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About Me


Found 5 results

  1. Hi all - I'm hoping to get some advice on the below! We are currently in the process of renovating our 1 bed basement flat in London (zone 2). We have received planning approval to remove the old conservatory at the back of the house and replace it with a flat roof structure which will house the kitchen. This involves altering the internal layout of the flat as shown in the floorplans. The footprint of the house is staying exactly the same, it is 600sqft for reference. To complicate matters, our flat flooded during the flash flooding in London last summer so it has currently been stripped back to brick as part of the insurance repair works and drying out process. The flat is now completely dried out and we have put the job out to tender. We have just received quotes from builders to put the flat back together as per the proposed plans. When we received the quotes, I literally fell off my chair. The three quotes were: £270k, £353k and £403k. I am honestly in a state of shock. I'm fully aware that London building costs are unlike anywhere else in the country and that the cost of raw materials has shot up this year, however, these are on another level. I could buy another flat for that last quote! All 3 builders that quoted were aware of the fact that part of this work will be covered by our insurance claim. However, the majority of it won't be i.e. the removal of the conservatory, the change of layout etc. Am I being totally ripped off because they are aware it's an insurance job? I can't understand how someone can physically spend that much money on a 600sqft flat when the footprint of the house isn't changing and we aren't building any new walls! Unless I was coating every ceiling in gold leaf! Any advice would be much appreciated!
  2. Hi everyone, really excited to be here. I'm Axel. After a long process of deliberation between ourselves, me and my partner decided to finally go down the route of buying property in the UK. A bit of background. We are both Spanish from Barcelona, and we came to Solihull 5 years ago now looking for an adventure. The last couple of years we wanted to leave the UK and try going nomad for a while, but in the end we were undecisive. Finally, we have decided that before doing that, we want to create our first base camp somewhere, and that somewhere we prefer it to be the UK. Now, we don't have a lot of specifications, and we are EXTREMELY unfamiliar with all of this. Things we know/wish for are: We don't have a specific location in mind, but location is important. Having a large international airport nearby is key for us. Birmingham has worked well for us so far, and while we know going norther would be cheaper, the airports are not any better, plus we get further away from London options. So ideally, we would be looking anywhere from Birmingham to the South (we know that's the most expensive part though, but still evaluating the options). We don't have a car (we sold it 2y ago as we didn't need or want it) and ideally we would like to live without one. We use Uber and public transport as needed. Meaning it's sort of important not to be fully isolated, even when we like it. Although if the location was amazing cost-wise, we can consider the car no problem. We want a base camp. Not a fully fledged house. And this is key. Our dream about this started when, after traveling a lot and staying at lots of different places, we realised we really didn't need much to live in. 50sqm were quite enough for us, maybe tight, but 70sqm definitely enough. We currently live in a 3 bedroom semi attached house, and while we love it, we could perfectly live in just the base floor if the bedroom was down here. That is including our entire extension/dining room is a huge office. This is a must for us, the office. We work from home, and have 3 screen setups. We have all this on a full sized board table (2440x1220mm). We are happier to have a tiny main bedroom, but a massive office instead. Linked with the previous, we are looking at a less UK standard house. We are European, and while we love our current UK traditional house, we prefer another style. More northern, modern. Here come the wishes: We have been looking at pre-fab houses, and realised they are really cheap. £25k-£75k we should be able to perfectly find something that suits us. With that in mind we thought: "That's actually cheap for a house! How cheap can we get a plot?" And looking a bit, we started seeing plots that ranged a LOT in price. From £10k-£20k all the way to £100k+. This idea of a base camp makes sense for us if we think of aiming at a total cost of around £100k. With some margin. Up to £130k I'd say. Now you might say (what my mum said to the plan) "Well you're not getting a house for that price". Ok... We just want a tiny dog house. Really, don't think based on normal standards. We could definitely live in just our garden space. Think of a container house. You don't need lots of meters for that plot. Can't we get that plot type for up to £30-£70k? That's our mind picture. Is this feasible somehow? We are not in a rush. But we wouldn't like to leave it for a year either. We have been looking at plots at Zoopla, but as I mentioned earlier, we are extreme newbies. They don't teach this in school. We don't know what to look for in a plot. For example, one of the latest I found was this one. In Reading, 1h from London, between 2 houses. Super well connected, perfectly residential area, seems large enough for our case... No idea what's wrong with it for £10k really. Sure, it's an auction, not final price, but... idk. Maybe? What am I missing? We don't know if we need to ask for a mortgage before or after. Or how a self build mortgage (or any mortgage) works at all, or what good rates are. I'm financially literate though, just not familiar with mortgages. (Worried about this as we are both directors of our own LTD. Salaries are set arbitrarily low for tax purposes, and we get paid in dividends. Not sure if that's easily accepted.) We don't know what the process looks like. In my mind it looks like this. Find plot. Find lender and ask for mortgage. Buy plot. Find ??? that checks with Council (?) that you can build what you want in there. Wait until Council approves. Find ??? that designs/plans what you want to build. (If it's the pre fab I guess they directly do this). Pay. Wait for it and oversee every tiny detail as I want it perfect (and the contractors we've had in the UK so far haven't left great impressions). As you can see, no idea of the agents involved in the process, or even their names. Please correct me as much as needed, this is what I came here for. One thing I know I did right. I already opened a LISA for me and my partner and maxed contributions. And I think this is basically it! Being migrants in the UK, we don't have a large acquaintance circle here, and the ones we have are young. So we don't have who to ask for advice on all these processes really. That's why I went to look for an online community and start learning from kind strangers. And here I am! Thank you so much for sticking by this huge wall of text, and I will be super grateful for any help or guide or anything you can share that helps me step forward even just a bit.
  3. We are getting things finalised for our extension and summer house build. The main chosen supply at this stage had been reluctant to give a figure of any sort over the last ten months until we had some drawings, which i get in part. Over the development of the projecr communications have been rapid. And responses swift. People "who understand" the product have been suggested to us but this is the big but no one would seem to give us ball park figures stressing they needed drawings. My partner is a chartered accountant in financial control she LOVES approximate costs. So that's been an added worry. Our design and size isnt anything too unusal.. So 48 hours ago we received the big news of their costs. I guess a big issue has been covid in that they offer trainung usually which i guess they may offer more insight on the product and costs. The architect gave us resssurance on his visit that what we are doing was a ball park figure of less than we had budgeted, not much but a few hundred. So to the quote they had done basically two quotes..which looking over them in detail, im now at a loss as to why they dont do ball park quotes. One extension has been quoted with no doors or Windows to me thats just sloppy. Being told when you work out the doors just deduct them. Windows and doors are on the scaled plan! Which they have said we cant give exact figures til they had the plans. Two quotes one they do all the work, we had stressed in many conversations i intend to PM it and be the main person doing the build buying in elements from others again talking to their staff you could buy days of their time. 48 hours ago that talk was lacking again, having been told at Swindon what we had requested IS information they have and do distribute! Frustrating we cant have it. We were looking at two forms of ICF from thsse people, chosen because of the ability we have been told to do it ourselves. Then they suggest as a urgent need a soil survey at sub 5k... Oh then on the quote they have included delivery in four parts which we had been told would be able to delivered on one wagon but each element has a delivery charge. 990 1080 700 750 Which the dev manager says oh we can talk about those...talk about them? Too right when the materials cost circa 20k The site is an accessible surburban setting the materials are being distributed and delivered to 80 miles or so 70 plus of the trip being on the m1. I feel a bit mugged off if truth be told.
  4. Hi all, I've come across this forum and am pleased to have joined as it appears to be a great resource - and boy do I need some help and guidance haha! We own (well the bank does) a semi-detached property in Surrey and have recently employed a company to create planning and building regs drawings and to act as our agent throughout these processes. Ultimately, we are on a tight budget so will be seeking all tips and advice that I can get my hands on. I have tried to do much research so for instance, will be keeping the extension very square to keep costs at a minimum. Unfortunately I have been furloughed (albeit very grateful for the support I'm receiving under this scheme) so have taken the questionable decision to progress the build with some speed so that the budget we do have, isn't squandered away on our monthly living costs. I'll worry about the other side on the other side. There are a few things that I could do with some general advice on and any relevant tips too please. If any of you can help with the below then please do let me know... - Does anyone have a detailed list/spreadsheet which breaks down the numerous areas of costs associated with such builds that you'd be happy to share with me please? - Some people are suggesting not to serve notice under the 3rd party wall act. I am reluctant to take this approach but am concerned that my neighbour may well try to frustrate this process at every opportunity so as much as I'd like to work constructively with them, I suspect that they are unlikely to help to keep this as simple as possible. Any tips here please? I will be building within 3 metres of their outbuilding but not there main house and I will be retaining side access of at least one metre. - Is it generally cheaper to get a builder to complete all works or to firstly source contractors/companies for the elements where I have contacts (e.g. I know a roofer, a Gas Safe engineer, an electrician etc.). I will ultimately compare options like for like but wondered if anyone has some loose guidance here. Thanks in advance and I look forward to receiving as much info as possible.
  5. In the parents new wet room (the foundations are being done tomorrow), we shall have a concrete floor over insulation. As its for elderly folks who feel the cold, I need to make sure the room is warm enough for them. We only have electric in the bungalow and no central heating (its a warm air system). So my plan is electric mat UFH, tiling over it, and an electric heated towel rail on a timer to come on in the morning about an hour before they have a shower. I am looking at the following for the UFH. https://www.theunderfloorheatingstore.com/electric-underfloor-heating/underfloor-heating-loose-cables/warmup-loose-wire-underfloor-heating-kit the room is 2.7m by 1.8m with units along one wall so am looking at a system to cover about 3.5m2. But Dad is worried about the cost of running it. What can I tell him? Presumably it only heats when it needs to come up to temperature so it will not be on all the time. Any advice welcome!
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