that a comparable standard build is 200k +
That does look like it’s had an additional skin of brick round it but I’d be in the its probably cheaper to start again. – and your house wouldbt look like someone’s home built shed.
One of the ones I noted cheap locally has actually been knocked down ( was in garlogie for anyone who knows the area on the road to the smithies)
The others in banchory /raemoir and was taken off the market iirc
Be absolutely sure it is accepted construction even if your a cash buyer because no matter what you do short of razing it to the ground it’ll never lose that stigma within the valuation process and you’ll struggle to sellPosted 1 week ago
I think the technical terms for what you have there is a ‘shed’ converted to a dwelling…Posted 1 week ago
What are the other neighbouring properties like? New builds or similar houses?Posted 1 week ago
That’s an odd layout if the only way into the kitchen is through the conservatory?
Lots of land though – either to extend, or knock down and start againPosted 1 week ago
Neighbouring builds are some of the same, next door was rebuilt probably 10 years ago, other side is a ww2 bunker with a static caravan on top. Up the road about 500 yds is a new development.
This is somewhere in between. it’s a step away from the huts like in carbeth if you know it, but only just.
For value, the area is cheap. So it’ll never be a £200k house. There was a lovely detached 3 bed cottage round the corner that sold for £160k, so not an investment unless the area becomes much more popular. This is possible, as there are a few planing proposals nearby, but also development potential in the area is limited due to the ww2 structures and archaeological artefacts.Posted 1 week ago
Edit, next door is up for sale too, £260k.Posted 1 week ago
Maybe some scope then..
If you’ve found a house you like, and are considering knocking it down and rebuilding, why don’t you just go look for a plot of land instead? That’s surely got to be easier and cheaper?Posted 1 week ago
I’d much rather not knock it down. In fact, I think that would prevent us from buying at all.
I was considering whether it is worth it, or if we’d forever be chucking money at it, more than normal anyway.
Personally, I think the building is livable in as is, for an early summer move. Then update heating etc over the summer ready for wintering.
I like the apex ceilings, the false beams are a bit much, but quirky. The layout is easily changed if needed, think the kitchen needs to be accessed via the lounge, not the conservatory, that’s a bit weird. Or we just shift it all about and move the bedroom to the kitchen and have a kitchen lounge thing where one of the bedrooms is now…
One thing at a time though.Posted 1 week ago
You’ve got to ask yourself why it’s still on the market if it’s been on since september.
I’d def be taking it down and replacing it with a modern pre-built type place.Posted 1 week ago
Would be cool.
It’s sometimes easier to not knock it down due to planning and just to modify what’s there. Sometimes not the best £££ wise
I agree it looks habitual. I’d be getting a proper roof on and looking at maybe getting the floors up and concrete poured with UFH.
I think you’ll find it will swallow a large amount of cash but if you’re not aiming at flipping it for profit does it matter?Posted 1 week ago
Yeah, to us it’s about taking advantage of the grants etc, I think it’s an ideal candidate for it. With the cashback grants and loans we could potentially have a spend of around £20k but an actual value of around £40-50k. Of course this is to be discussed with the home energy guys what’s available. It’s still in the weighing up stage, so we’ll see.
Looking at the build, the front/gable sticky out bit is a relatively normal pitch, and tiled. Just the rear is shallow pitch and felt.Posted 1 week ago
Our current cottage has about a 80% flat roof, similar construction. So were used to dealing with that.
So, those things aside, what would be the best way to heat And hot water the place? Options are ground source, the new builds up the road are air source. Still could solar PV, and or solar water too?
Replace conservatory windows with better glass? What’s out there?
Reline the inner side of the outer walls with thermal board? The plasterboard/polystyrene stuff, or something else?
TaPosted 1 week ago
I would think the fundamental problem with the house is structural – the walls aren’t designed to be load bearing, so replacing the roof could be a problem. Likewise, the floor slab isn’t likely to be insulated or reinforced – digging it out in situ could be a real pain. Any insulation is likely to be a compromise and the windows/ doors aren’t likely to meet the latest standards. Things like Air Source Heat Pumps don’t work well in draughty, poorly-insulated houses.Posted 1 week ago
By all means, look at all the options and get them priced up. Also don’t discount how much it would cost you to rebuild the same size ~90m2 using a modern timber frame construction – it will be warmer, stronger and you’ll be able to sell it if you need to move plus you’ll be able to get a mortgage if you need to borrow more money.
no from me for the road and the neighboursPosted 1 week ago
It’s a weird setup there isn’t it. But below the neighbors holiday caravan is a ww2 bunker. More further up the road, and gun turrets where the new builds are.
I’m not worried tbh.Posted 1 week ago
I think you’ve been blind sided by the location and cost. Your looking at how to heat and improve a pretty crappy looking structure with some fairly expensive methods.
I say before you spend any money get the structure looked at by someone who knows what they are looking at -a builder perhaps …
Going by the rest of the street on that link it looks like someone’s holiday cabin that someone’s tried to make into a residence.Posted 1 week ago
I rarely care what people do with their money, but looking at those pictures I’m concerned that you’d be throwing good money away.
If it wasn’t a wooden building with a brick skin then maybe, but that’s really just a plot.
That said it could be a great place for a home.
Your could put something like this (first one I found) on it for £120k
Properly built (hopefully), proper electrics, insulation and plumbing.Posted 1 week ago
Are you sure you can get trades at that location?
It’s a busy market at the moment and good tradesmen won’t be bothered driving to the boondocks for a chat.
Mate bought a cottage not a million miles from there and had a bastard awful time getting work done. I think there was an element of tradesmen having patches so other folk wouldn’t even touch his house while he waited years to get stuff done.Posted 1 week ago
Interesting comments so far, and all very welcome. They will certainly influence where we go with this,
At the moment, from the above its most likely not worth putting cash in to make it workable long term. Which is disappointing, but if it is unrealistic then it is.Posted 1 week ago
Your looking at how to heat and improve a pretty crappy looking structure with some fairly expensive methods.
Yep, and trying to heat that is going to be a shocker.
Holiday “chalets” are built for summer use only, so heating would have been way down the list.
At the moment, from the above its most likely not worth putting cash in to make it workable long term. Which is disappointing, but if it is unrealistic then it is.
No, I don’t think it is TBH (felt over wooden roof would send me running), but look at the options for a rebuild before giving up on it.Posted 1 week ago
I’m pleased you’ve got an open mind and seem happy to accept answers you may not want to hear.
felt over wooden roof would send me running
Can I ask why?Posted 1 week ago
We’ve a flat roof and have had no problems with it over the last 12 years. Maybe we’ve been lucky. But also, quoted a replacement for about £2k
If you’re handy with the tools, a self build kit-house should be do-able from £750-1,000/m2 depending on the quality of finish / how many trades you need to employ.
Fleming Homes have a decent rep and reckon it can be done for £80k.Posted 1 week ago
For a fixer upper you would hope that the skeleton of the house was sound, otherwise as others have said it’s knockdown and start again.
Secondly if it’s been on the market for that long lots of other people haven’t seen a way of making something of it.
It’s definitely a interesting spot but I’d not be going for itPosted 1 week ago
Secondly if it’s been on the market for that long lots of other people haven’t seen a way of making something of it.
I do wonder if the Argyll and Bute, no covid cases then boom, lots, has had anything to do with lack of interest. Possibly not, but don’t know.Posted 1 week ago
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