Buying a 1900 cottage

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    Hi All,

    My husband and I have just found our first house in Woking. Cannot say a dream house; but its the closest one in our budget from the station. But since this is our first property, we are bit worried. And also the fact that the house is not in a very good condition so has been offered in a lower price than the market value. Our concern is, is it worth buying a 1900 built house and then renovate it ? the only positive thing about the house is its 15 mins walk from woking station and close to goldsworth park school. But right from flooring, to kitchen, bathroom, plastering the walls(due to thick and multiple layers of wallpaper) everything has to be remodelled.

    Really in need of good suggestions.




    Hi there!

    I’d think about things like are you going to be able to do some of the work yourself or are you going to need to get in specialist people? For example stripping the wallpaper is something I could do myself (With enough determination!!) but replastering the walls will need someone in to do the job for me.

    Certainly the locality sounds great – 15 minutes from the station where I live in Bedford is a small fortune for a nice house (even one that needs work done to it could still be alot!)



    With a property of this age I would recommend a full survey, particularly since it’s less than market value. It seems like a lot of money to pay but it could save you thousands later on by highlighting structural issues. You’ll be in a better position then to know exactly what problems beyond the cosmetic need fixing and how urgently. Good luck, am currently at survey stage myself!




    Hello there

    In the first instance it would be a good idea to take a builder around – if the work is clear to see they’ll be able to give you a rough estimate of likely costs and time it will take to renovate. Some will estimate free, others will make a charge but it’s much less than a full survey. If their response is acceptable to you then I agree that a full survey should be done so that you don’t come across any nasty/expensive surprises later.
    I’m sure you know you can get a good idea of what the house might be worth after the work by checking on Zoopla or similar sites and looking at local sold prices, or just ask a local estate agent (over the phone, don’t get them around unless you’re serious about selling it on afterwards). If it’s not going to be worth more than or at least the same as the total you’ll have spent then don’t go there, keep looking for something else. It’s very tempting to follow your heart when buying a house, but it’s really important that it makes financial sense too, especially with your first property.




    Hi there. Go for it! We moved from Woking to Beer in Devon to run holiday cottages last year. We had a 1907 house in York Road. We did it up and made lots and lots of money! People want houses within walking distance to the station. The property market in Woking has been hot for years as people are being priced out of London. The train line is 24 minutes to Waterloo. You will make money with a character house. Just take your time and find good people to help you!



    Sparkles hi. A few things that worry me from your post.

    It doesn’t sound like you like the property much.You do need to like what you buy,even if there are bits to be done. It’s not good news to live somewhere you don’t like. Frankly it would be better to live further from the station in something you actually like and buy a bike!

    No harm in buying something that needs a load of work so longs the following are checked out.

    Structurally sound. You should check for subsidence history, roof damp and timber issues especially.
    Establish accurate costs on the work you want to do (several estimates)
    Be sure what you want to do can be done engineering wise.
    Be sure none of it needs planning permission but if it does, obtain that first.
    Get some handle on why it seems “cheap” Nothing around here ever sells ‘cheap” unless there is a reason.

    If the basics are good and the area is good, then there is no reason why you should not buy it and do some work. So long as you don’t overspend for the area and/style/size of property, your money will grow as the market moves on. But don’t expect to make a “fast buck’ by selling on soon after doing the work. That is unlikely to work for you.

    If you want more help feel free to make contact




    Hi All,

    Thank you so much for all the information. That’s really helpful and giving me a little confidence about the purchase.

    @hannah : Yes I guess few works, like taking off the wallpapers, and painting the walls we have to do it on our own to save money to do the big tasks with proper specialists.

    @jo: Yes we are looking for structural surveyors. If you don’t mind me asking, where have you found your property? Then may be you can recommend few good surveyors. i have just started shortlisting the surveyors from Surrey area.

    @Joanna: I am not too sure if the EA guys would really allow builders to get in at this stage; looking at the similar terraced houses within 1/4 mile radius from it they are all being sold at £450k+ there are lots of sales going on in and around the area many properties are in Sold STC state. So I am not too sure about the sale agreed prices. But what i can say houses are not in the market for long time. We got our sale agreed at £390,000. A similar mid terrace house was sold exactly last year in August 2016 at £452,000. Since this property is in a bad state, so the owners marketed at £400,000. We had actually started from £370,000 and got rejected twice and finally got accepted at £390k.

    @helen : That’s good to know that you were in woking. York Road is a lovely area. We had also seen a 2 bed semi but it was little higher than our budget. And there was a lot of competition for it, finally its gone. Can you tell me how is the area around Goldsworth Park school. The areas like the Bridge Barn Lane, Goldsworth Road, The house is just located in a quiet street just parallel to the Goldsworth Road. So ideally the school which has got outstanding rating, the morrisons & the train station station these are all close by.

    @andrew: Actually We are not too obsessed with the house, we liked the location more than the property itself, its 0.8 miles from the station, and the town centre. the best primary school in woking is few yards away, and supermarkets are also close. Only thing which we are worried so much is that we are almost taking 100% of our mortgage. And the condition of the house is not that good. So we are just worried about the renovation costs. I have already posted few jobs in so as to understand how much We would have to spend more to get it up. And also shortlisted few structural surveyors. We want the property for long term at least 5 years. If you don’t mind me asking, could you please recommend some good structural surveyors.

    Thank You All.


    A post from one of our members:

    Firstly congratulations on your first home, we too have purchased our first home in Rochester, Kent. The house is a 1920’s 3 bedroom terrace house it had one owner before us, we’ve decided to renovate it and keep as much as the original features as possible, my partner is able to do most of the work. However we are time poor (work, family, life) so for the big jobs as in plastering and joinery work we’ve decided to have specialists in…lucky for us everything (walls, flooring etc) is in sound condition. I’ll recommend having a go at the jobs you maybe able to do such as stripping wallpaper and sanding wood work and get someone in for the big jobs. It will be a slow progress with a sense of achievement once your home is finished, especially knowing you’ve put in some of the hard work! Wishing you all the best.

    P.S. Our home is far from being finished, I’ve had to exercise a lot of patience…



    Is it habitable? If you love the location, that means a lot. If you have the time, doing the prep (stripping wallpaper etc) saves money, you can do it a few hours each night. I did all the decorating etc on my London house myself in the school holidays while I worked as a teacher full time. It took a while before it was really good and we spent 90K on loft, side extension, relocated bathroom and new kitchen over the years but we made our money back and some – over 22 years… but I really didn’t like it that much when we bought it, but I was pregnant with no 3 and living with my parents, v keen to move.

    Agree on walking round with a general builder, make a detailed list of what you want doing, and get a quote. Then double it and add a 10% contingency. Likewise how long it will take to do. Can you live with builder chaos, or does that drive you mad? From the pricing, suggests you need to spend 60K to bring it in line with the neighbourhood. Of course there may be things the builder doesn’t or can’t spot.

    Good Luck!


    *Currently rebuilding a cottage in Wales.

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