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Tear It Down, Build It Up..

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Knowing nothing about the laws relating to planning permission etc and without the willpower to dig through them, would anybody know off the top of your head if it would be possible to buy the genre of house that you wanted (say a two bedroom cottage) and just keeping the shell, do whatever you wanted with the interior?

Following this through, would you be able to buy a ramshackle house for a knockdown price, and basically demolish it and start again? Presumably that piece of land would have permission to have a 'X' bedroom domestic abode on it and this would surely in some cases be more cost-effective than buying a nicer place fully finished with the added bonus that you wouldn't have to compromise on any features/looks as you would build to your own spec.

I didn't put a vast amount of thought into it but it was an idea that was running through my head and I wondered how feasible, if at all, it would be..

Any thoughts?

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Knowing nothing about the laws relating to planning permission etc and without the willpower to dig through them, would anybody know off the top of your head if it would be possible to buy the genre of house that you wanted (say a two bedroom cottage) and just keeping the shell, do whatever you wanted with the interior?

Following this through, would you be able to buy a ramshackle house for a knockdown price, and basically demolish it and start again? Presumably that piece of land would have permission to have a 'X' bedroom domestic abode on it and this would surely in some cases be more cost-effective than buying a nicer place fully finished with the added bonus that you wouldn't have to compromise on any features/looks as you would build to your own spec.

Any thoughts?

The first scenario is not usually a problem UNLESS the place is listed, in which case features such as shutters, fireplaces etc are usually protected & you have to deal with the Heritage Police at every turn. Conservation areas are also occasionally problematic, though it's usually just things visible from the outside that they worry about. You DO have to comply with Building Regs in all cases.

Tearing down and rebuilding - some thoughts (a member of my family is trying to do this and has hit these problems)

- Local Authority wants to incease density per acre so wants an additional property built on the (fairly large) plot

- Neighbours have created hell about the design (the architects were clueless about dealing with this)

- Decisions are delayed by surveys re badgers, bats & great crested newts(!)

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Knowing nothing about the laws relating to planning permission etc and without the willpower to dig through them, would anybody know off the top of your head if it would be possible to buy the genre of house that you wanted (say a two bedroom cottage) and just keeping the shell, do whatever you wanted with the interior?

Following this through, would you be able to buy a ramshackle house for a knockdown price, and basically demolish it and start again? Presumably that piece of land would have permission to have a 'X' bedroom domestic abode on it and this would surely in some cases be more cost-effective than buying a nicer place fully finished with the added bonus that you wouldn't have to compromise on any features/looks as you would build to your own spec.

I didn't put a vast amount of thought into it but it was an idea that was running through my head and I wondered how feasible, if at all, it would be..

Any thoughts?

It is possible, but it depends on what region of the country you are, regarding not only local planning system but also availability. Here near the south-coast if you go into an estate agent looking for "a project", they laugh out-laud. They have all been "re-developed" to smithereens in the years leading to 2007, and every barn cow and chicken-shed have been converted. I guess you would have the same problem around London, in any commutable location, say 100 miles radius?

The good news is that prices will go down in the next couple of years. Both house prices and land prices. If you can just wait a little longer I think you will save some 10-20%, and be able to be mortgage free many years sooner than you think.

Another possibility are extensions - buying a small house with a big garden. And bungalows could be converted into a two storey house. But you must always check with the local planning authorities before putting any offer, of course. A good architect can help a lot too.

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The first scenario is not usually a problem UNLESS the place is listed, in which case features such as shutters, fireplaces etc are usually protected & you have to deal with the Heritage Police at every turn. Conservation areas are also occasionally problematic, though it's usually just things visible from the outside that they worry about. You DO have to comply with Building Regs in all cases.

Tearing down and rebuilding - some thoughts (a member of my family is trying to do this and has hit these problems)

- Local Authority wants to incease density per acre so wants an additional property built on the (fairly large) plot

- Neighbours have created hell about the design (the architects were clueless about dealing with this)

- Decisions are delayed by surveys re badgers, bats & great crested newts(!)

Yeah I always assumed anything listed would be a non-starter.. Very interesting about the LA wanting an extra property on the plot, is this something they can request or they have the power to enforce?

Also interesting about the neighbours.. Unless its in an area that has a specific character and unless you're requested a fairy tail castle or something, I'd have thought it very strange to object to a normal (ish) design..

Great crested newts I would guess come under the the same category as anything listed so best to investigate and avoid to begin with.

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It is possible, but it depends on what region of the country you are, regarding not only local planning system but also availability. Here near the south-coast if you go into an estate agent looking for "a project", they laugh out-laud. They have all been "re-developed" to smithereens in the years leading to 2007, and every barn cow and chicken-shed have been converted. I guess you would have the same problem around London, in any commutable location, say 100 miles radius?

The good news is that prices will go down in the next couple of years. Both house prices and land prices. If you can just wait a little longer I think you will save some 10-20%, and be able to be mortgage free many years sooner than you think.

Another possibility are extensions - buying a small house with a big garden. And bungalows could be converted into a two storey house. But you must always check with the local planning authorities before putting any offer, of course. A good architect can help a lot too.

Yeah I guess it would come under the heading of a 'project' but a 'fix n flip' isn't what I had in mind, more of a 'fix n live'. Basically it wouldn't be to run a profit but to design and live in your own place so avoid compromises with what you buy. I would guess that lower house prices would actually help this as you could buy more of a shell for your money and presumably builders and workers costs would then drop as well making it a double edged sword for the project.

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I wanted to do this years ago in a desireable part of Cardiff. I found a really bad bungalow, hole in the roof even. The walls were just about OK but everything else needed replacing.

Problem was I found that I was up against wealthy business people who wanted to retire to Cardiff and wanted this location. In the end it sold for 85% of the price of one in good condtion.

The person who bought it was originally from Cardiff and had run a shop in one of the valleys. He was 70, had plenty of money and just wanted to live in this place regardless of cost. A person buying what they know beyond doubt to be their last house will pay over the odds to get what they want.

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The people who bought my grandparent's house in the Lake District after they died tore it down and built a bigger one there (and it was a house on its own, not even in a village). If you can manage to do that there I can't imagine you having too much difficulty anywhere, as long as the huge usual list of them being reasonably happy about what you're building in its place.

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Thanks for the replies.

So it would seem its pretty feasible on the whole as long as you stick by the local regs and don't go too silly with the design.. Could be a nice idea if you find a decent location although I guess you'd end up paying more overall for what you really want..

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  • 312 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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