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A 'what would you do in this situation' question

Jammy66

War Hero
I'm currently homeless having sold my last home and looking for another place to buy.

I had a flat and had to sell (long story). Currently renting a mates place but he's just sold it so my time here is limited.

I'm early 50's with a (very) full time job - secure as it can be but we were taken over by another company recently so who knows what their plans might be. My pension provisions are pretty minimal and I'm starting to get worried about that stage of life (sure, I should have worried sooner!).

I put an offer in on a house, victorian terrace, it needs some updating and general tidying up but having had the survey it has some damp issues which are more involved - rising damp on internal walls as well as the exterior walls. The quote to fix is a few grand but I know when floors get taken up there's bound to be some more work, as well as needing new windows and other obvious jobs it's at least £10K of work to get it up to a reasonable standard.

On the other hand I've also seen a flat that came up in a very nice area. It's a flat so it's smaller with no outside space but opposite a common, inside is all fine, no work required. The seller has moved out already and wants a quick sale so I could buy it for cash. No mortgage and save that money in a pension fund.

I'm going around in circles trying to decide at this stage in life whether I should take on the 'project' house which might tie me up in money and time, but is a freehold and will be all mine, or take the less stressful option of a flat in a really nice area and have less space but less stress and the ability to save etc.

So, what would you do?
 
I’d buy a camper van and live out of that for a few months

you point out that you are worried about pension, it’s also worth noting that the whole world of business is undergoing huge changes. if you can work from Home the time has possibly never been better - you don’t say how much equity you have but consider buying somewhere much nicer, miles away (Wales? Up north?) (consider things like broadband speed) and work from there, and invest the spare money in a couple of buy to let rentals next door or nearby in order to have a pension plan.
 
I'm currently homeless having sold my last home and looking for another place to buy.

I had a flat and had to sell (long story). Currently renting a mates place but he's just sold it so my time here is limited.

I'm early 50's with a (very) full time job - secure as it can be but we were taken over by another company recently so who knows what their plans might be. My pension provisions are pretty minimal and I'm starting to get worried about that stage of life (sure, I should have worried sooner!).

I put an offer in on a house, victorian terrace, it needs some updating and general tidying up but having had the survey it has some damp issues which are more involved - rising damp on internal walls as well as the exterior walls. The quote to fix is a few grand but I know when floors get taken up there's bound to be some more work, as well as needing new windows and other obvious jobs it's at least £10K of work to get it up to a reasonable standard.

On the other hand I've also seen a flat that came up in a very nice area. It's a flat so it's smaller with no outside space but opposite a common, inside is all fine, no work required. The seller has moved out already and wants a quick sale so I could buy it for cash. No mortgage and save that money in a pension fund.

I'm going around in circles trying to decide at this stage in life whether I should take on the 'project' house which might tie me up in money and time, but is a freehold and will be all mine, or take the less stressful option of a flat in a really nice area and have less space but less stress and the ability to save etc.

So, what would you do?

.

He bet on red so next time its guaranteed to be black.

Let me know how you get on.
 
I'm currently homeless having sold my last home and looking for another place to buy.

I had a flat and had to sell (long story). Currently renting a mates place but he's just sold it so my time here is limited.

I'm early 50's with a (very) full time job - secure as it can be but we were taken over by another company recently so who knows what their plans might be. My pension provisions are pretty minimal and I'm starting to get worried about that stage of life (sure, I should have worried sooner!).

I put an offer in on a house, victorian terrace, it needs some updating and general tidying up but having had the survey it has some damp issues which are more involved - rising damp on internal walls as well as the exterior walls. The quote to fix is a few grand but I know when floors get taken up there's bound to be some more work, as well as needing new windows and other obvious jobs it's at least £10K of work to get it up to a reasonable standard.

On the other hand I've also seen a flat that came up in a very nice area. It's a flat so it's smaller with no outside space but opposite a common, inside is all fine, no work required. The seller has moved out already and wants a quick sale so I could buy it for cash. No mortgage and save that money in a pension fund.

I'm going around in circles trying to decide at this stage in life whether I should take on the 'project' house which might tie me up in money and time, but is a freehold and will be all mine, or take the less stressful option of a flat in a really nice area and have less space but less stress and the ability to save etc.

So, what would you do?
The flat, all day long.

A project is ok if you enjoy DIY and (with a terrace) accept that it'll be ongoing. I sold my terrace - which I bought after finding myself single about eight years ago - three years ago. While I had it, it was a drain on my limited financial resources and, because of that, a pretty constant source of worry. Add to that, my terrace was damp and it does your health no favours to be living in that sort of property. I was pretty surprised to sell it, and had to do so at a small loss.

In my experience, you never really 'solve' damp in Victorian terraces. Most haven't a Damp-proof course and that's the root of the issues. In many cases, the ground floor is concrete on earth, which can cause constant live issues with moisture in the flooring, etc. In addition, the houses were not built for modern central heating and double glazing. Because of that, they can 'sweat' = be humid and that's bad too. I'm not saying the issues can't be solved, just that it's expensive. Aside from the damp issue, you need to set aside a certain sum - I would say about £1000 each year but it can vary upwards or downwards - to deal with basic maintenance; this because the property is old. It is a 'wear and tear' thing.

Edit: the only thing that would change my view about a terrace would be if it is in a desirable area and you are pretty sure the property will increase in worth. If not - and the economy is looking dodgy as you'll be aware, that doesn't apply.

If you go for a flat and it is a leasehold, check the details of the ground rent, and service charge (if there is one) and also look into any shared liabilities (such as, for example, the leaseholder saying they may need to do certain things and that owners may have to make occasional contributions). Your solicitor will advise you of these things.

Best wishes mate.
 
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Grumblegrunt

LE
Book Reviewer
buy the flat for cash rent it out, get the house on a mortgage do it up using rent from flat then decide which one you like the best.
 
I'll read into it that you're single with no dependants - please correct me if that's wrong.

Go for the flat.

The fact you're asking flags up that you have concerns for short term security with long term implications.

If things firm up and you're happy in a couple of years, you'll not lose on the apartment and you'll also have more time to look at properties that could fit the renovation project - they'll always be plenty of those.

If it doesn't firm up, you've saved the money, still in somewhere nice that also has resale value should you need to liquidate.

It would be crap living somewhere that you start to resent because things become tight and you can't escape it.

I have the feeling that in today's climate, being happy and secure makes you a lucky person. Way things are going we'll all be welcoming our new Chinese overlords by Christmas so perhaps best to play things cool for a while.
 

Jammy66

War Hero
I’d buy a camper van and live out of that for a few months

you point out that you are worried about pension, it’s also worth noting that the whole world of business is undergoing huge changes. if you can work from Home the time has possibly never been better - you don’t say how much equity you have but consider buying somewhere much nicer, miles away (Wales? Up north?) (consider things like broadband speed) and work from there, and invest the spare money in a couple of buy to let rentals next door or nearby in order to have a pension plan.

I have an ex MOD Landrover I bought to use as a campervan, not had much chance yet but that's an option, pack the job in and live off my savings until they run out, travelling in the van........

I'm working from home at present but the company are talking about bringing us back to the office soon.....
 
I’d buy a camper van and live out of that for a few months

you point out that you are worried about pension, it’s also worth noting that the whole world of business is undergoing huge changes. if you can work from Home the time has possibly never been better - you don’t say how much equity you have but consider buying somewhere much nicer, miles away (Wales? Up north?) (consider things like broadband speed) and work from there, and invest the spare money in a couple of buy to let rentals next door or nearby in order to have a pension plan.

Wales and 'nicer' in the same sentence. Have a word with yourself.
 

Awol

LE
Buy Victorian all day long. The quality of the work, even in areas that were never intended to be seen, is astounding. Damp can be fixed.
 

Jammy66

War Hero
The flat, all day long.

A project is ok if you enjoy DIY and (with a terrace) accept that it'll be ongoing. I sold my terrace - which I bought after finding myself single about eight years ago - three years ago. While I had it, it was a drain on my limited financial resources and, because of that, a pretty constant source of worry. Add to that, my terrace was damp and it does your health no favours to be living in that sort of property. I was pretty surprised to sell it, and had to do so at a small loss.

In my experience, you never really 'solve' damp in Victorian terraces. Most haven't a Damp-proof course and that's the root of the issues. In many cases, the ground floor is concrete on earth, which can cause constant live issues with moisture in the flooring, etc. In addition, the houses were not built for modern central heating and double glazing. Because of that, they can 'sweat' = be humid and that's bad too. I'm not saying the issues can't be solved, just that it's expensive. Aside from the damp issue, you need to set aside a certain sum - I would say about £1000 each year but it can vary upwards or downwards - to deal with basic maintenance; this because the property is old. It is a 'wear and tear' thing.

Edit: the only thing that would change my view about a terrace would be if it is in a desirable area and you are pretty sure the property will increase in worth. If not - and the economy is looking dodgy as you'll be aware, that doesn't apply.

If you go for a flat and it is a leasehold, check the details of the ground rent, and service charge (if there is one) and also look into any shared liabilities (such as, for example, the leaseholder saying they may need to do certain things and that owners may have to make occasional contributions). Your solicitor will advise you of these things.

Best wishes mate.

Thanks. That is my worry, onging problems - yes I know any property needs ongoing work but I don't want it to take over my life.

I know all about the potential issues with a flat and lease/service charges. This one seems OK with low charges and nothing to suck costs like lifts or landscaped grounds. Current charges are minimal and it appears well maintained which is why I'm considering it.

I would prefer a freehold over leasehold for obvious reasons but at this point in my life I'm wondering if it's not the best option.
 
Buy Victorian all day long. The quality of the work, even in areas that were never intended to be seen, is astounding. Damp can be fixed.
The terraces here (Wales) are Victorian - rough stone, black mortar, sparsely timbered roof, etc. I am not saying you are wrong - I can picture the sort of property you refer to - but there's a range of Victorian types.
 

Jammy66

War Hero
I'll read into it that you're single with no dependants - please correct me if that's wrong.

Go for the flat.

The fact you're asking flags up that you have concerns for short term security with long term implications.

If things firm up and you're happy in a couple of years, you'll not lose on the apartment and you'll also have more time to look at properties that could fit the renovation project - they'll always be plenty of those.

If it doesn't firm up, you've saved the money, still in somewhere nice that also has resale value should you need to liquidate.

It would be crap living somewhere that you start to resent because things become tight and you can't escape it.

I have the feeling that in today's climate, being happy and secure makes you a lucky person. Way things are going we'll all be welcoming our new Chinese overlords by Christmas so perhaps best to play things cool for a while.

Yes I'm single, no dependants, so I only need to think about myself but that's what makes it more difficult!

I must admit having been through redundancy before and the sleepless nights thinking about meeting the mortgage payments makes a mortgage free property very appealing.

The flip side is it might be more difficult for me to get a mortgage if I decide in a few years time I want to move on again or want something bigger, but who knows what the future holds eh!
 
Thanks. That is my worry, onging problems - yes I know any property needs ongoing work but I don't want it to take over my life.

I know all about the potential issues with a flat and lease/service charges. This one seems OK with low charges and nothing to suck costs like lifts or landscaped grounds. Current charges are minimal and it appears well maintained which is why I'm considering it.

I would prefer a freehold over leasehold for obvious reasons but at this point in my life I'm wondering if it's not the best option.
My flat's leasehold - ground rent is about £200 pa. The exterior - windows, doors, walls - is the responsibility of the leaseholder (in my case) which is good. I only need contents insurance therefore.
The relief of not worrying about the house slowly falling apart is huge.
 
Avoid the Victorian money pit. Buy the flat outright. Then start looking for some wealthy 50+er who's after some exciting times. Move in to her expansive estate and rent your gaff. I know someone who did exactly that, thanks to a small ad in The Lady magazine.
 
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