victorian/edwardian houses or new houses?

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im just about to buy my first house and would like opinions, advice etc what are the pros and cons of buying a victorian/edwardian house as oppposed to buying a new house.any views will be read with interest.
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Having owned both brand new and old I would now go for older properties. IMO the main advantages are that they tend to be on larger plots, have larger rooms and in many instances more substantially built which in theory makes things like loft conversions easier etc. Also larger plots mean more room around you, more privacy and space to "expand" with extensions at a later date. Because of this potential I also think they are a better investment financially. On top of this (if you can find an unmolested one) they offer more character than most new builds.
The disadvantages will depend of the individual property. Our last one needed rewiring, central heating, new kitchen and bath plus redecoration. Something most "older" houses need at some point in their lives. A newer house may not need any of these. Also IME older houses need ongoing maintenance to stop them declining, newer houses less so.
In short older houses will cost money at some point, in all likelyhood more than a new one. But if you buy carefully, make sure you are aware of what you're getting into and use a good surveyor I'd go with an old house every time.
HTH
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May also have a better location, e.g. closer to station

Thats what you need DIY skills for. You can fit things that you like rather than having to live with something someone else has chosen.

Quite possibly you will be able to recover any expenditure in a higher resale price
Michael Chare
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advice etc

as
interest.
properties. IMO

larger
theory makes

more room

later
investment
they offer

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redecoration.
newer
likelyhood more

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house every

I absolutely agree. Much will depend on if you will have any spare cash or whether you are pushing yourself to the financial limit. If it's the former then buy and old house for all the good reasons above, if it's the latter then new is best so you wont have any maintenance expenditure>
Good luck
Angela
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All the above are vaild, but if you are a first time buyer then i guess money will be pretty tight. In which case you may be better off with a new property which doesn't need anything other than cosmetic changes to get it how you want it.
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On 7 Jan 2004 09:51:09 -0800, all snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.co.uk (mark al) wrote:

Older houses tend to be bigger and have more land associated with them. That ends all the good points.
Of their age they are usually amongst the better examples (the rest having fallen down /been demolished). However, foundations on all old houses are decidedly iffy, build standards were universally poor, insulation is a joke and things like plumbing, heating and electricity will have been bodged over the years to varying standards of incompetence. Whatever you do avoid the ones that have been "improved" by surface bodge jobs and several cans of National Trust Burnt Sienna paint. Remember if you buy a crock the loss will be yours - surveyors learned how to avoid all responsibility years ago and buildings insurance policies exclude "faulty workmanship" (which basically means anything at all other than gross subsidence).
New houses (last few years) are built to higher standards (by poorer craftsmen) and if "estate" types (Barret et al) are designed to meet their odd perception of peoples requirements. If theirs and your match you are OK, if not you have a problem. The worst houses, to be avoided at all costs, are those built between about 1960 and 1985. Dire standards and poor materials.
Best is buy the land and have a house built for you. Its also usually cheaper and quicker.
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Peter Parry.
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(mark al) wrote:

Wow! You spoke much sense. Amazing, taking all those sensible ills.

Not always the case and finding decent plot is very difficult.
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Peter Parry wrote in message ... The worst houses, to be

This bit I wouldn't agree with. If you are planning to stay for some years, this is the period which can offer traditional cavity wall construction, reasonable plot sizes, good wiring and plumbing, central heating designed in, large windows and with a bit of cash are very easy to bring up to a good standard. Regards Capitol
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Agreed. Some of the best houses are those built in this period. Find a property built in the 60's or 70's by a local independent builder with a good reputation. OK, you may pay a premium and the wiring, windows and heating system may be at the end of their life (depending how well they've been maintained, or not) but the basic infrastructure will be such that it's worth spending money on.
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Agreed. Some of the best houses are those built in this period. Find a property built in the 60's or 70's by a local independent builder with a good reputation. OK, you may pay a premium and the wiring, windows and heating system may be at the end of their life (depending how well they've been maintained, or not) but the basic infrastructure will be such that it's worth spending money on.
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I'd second that. I've a few pals that live in a nearby Barrets estate that was built in the late '80s. They weren't cheap because of the location - about the same as a Victorian cottage in the same area.
All the windows and external doors have had to be replaced. Boilers also - although due to the excellent insulation they're hardly needed. Floors in bathrooms and kitchens - untreated chipboard sitting on polystyrene, so any spilt water that gets to it ruins it. Water system with a header tank in the bathroom rather than roof void, so no possibility of a shower without re-plumbing. Plasterboard with no skim - so just try taking off wallpaper. All the front pathways now an obstacle course. Rear fences rotten - if they didn't get blown down. And the most stupid positioning of light switches and sockets you've ever seen. Poor sound insulation in the flats, although the houses aren't too bad. Oh - and all the garage doors have needed replacing too.
And they're tiny inside. Sod the low heating costs - I'll stick to my space - and a house that's simple to fix as needed.
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With an old house, chips in paintwork, rough edges, pipes running down the wall all seem to look nice ! In a new house, if the finish isn't perfect, it's going to look pretty poor. I've not seen many new houses where the finish has been acceptible, never mind perfect.
Personally I don't like walls that flex when you lean on them...scares me. And I prefer to have an individual house...something I've not seen on a new development (apart from at christmas when your nextdoor neighbour covers his house with lights :-) )
Friends have made a packet out of buying new builds off plan..but I get the impression you need to sell quick and be prepared to move frequently to do that...before the next phase of development on the estate downgrades your house to "the older style of build".
Friends of mine live in a 20yr new house...I don't think the argument that old houses suffer from years of bodged surface jobs flies judging by the things they've found.
Anyone know what the design life of new builds is nowadays ? probably depends on the developer I know, but I heard 50yrs is what they're designing to now..
I'd always go for an old house...but things to check 1) open the kitchen cupboards like I didn't. THe carcasses were half the size of the doors :-) 2) Get an electrical check done. It's like 30-50 quid. 3) Take a look around the house perimeter and look for the damp proof course and whether any patios/next door neighbours are bridging it. If it is bridged, you can rectify easily, but the plaster may already be damaged. 4) pick at the mortar whilst your walking around...is it crumbling ? 5) knock every single wall inside with your knuckle from the bottom to the top. If the plasteres blown, that'll make redecorating difficult, messy, and a longer job. 6) get into the loft and look around the chimney stack inside...any damp getting in ? Any light showing through ? 7) try to open all the windows and check the outside sills especially in corners..any rot ? 8) check that there's guttering all the way around the house...drive past when it's raining if you can ! that'll show you if/were water is dripping and you can go back and check those walls more closely. 9) look at the consumer unit...how many fuses in there ? if there's 4, then that'll be the two ring mains and two lighting circuits...where's any external floodlighting being powered from ? what kitchen appliances are plugged into sharing that ring main ? There's likely to be some new wiring required if you plan to refurb the kitchen. 10) look at drainage..where does all the water from the roof end up ? any patios/surfaces slooping towards the house ? any drainage betwen the surface and the house ?
Once you're happy with all of that...or you have assessed the cost to rectify..you can make your offer....that way you shouldn't need to lower the offer too much more once the surveyors been in (assuming he doesn't find something major) risking losing the property after you've paid up for a survey..
Ant.
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I have not come across a new house where this is the case.

It you want a truly "individual" house then selfbuild, it is the only way. I see many new developments with "many" differing types of house styles. The same type of boxes went in the 1970s estate. Not any more.

The older houses on a development tend to go for more, as they streets are tarmaced and gardens are more mature, and no mud.

Victorian house were speculative and only had a design life of about 50 years too. Every torn away some of the facade of Victorian houses? Bodgers were there then too.

I've go a new, but I would check the reputation of the builder and check the build as it goes up. Each snag you see give to the site manger and BCO, and don't take crap off them as you are paying for it. Check that cavities have no snots inside and that all the blockwork is fitted and cut properly with a saw and tight fitting. Check that the joists resting on the blocks have enough cement around them to seal it up, otherwise cold air fro the cavity will enter the floor space. Check that any plastic pipes are clipped well; they need to be. The rest is general stuff such as finishing.
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IMM wrote:

Erm how? Identify an unbuilt house and go there every day while they build it? Then tell them they aren't doing a good enough job?
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If you can. Go at least twice a week

That is the idea. make a snag list and send it to the BCO, if you are afraid to upset the site manager. Remember! You are paying for it.
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Sounds like IMM to me.
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Which planet do you live on? Vast amounts of London are Victorian, and virtually the only ones which have been pulled down is if the plot they occupy could yield better returns by building flats on it. The odd gaps you see in some streets is usually due to external influence - ie the Germans...
Or, of course, the odd council that thought people would far prefer living in tower blocks. Did you used to work for a council?
It would be a strange Victorian house with one foot foundations - most have cellars to store the coal, etc.
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IMM wrote in message ...

For once IMM is correct. In the Islington area of London, speculators only erected the front walls of the terrace. When a buyer appeared, the rest of the house was built. The building standards with locally made soft ricks( City Road), lime mortar, casual labour and no inspection, were very, very much worse than today. Frequently the house fell down either during or shortly after construction. Failing to tie the dividing walls into the front was a common failing ( and still creates havoc today, a friend bought one for 1M and then found out that to stop it falling down was going to cost him another 500K!) and adjacent houses were commonly completed by different builders.
Victorian houses are very popular today, only because the better examples have more space, convertible lofts and are in fashionable areas. Also lime mortar can be very forgiving of a lot of subsidence.
Regards Capitol
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the
Jerry built now means shoddy. Jerry Bros did just that, built a flash facade, sold it, and the rear was less so.
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What gets me, in these kinds of arguments between "old" and "new" build, is that there is no place on the web (or anywhere else) that one can go to get a *definitive* list of approved builders/companies. My pile of new house development literature is steadily growing, but I still don't have much of an idea which companies to avoid like the plague and which ones are the best. It seems a very hit and miss affair. For example, the other day I read an article in some magazine somewhere about the enormous number of snags in new builds (average was around 106 snags). While these may well be minor, why are they present at all? I would say, a dozen max could be put down to human failing, but over a hundred? That smacks of someone not doing their job properly, of the company skimping, and it's not like new properties are cheap. It's not like buying a new stereo or even a new cars. Properties cost a heck of a lot of money and it shouldn't be the buyer's job to have to keep niggling the builder for two or three years after occupation to get outstanding errors fixed. The errors shouldn't be there in the first place if the company takes pride in the quality of its product.
I still aim to buy new though, because I will be moving to a different part of the country and searching for secondhand properties with all the problems of chains, gazumping and so on over a couple of hundred miles between me and the proposed area doesn't seem like my idea of fun. Therefore, I shall move into the area into a new build, then get my bearings and spend a year or two getting to know the area and spot the real house of my dreams. Even a new build that's pretty crappy is not likely to lose in value (unless Gordon Brown hasn't done his sums right), so if one looks at a new build purely as a temporary measure, I hope there won't be a problem.
MM
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