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JoeDavola

Renovating A House - How To Estimate Costs?

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So, I've seen a house that I like. No, really.

However, it needs a bit of work done. Rewiring and a damp proof course installed I think at the very least. I know absolutely nothing about construction, building regulations ect...I've never bought a house before, so I need some advice.

I basically need an 'expert' to go in and walk round the house and pick out and major/minor structural issues (I think it's actually fine structurally), and advise me on what I need to do to to make it livable in, and whether or not there's a problem or problems that are going to cost a huge amount of money to fix.

Who do I go to for that kind of info? I've had one viewing of the place; is my only option to stick a bid on and pay through the nose for the most detailed survey possible, or is there any point in finding a builder of some sort, paying for his time and bringing him to a second viewing.

Apologies if I'm being thick but I've never done this before and I don't want to be ripped off. I'm sure what I've described above is basically what a surveyor is for - get the survey done and then approach builders to get quotes for the work that needs done.

If I'm able to afford the place, the plan would be to pay the pro's to do the major work like rewiring, damp proof course, re-plastering some walls, and then roll my sleeves up and, with the help of some mates, do most of the rest of the cosmetic stuff myself gradually over the next year or so. Would be a good opportunity to learn some basic DIY skills.

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Welcome to the real world! Some of the younger people think us old blokes bought a palace for tuppence! It wasn;t, and Wickes could recite my credit card number!

This is a journey, and a big one! Make sure the structure is sound. Everything else can be sorted!

I now have a leaky gutter! All mine to fix!

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It's not entirely straight forward before you've bought it. If it's a wreck the first thing you need is a full survey, which will set you back about £500. That will describe all the major features of the house (structure, electrics, gas, windows etc.) and tell you if they need any work. You can then go about estimating how much it will cost to put right. On top of that you have to view the house and decide if you want to replace the fixtures/fittings/decoration etc.

Once you know everything that needs doing you can work out how much it will all cost then prioritise.

If someone had explained this to me before I bought my house I'd have saved myself a lot of money.

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Do they really need doing urgently, or can they wait a few years? Of course it's easier to get a load of work done at once whilst you're not actually living there.

Note I'm speaking fairly generally, I've no experience of rewiring (although I'm a bit sceptical of the wiring in this house).

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Generally I found the work is rarely reflected in the discounts obtainable to getting a sorted one instead, although of course by doing it yourself you get to specify it exactly as required. I'd pluck out of thin air a budget of 5 grand for a rewire, based on HPCer views, and be pleased with any change.

The biggest problem in my area at least seems to be getting reliable decent people to turn up and do it, anecdotally. The roofers in particular seem to be non stop.

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Full survey for £500 as noted above by frozen_out Joe, it's hardly paying through the nose.

He'll know how much rewiring etc. is likely to cost so say beforehand that you'd like the survey done (which you need anyway) and then can you book (and pay for) half an hour of his / her time in order to discuss it.

You may not get the house of course but it's not something worth gambling upon.

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All houses need something doing. I can do electrics, but not gas (legally).

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For some reason I thought a full survey was more than £500; so yeah that seems fairly reasonable considering what's at stake.

When I went to view the place, my parents reckoned it would cost 50 grand to fix up, which shocked me.

It's structurally fine, but needs:

- rewiring

- damp proof course

- more modern kitchen (though by tiling the floor and putting some more modern doors on the kitchen cabinets it would improve it big time)

- new bathroom (not needed though - and tiling the bathroom and painting the wall would help a good bit)

- rip out the carpets and laminate floor the house

- strip off the wallpaper, touch up the plaster, paint it some neutral color

.....maybe they're right. Maybe that would all cost a ton.

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Oh and a mate has just informed me that older houses that have had gas and double glazing installed sometimes have condensation problems because there isn't a cavity wall in older houses.

The whole thing seems like a financial minefield. To think people get in bidding wars over these things.

When someone says £50K to me....that's 8 years rent! And that's all my costs, no rates no maintenance fees.

Who'd be a homeowner, eh....

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The only one of that list that's a possibly "needs doing" is the rewiring. The rest sound like things you'd want but aren't necessary.

There's a couple of visible damp patches in the house so you'd need to fix them right away I guess as well.

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Hire a floor and an edger sander. If there's decent floorboards already down then you have a floor for life.

Kitchen cabinets can be bought and assembled yourself.

Plan all the kitchen out, then get someone to chase in some electric points, much of the residual plumbing might still be useable too. Get someone to cut the worktops for hobs sinks etc.

Tiling is sure worth a crack too.

Electric combi boilers are getting better and better, are cheaper to install, and don't need anywhere near as much servicing, though in a bigger house they might struggle still.

If its double glazed look in to having the windows refurbed.

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Hire a floor and an edger sander. If there's decent floorboards already down then you have a floor for life.

Kitchen cabinets can be bought and assembled yourself.

Plan all the kitchen out, then get someone to chase in some electric points, much of the residual plumbing might still be useable too. Get someone to cut the worktops for hobs sinks etc.

Tiling is sure worth a crack too.

Electric combi boilers are getting better and better, are cheaper to install, and don't need anywhere near as much servicing, though in a bigger house they might struggle still.

If its double glazed look in to having the windows refurbed.

Yeah I've got a mate who can teach me how to do tiling. He also suggested using the original floorboards like you have - he could also help me lay laminate flooring if need be.

I'd had similar thoughts to you about the kitchen - I just don't 'get' why a new kitchen has to cost £7K+.

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I'm pretty sure a full survey will cost you more than £500. I'm also pretty sure they will cover their behind and list lots of things that are of little consequense as well as important stuff. I would be inclined to try and find a tame builder if you can.

Need more info e.g construction type, year built, photos to help properly but some general points.

A rewire will require floorboards up (some will get damaged) and walls chased out, thus leading to a full redecoration. The cost will vary depending on the number of circuits, sockets, wall lights etc. that you specify. When I did mine, I put loads in and there's still never enough. Top tip, put a single socket by the door of each room to plug the vacuum into.

Damp. The firms that drill holes in your walls and inject schmoo into them just cover up the symptoms. Damp always has a cause. Top candidates are exterior ground levels too high, sub floor vents blocked (or buried!), leaking gutters or flashing. The number 1 cause in older properties (generally pre 1930) that were built with solid walls and lime mortar is repointing with cement mortar instead of lime mortar. It takes time to appear so people don't associate one with the other but lime mortar breathes, cement is impermeable.

If the wall is 9" thick (the length of one brick) thick there is no cavity.

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For some reason I thought a full survey was more than £500; so yeah that seems fairly reasonable considering what's at stake.

When I went to view the place, my parents reckoned it would cost 50 grand to fix up, which shocked me.

It's structurally fine, but needs:

- rewiring

- damp proof course

- more modern kitchen (though by tiling the floor and putting some more modern doors on the kitchen cabinets it would improve it big time)

- new bathroom (not needed though - and tiling the bathroom and painting the wall would help a good bit)

- rip out the carpets and laminate floor the house

- strip off the wallpaper, touch up the plaster, paint it some neutral color

.....maybe they're right. Maybe that would all cost a ton.

I'm assuming a small house, all that will cost around 12-15K depending on how much work you can do yourself and who can help you.

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So, I've seen a house that I like. No, really.

Round here: (my prices might be a bit out as it's been a while)

A rewire has a set cost for the size of house.

About 1500-2000. More if you want extra sockets.

Expect some plastering work to need redoing after everything.

New boiler - about the same cost.

new carpets. Arm and a leg and depends how much you want to spend.

Decorating. Urgh. Learn to do it yourself or have a wonder MIL who likes wallpapering and painting.

Kitchen. From £2000 to the moon.

Bathroom - Maybe £1000, depending on how much tiling needs doing.

Assume the worst of everything in the place.

Structural survey would need to be done by a specialist (A basic survey generally says: get someone else to look at it)

Your mortgage (?) company would want a survey doing. Don't waste more than you need to.

Look at brick work for cracks, pointing on walls and chimney, and lintels. Look for cracks inside. Run if you find any.

Everything is damp in this country, but the building type will depend on what needs to be done.

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Round here: (my prices might be a bit out as it's been a while)

A rewire has a set cost for the size of house.

About 1500-2000. More if you want extra sockets.

Expect some plastering work to need redoing after everything.

New boiler - about the same cost.

new carpets. Arm and a leg and depends how much you want to spend.

Decorating. Urgh. Learn to do it yourself or have a wonder MIL who likes wallpapering and painting.

Kitchen. From £2000 to the moon.

Bathroom - Maybe £1000, depending on how much tiling needs doing.

Assume the worst of everything in the place.

Structural survey would need to be done by a specialist (A basic survey generally says: get someone else to look at it)

Your mortgage (?) company would want a survey doing. Don't waste more than you need to.

Look at brick work for cracks, pointing on walls and chimney, and lintels. Look for cracks inside. Run if you find any.

Everything is damp in this country, but the building type will depend on what needs to be done.

Of course if it's Home's under the Hammer you get the whole house gutted and redone for five grand and still have some change left over for the deposit on your next project. plus somehow you get the whole thing done in a couple of weeks...it takes me that long to get a builder to look at the job, and that's if I am lucky.

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I have it in my head your father is a joiner Joe?

If so, I'm sure he's handy enough to help with things.

I've spend over a year doing up my Belfast house and can give you some idea of the costs.

Rewire will be around 3k. Make sure and add plenty of plugs. Do this at the very beginning and before plastering. Floorboards need to come up.

50k is loads. I took my house back to brick, new fireplaces, stove, replaster, new heating system, new electrics, new kitchen and bathroom, small extension and redecorated for way less than 50k. I even used expensive tiles and hardwood floor.

I've also got pretty handy in the process. At the start I wouldn't try anything, but now I give anything a go.

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I have it in my head your father is a joiner Joe?

If so, I'm sure he's handy enough to help with things.

He's a very skilled joiner, but he's refused to help me. Hey ho.

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I have it in my head your father is a joiner Joe?

If so, I'm sure he's handy enough to help with things.

I've spend over a year doing up my Belfast house and can give you some idea of the costs.

Rewire will be around 3k. Make sure and add plenty of plugs. Do this at the very beginning and before plastering. Floorboards need to come up.

50k is loads. I took my house back to brick, new fireplaces, stove, replaster, new heating system, new electrics, new kitchen and bathroom, small extension and redecorated for way less than 50k. I even used expensive tiles and hardwood floor.

I've also got pretty handy in the process. At the start I wouldn't try anything, but now I give anything a go.

Thanks, this is gold. Really useful. My plan would have been what you've done - i.e. spend a year or two doing it up, using as much of my own toil as possible to minimize labor costs.

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And in other fora:

BritainFirst : "Expediting mosque planning permission."

Liberty: "Effective water-boarding"

Mumsnet: "Waterproof eye-liner suggestions for gagging sessions."

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