Buying houses – from developer vs Victorian

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  • Buying houses – from developer vs Victorian
  • brooess
    Member

    Any thoughts on best way to go?
    I reckon old will have more character but the new one I saw at the weekend was well-made, whilst not massive, big enough and on a big new estate which I reckon will hold appeal for a long time and will be easier to sell when the time comes.
    Also like the idea of lower heating bills, no repairs needed and general lack of maintenance (would rather be riding at the weekend than DIY)
    Anyone got strong arguments either way? It’s a Redrow btw

    I would always prefer an older house. Generally more generous sized rooms and usually more interesting. I wouldn’t bet on a new house being trouble free either

    mrmo
    Member

    new build will come with a 12 year guarantee, or should do via NHBC. But some can be shocking, corners cut, polyfiller patching of holes etc. I have heard stories of insulation being present, but the rolls not actually laid.

    Things i would advise, check the room sizes and do not assume the show home is realistic there are tricks with furniture to make places look bigger.

    Personnally i find new builds pokey with small windows, and even pokeier gardens.

    Victorian, it is old it will have settled the insulation won’t be as good on the walls etc. the roof may need redoing slates move etc.

    pays your money takes your choice.

    mrmo
    Member

    oh, just thought, if your buying off plan i believe that some mortgage companies can be a bit twitchy as they are harder to value, more likely to be over valued and then discounted,

    toys19
    Member

    If I had my time again I think I would look for good sized modern or even self build. Victorian houses (I own four) are expensive to maintain and heat and are irreconcilable with modern needs. I fear for their future as rental properties as when energy prices rise they will be become so uneconomical that I think they will just be torn down.

    mrmo
    Member

    If I had my time again I think I would look for good sized modern or even self build. Victorian houses (I own four) are expensive to maintain and heat and are irreconcilable with modern needs. I fear for their future as rental properties as when energy prices rise they will be become so uneconomical that I think they will just be torn down.

    OTT, but i don’t see that happening the current build rate is so pathetic, we can’t loose any housing stock and have any hope of housing people.

    Toys – insulation can be added and why irreconcilable with modern needs?

    Modern houses are so small with poky rooms and windows. My flat has 10′ celings and the rooms are a decent size. – like 16 ft by 14 ft – each of them None of this one room with 3 cupboards masquerading as rooms

    toys19
    Member

    OTT, but i don’t see that happening the current build rate is so pathetic, we can’t loose any housing stock and have any hope of housing people.

    Yeah I guess, I’m just feeling a bit negative about them at the moment, frickin money pits and students constantly complaining about cost of bills etc. And then my mate whose an EPC assesor keeps showing me these papers about passive houses, so well insulated that you don’t even need heating, they have heat recovery fans so there is no damp and constant fresh air…

    mrmo
    Member

    yes we should be looking at Code 6 and Passivehaus, but new build isn’t it, i think part L is calling for Code 3, a long way short. and just to make it worse there are ways of cheating the idea behind the system.

    Still like this
    the lighthouse

    and just to scare you code 6 is meant to apply in 2016! somehow i have my doubts.

    Taff
    Member

    You can get sOme good deals at the moment on new build and developers are slowly starting to realise that schemes with loads of chicken coops on aren’t going to sell as well as decent sized homes. I’m designing houses for other developers that are reasonably sized with good storage space but be aware of kitchen space as some can be shocking.

    You can get quite a bit for your money at the moment too. My bro in law has just got a 4 bed housenot far from me for for 180 and he got them to throw in floor tiles and carpets. Not bad considering they were up for 200. A mate is also looking at a three bed with a pokey fourth which is 200 in a well to do area where others are about 250. There are bargains about you just need to find them.

    As said above though there are a lot of corners cut in some of these schemes. I too have heard of the insulation in the loft just being left there. My bro in law had this and he confronted the contractor ho said he had to lay it. I simply mentioned I knew the local inspector and it was laid within 2 hours you just have to be ballsy and confront them if you have a problem. The contractor will have a one year defects period and then NHBC will take over.

    With the passive house and code six stuff I’m doing one at the moment in Sothampton and we will probably have one radiator in the lounge to supply some heating and maybe some towel rads just for drying them out although won’t be needed. They aren’t as expensive to build as you would have thought either in comparison to a code 3 build.

    hh45
    Member

    New build tends to achieve a premium that will not be there when you come to sell. Even in this weak market I expect the new build premium exists. In steady market reackoned to be about 10% so beware.

    NHBC is just insurance not a real guarantee; i.e. Redrow won’t come round and fix a problem, it’ll be all forms and disclaimers.

    Alot of new build is badly built even if insulation will tend to be better (obviously).

    How do you know the new estate won’t be bought up by BTL investors, rented out to students and others who have no tie to the area, no community, no pride in keeping it clean and tidy etc?? (I don’t know the area so could be well off beam here.)

    Victorian can be made well enough insulated, tend to have good room sizes, classic proportions, nice stuff like bay windows, high ceilings, decorative plaster work, fire places, established community and pretty much timeless market appeal.

    If a flat then purpose built flats do have the massive advantage over conversions of solid floors with better leak and sound proofing.

    Taff
    Member

    yes we should be looking at Code 6 and Passivehaus, but new build isn’t it, i think part L is calling for Code 3, a long way short. and just to make it worse there are ways of cheating the idea behind the system.
    Still like this
    the lighthouse
    and just to scare you code 6 is meant to apply in 2016! somehow i have my doubts.

    Greenwatt Way in Slough is another good example with a mix of construction and heating methods.

    Part l is asking for code 3 as standard but find most of the planning authorities I work with write in the conditions of approval that code 4 should be achieved. It’s crap though in instances like a scheme in Southampton where I am pretty much building a building complying to Part L from years ago bit by using a community heating system I achieve good ratings within the energy module

    TooTall
    Member

    And then my mate whose an EPC assesor keeps showing me these papers about passive houses, so well insulated that you don’t even need heating, they have heat recovery fans so there is no damp and constant fresh air…

    They are still at the exotic end of construction in this country and the up front investment is more than many people can stomach. I agree the Passivhaus is the way forward, but legislation has to catch up, builders find the profit in it and people understand enough to ask for it more.

    stumpy01
    Member

    We have recently been in a similar position.

    We are moving house and had found a house nearby that is about 40 years old – 2 storeys with attached garage with power, plus ample off street parking & a decent garden.

    All the new build we looked at were quite pokey by comparison – some master bedrooms had barely enough room for a wardrobe but an en-suite. Front gardens were non-existent and back gardens were not exactly spacious.
    Established new build estates we visited had cars parked all over the place as there are insufficient allocated parking spaces.
    We eventually found a new build that we liked, but it had compromises; parking wasn’t great, garage was about 100ft away, the area was a bit ‘dead’ – just a load of houses and no sense of community. It had advantages: well laid out, utility room, decent sized rooms (best of all we looked at), well insulated etc. but the benefits didn’t outweigh the disadvantages.

    New builds always seem to transmit sound badly (unless detached) which seems crazy given that the houses seem to be packed in tighter & tighter.

    We have gone for the older place.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    We bought new, it has its benefits. No previous DIY disasters, excellent insulation (we spend £20/mo on gas in a 3 bed 3 storey house which includes cooking, heating and hot water) and you typically get a driveway rather than having to park on the street as you often do in old city areas.

    I wouldn’t bet on a new house being trouble free either

    No, but it’s usually stuff like ‘the tiling’s not quite right in that corner’ rather than ‘you need a new roof’ or ‘the whole house needs re-wiring’ etc.

    And as for size, well they are’t necessarily small of course! Depends on the house and area. Plenty of small Victorian/Edwardian houses in South Wales, and lots of 3 storey new builds going up which gives more space. There are also big spacious Edwardian houses which really are wonderful with their high ceilings and all but they are bloody well not cheap!

    New builds always seem to transmit sound badly

    Ours is quite good, and don’t think all old houses are solidly built either. I lived in one Victorian place in Manchester where the walls were so thin not only could you hear next door talking, you could hear what they were saying sometimes! Then there was another one where the whole street was subsiding so you could clearly feel yourself walking downhill to get to the kitchen and back up hill to the front door. Mad.

    How do you know the new estate won’t be bought up by BTL investors, rented out to students

    In my experience, new builds tend to be a long way from student areas and unis so you rarely get students. But you do get BTLs…

    jonb
    Member

    I bought Victorian Terrace over newbuild. We took on a lot of work but we new that when we viewed. If we had gone modern we might have got a detatched but that was more down to location than year built (we wanted to be central and all the houses there were victorian. We found new build estates a bit souless and lacking in character.

    It has plenty of character, quirks and flaws. We have 10ft high ceilings, wooden floors, cornicing, fireplaces etc. which is great if you like it.

    We also have had to have wiring replaced at considerable cost. Lots of effort (well in our case cost as we paid a decorator) to paint the rooms as they needed a lot of prep. It throws up plenty of interesting problems. I’m not sure what I’d do next time. I’d love to build from scratch but couldn’t find land last time.

    If you go victorian and it hasn’t been fully renevated in the last few decades expect some work. I don’t know much about new builds but I’ve heard some absolute horror stories about the quality of the builds in the non show homes.

    yoshimi
    Member

    I’ve had both – my last house was a Victorian terrace, very big, lots of character but after having to rip down and replace bedroom ceilings, re-roof, re-wire, damp-proof icluding chipping off all plater uptro 1.2m to the ground floor), wall ties, re-plaster, insulate, replace door jambs…..I ended up with a very nice house – a lot of work and money though.

    I now live in a new house bought off plan – it was mainly my experience of the Victorian terrace that forced me down this route. Ok its not as big but its location does add a lot of character, plus its very efficient, only work required is the ongoing decorating and the few problems we did have were sorted very quickly by the developer.

    There are arguments for both but I don’t think it’s a clear cut choice – either can be great but you’ll know when you find the right one – don’t limit yourself.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    It’s worth noting that nowadays there can be lots of new builds in characterful locations, it’s not just huge out of town estates. Although we live on one 🙁

    As far as build quality goes, ours is Wimpey and is good overall. It’s not really what you’d call high craftsmanship, but then you’d need either a very expensive luxury development or a self-build to get that. It definitely seemed better than the Persimmon houses we looked at nearby.

    Premier Icon GrahamS
    Subscriber

    We’re in a Victorian/Edwardian era mid-terrace (circa 1900-1910ish).

    Good Things:
    – bags of character, despite being a long terrace every house/garden looks different.
    – feels used and comfy
    – suits my “shabby chic” 🙂
    – outbuildings (old lavvy and coal store) make good sheds. 🙂
    – established garden
    – big feature fireplace with wood burning fire
    – chance to hone my DIY skills

    Bad Things:
    – maintenance (rusty gutters, broken slates, cracked dry plaster, warped wood, draughts, single glazing)
    – modern shiny stuff looks a bit out of place.
    – nice rooms, but very little storage.

    willard
    Member

    My wife is thinking about moving us from our present three bed to a four bed. My personal preference would be to go with something Victorian, or at least with a bit of character, but she’s seen a more modern place that she likes and that ticks all our requirements. Same age as ours (10 years old) but with a bigger garden and more rooms.

    It’s only just up the road though. Barely seems worth it.

    Premier Icon hillsplease
    Subscriber

    Victorian for me for the last 15yrs. They have cellars in which bikes live. Rooms bigger, nice to live in, but brace yourself for the costs, both of heating and occasional substantial repairs.

    Had new build – didn’t care for it, lack of storage, limited natural light small rooms, ‘odd’ space layout with things like the kitchen squeezed in.

    ebygomm
    Member

    When we’ve looked at new builds the interior space has been really good, loads of storage, decent sized rooms but they’re all let down on minuscule gardens.

    Taff
    Member

    New builds always seem to transmit sound badly (unless detached) which seems crazy given that the houses seem to be packed in tighter & tighter.

    Completely disagree with all the ones I’ve seen recently.

    Personally I would prefer the Victorian place as I like the style of the period from an external point of view but would look for one that has been done up with new wiring, internally insulated etc otherwsie you would pay through the nose for something for its aesthetics qualities only.

    If you look at a new build you can ask to see the plans and construction details and find out how the good the design is.. how it was built is another thing.

    Approx 40% of UK landfill is builders’ rubble.

    New housing at the expense of old not only robs us of our architectural heritage ( yes a 2 up 2 down is just as important as a stately home ) but it is totally non sustainable.

    Old houses ftw.

    5lab
    Member

    eh? We need new houses to improve the volume of the housing stock – there simply aren’t enough old ones..

    I live in a 3 bed Edwardian (20s) terrace. There’s not much here (Brighton) that is within walking distance of the center that’s not over 70odd years old, so not a decision I was faced with..

    However, one thing that might be worth considering is the local community network. If you move into a new build estate with 3 bed homes, there’s a good chance that a lot of other people will be just like you – I’m going to hazzard a guess at a youngish family, bloke works in IT. In a terrace, it’ll be a much more mixed bunch. Where I am, approx 50% of the houses are student lets, aside from that there are old couples (in their 60s and 70s), some families, some converted into flats with singles in, and so on. Depends what you’re after

    Spongebob
    Member

    NEVER buy off plan!

    Only buy what exists in it’s finished form so you can see what you are buying.

    New house prices are ALWAYS inflated above the level of the local market.

    Old houses are a pile of junk under the surface and you’ll spend a fortune on renovatons and, more importantly, you’ll spend years to putting things right. They command a premium because people like the character of these dwellings, but they are poorly insulated and any rectification of this will be a big challenge if you want to retain the character features. Loose those features and you loose what makes them desirable. You’ll have to live with drafty windows and 9 inch thick walls with no cavity and pay for the massive additional CO2 you’ll pump into the environment.

    If you want no hassle, no big DIY project and cheaper running costs, buy a modern house that is a few years old with all the kinks ironed out. Don’t get too sentimental about character, but look where you can tastefully add features. Make any modifications in keeping with the architecture of the building, otherwise you will devalue the property.

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Subscriber

    Buying houses – from developer vs Victorian

    c) Self Build or Self Renovate

    and ask these people for advice:

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    PeterPoddy
    Member

    New house prices are ALWAYS inflated above the level of the local market

    I thought so too, they sell them on the number of rooms, en-suite etc but the living space is poxy a lot of the time. No proer ding are/room is a big bugbear of mine. I guess that’s becasue people don’t sit down to eat anymore, they just eat in font of the TV 🙁

    All the new build we looked at were quite pokey by comparison – some master bedrooms had barely enough room for a wardrobe but an en-suite

    This is my biggest problem with them. They put en-suites in a 2 bed flat/house and it’s just a watst of space. The make them ‘detached’ by about 3 feet, when I’d rather have 18in bigger inside. They sell them on ‘features’ like gizmos in a car not on decent sized rooms. Older houses are simpler lay outs, less, but bigger rooms. We’ve had 2 ex-council houses now (1960s and 1950s) and they are big and well built. They make the modern stuff look tacky to my eye.

    ebygomm
    Member

    I do think houses should be forced to state the floor area in square metres as they do elsewhere in the world. This country seems to be obsessed with number of rooms rather than overall space.

    New builds in this area tend to be priced around the same or cheaper than similar older properties, no premium. E.g. 3 bed newbuild with garage, built in wardrobes in master bedroom, all flooring and all appliances – 135k. Suspect that’s largely to do with the amount of new development.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    This country seems to be obsessed with number of rooms rather than overall space

    A lot more useful if you ask me. I just shopped for a flat in Germany, and I saw lots of total square meterage but not one breakdown of how big the actual rooms were. I don’t really want a huge living room and tiny bedrooms, or even one big bedroom and one small.

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