Monday, January 21, 2013


Okay. So, the house we're trying to buy. Our solicitor said our focus has to be "mortgage, mortgage, mortgage." And it is.  I've been in touch with the mortgage department today three times already.  We're hopeful that we'll have the mortgage offer in the next few days.  And then can go to missives (binding contract).  Ha.  Am I going to read this in a few weeks and laugh that I thought we'd get the mortgage offer this week?

However, since I'm thinking about this house a lot and I can't keep calling the bank, we're also laying the ground work for when we can officially start planning.   One thing we learned from the Cardiff house is that the planning process takes ages, and since we're renting a flat/apartment until the house is habitable, delays can be expensive.   We're trying to get as much planning done before we take ownership as possible.  We've made a preliminary budget by talking to a few trades people and used our costs from the Cardiff renovation as a guide.

We hired a surveyor to prepare a buyers report* for us in addition to the valuation (it was £95 extra for the full report.)  As a follow-up from the report, we are arranging a survey for damp.  (We expect damp, but want to make sure the entire ground floor is not rotting!)

I kind of have my heart set on a double-storey side extension, adding a living room downstairs and another bathroom and bedroom upstairs.  We met with the architect.  And met with a friend of Niall's that is a quantity surveyor (cost engineer) .  I don't know if we are going to be able to afford the double-storey extension I want.  But we'll see.

One thing the architect suggested was that we try and find what we can about the house, including the drainage and sewer plans.  The local authority suggested that we go to the archives of the Mitchell Library to see if there are any plans.  Niall took a shot at it today and hit pay dirt!  He found the original plans for our house type (from 1923), and has ordered a copy.  The plans are so pretty.  Hopefully they will prove useful.   (You know, if the mortgage offer comes through and we buy the house.)

*In Scotland a seller has to provide a home report.  Unless, like this purchase, it's a private sale.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Maybe We Are Buying a House?

After seven months of serious property searching and five offers that didn't work out, we are hopeful that this property is going to be ours. It's a 3-bed semi-detached house in Kelvindale, Glasgow. We found it through the flyer that I pushed through the door about five months ago.  It wasn't ever on the market, but in addition to us there were a few developers that were interested.  It went to a closing on Tuesday and our offer was accepted.  (Ha.  Which means we were the fools that offered the highest price.  But we're trying to make a family home, not a profit, so we can pay a little more.)  We're working on getting a mortgage in place now.  Fingers crossed!

The place has been vacant for a long while.  At least a year.  I'm hoping at least two so we can get a VAT discount.  It hasn't been updated in decades.  Everything needs to be ripped out, and we'll need to get new electrics and install gas/heating.

Here's the outside of the property.

The back garden is really overgrown.  I want to take out the trees.  There may be an outbuilding in the garden, but with so much vegetation we aren't sure!

The back window frame is completely rotten (it's the worst rot the surveyor said he has seen) and the glass is broken.  We'll need to replace all the windows in the property.  The back render also needs to be repaired.

All the downpipes and gutters are corroded and need to be replaced.

But I still think it's a pretty house!

There's this funny little garage.  The garage roof is asbestos.

The front room has this fireplace.  But no chimney stack.

There's a bay window with a leaking roof, and here's another view of the front reception room.  I kind of like the door.

Here's the back reception room (dining room?)  It has the broken window.  There's some rising damp in this room.

We would like to take out the chimney breast and knock through to the kitchen, which is on the other side of the chimney breast wall.  We'll have to take out the whole chimney to open the room up!

Surprise!  Here's the kitchen.

It has this little understair larder, which apparently has mice in it.  Vermin are included in the purchase.  Maybe we could make this into a little downstairs WC/half toilet?

The entry way is a decent size, with a little coat closet next to the entry.  The door is not safety glass and needs to be replaced as soon as possible.


The landing has a little closet on the left.  There's a ladder for access to the attic.

There are three bedrooms total, here's the entry into the front two bedrooms.

The bathroom.  There's so much black mold on the ceiling it looks like there was a fire!

The front larger bedroom (with another fireplace that doesn't have a chimney stack.)   This bedroom is directly above the front reception room.

The front smaller bedroom.  It has polystyrene tiles on the ceiling, which will be coming down.  The photo is quite dark as there isn't any electricity in the house right now.

The third bedroom, in the back, is a decent size.

If we knock through the dining room into the kitchen downstairs, we'll need to take out the chimney breast in this room as well.

The attic was probably updated in the 1950's.  It's full of all sorts of crazy contraptions.

So, yes.  The house needs a lot of work.  But it's a blank canvas! It still isn't ours, but we're hopeful!