Buying a house that hasn’t been touched for decades could be one of the most exciting things you ever do. But what might it cost, how long might it take, and what problems might arise? Thinking about these issues before, rather than after, signing the contract is quite simply the sensible thing to do. It’s about weighing up the potential as well as the risks, and going ahead knowing that you’re making the right decision.
When we first visited this unloved semi-detached family home with our design-conscious clients, it had suffered years of neglect. At this stage, they were nothing more than prospective buyers, but we could already reassure them that this house would be worth their while. Yes, it needed some serious love, attention and money, but we would be with them on the journey. We would take care of Planning and Building Control. We would keep a tight hold of the budget and the schedule, and we would help them make informed and timely decisions. Most importantly, we would save them the worry and stress of coming up against the unknown.
The house is already paying them back handsomely, and not just in terms of value. They love the natural, honest materials, the interesting geometry and the way the light falls. With a rear extension, additional storey to the side and contemporary garden house (all of which we successfully negotiated with Planning), they have all the space they’ll ever need. And their three lucky children can’t quite believe their luck – they have double-height bedrooms with playful mezzanine beds. Everyone’s happy, even the dog.