Just left 1920s Unhealthy Home rental. Dreaming of renovating it.

Dean Bromley
4 months ago
last modified: 4 months ago

What do you think of this 1920s bungalow layout? Do you instantly see things you would do it it? Could you work with it, or is it terrible?

I flatted in this house for 12+ years, and have just had to move out due to the landlord now selling because of Healthy Homes. It's up for auction soon.

(If you click to zoom, and then drag that image to a new tab, you can see it big.)

All the dimensions are a guess – this was done not from the house, but I think I've got it very accurate regardless. (And most of this is rounded off to the nearest 5cm, because I used 1cm for 1m, with a grid of 20.) I did this both for memory's sake, because I have an emotional attachment to the house and would buy it if I could, and so I can draw over top of it of what I would do to it. I've had 12+ years to come up with ideas and I've got lots. The only way I'd like to see it demolished is if it was at my command and I was building something that recreated the things I like about it.

I find the crazy asterisk style layout fun. Everybody comments on that centre room. The bedrooms are the biggest weakness. One is noisy (which can probably be fixed), one is tiny, one is unbearably hot, and I'm sure the people who lived in concrete block one have complaints.

Here it is on Trademe:

I really want to buy it.

Comments (6)

  • Tony Spark
    2 months ago

    Go for it. Nothing is more satisfying than seeing your old house transformed. Cheers.

  • Rosemary Gauthier
    last month

    Hope you didn't buy it. I have been renovating all my life and apart from the wild layout, it has someone driving down the side of the house a real no no for the future value of your investment. Sorry to be so negative, hope you have found another little gem, there's always another house, if you watch and wait.

  • pottsy99
    last month

    There is very little that is good sorry , and personally I think you deserve a medal if you lived there with 3 or 4 flatmates for 12 years .

    There is what is likely to be a dark bathroom with a little window opening into an entry alley . Then everyone has to go almost into the concrete block bedroom to go to the toilet -- you'd pick up speed coming down the steps haha .

    There is no real dining room , so being a flat , I'm guessing you eat on your knees in the lounge ( or eat out haha ) . Then there is the bedroom through the fireplace -- is that the noisy one ? And it backs onto the kitchen too -- that would be great trying to have a sleep in on a Sunday etc .

    Then , like you said , one bedroom is tiny , one is hot , one is concrete block .

    Even if it is dirt cheap -- why ? You hardly get mail these days , so keeping the same mailing address isn't a great hassle either . Buy it for the land value , less the demo cost , would be my maximum -- rebuild as soon as you can IMO .

  • Dean Bromley
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I couldn’t buy it. I was dependent on 3 other people to pay the rent, and have just $15,000 in Kiwisaver.

    Every Big Wednesday I think “If I win, I’m gonna find out who’s got it, and offer them whatever it takes to get it off them”. It might not be a good deal, but it’s my home. I could write a whole essay on how perfect that spot is. My whole life revolved around living in THAT EXACT SPOT.

    I twice told the landlord and the agent together that I want the house, but can’t afford it. The second time I said “If there’s any helper person that can buy the house for me, that’s what I want to do”. Alas no. That might sound laughable, like the ultimate in dreaming, but of course I was gonna ask.

    It has an RV of $500,000 ($440,000 land, and $60,000 house). It sold for $508,000. To renovate it would be almost building new: at most you’d keep the perimeter wall, what isn’t rotten of the framing and weatherboards, and everything else would have to be new. So you’re getting up near a million no matter what you do.

    Re: Deserving a medal for living there for 12+ years: There were spots you couldn’t stand on the floor. The floor wasn’t remotely level – people got a kick out of how it ramped up and down. The bathroom ceiling was covered in mould (though I’m sure I killed it). Weeds and ivy grew through the walls into the interior. Termites and clothes moths had eaten it. Every windy day when I got home form work, I was scared to look at the roof, thinking “Is it still there?” Of course Healthy Homes killed it as a rental. Staying so long was my way of staking claim to it in whatever little way I could ‘cause I couldn't let go of the spot.

    I ate at my computer desk, with is the kind of desk I had in primary school. I liked to jump down those two steps leading to the toilet. I did pick up speed like you guessed, and had to put the breaks on myself each time.

    Yes, that bedroom is the noisy one. I had that one. I go to sleep at 6PM to get up at 2AM, and it was near impossible to get sleep in that room. Though the 90's house I'm flatting in at the moment has cheaper walls even worse for keeping the sound out.

  • pottsy99
    last month

    I don't want to be too critical , but did you ACTUALLY sit down and do the sums ?

    Right now , we have low interest and higher capital gain , but on a property like that you will need 20% deposit , for good reason ( even aside from the LVRs , imagine if the place got even worse and/or legally made uninhabitable ) .

    But its likely that we will be past 10% interest rates in the next 10 years , so 10% on $500k is $50,000 a year , plus $25,000 a year to pay off capital . Plus rates and insurance . $1500 a week , for what sounds like a barely legal residence . $1 million you double that . $150,000 a year . Do you earn that ? Because you can't always guarantee you will have reliable flatmates -- what happens if you meet the love of your life , and have kids , or she ( or he ) already has kids . And she/he doesn't want to/isn't able to get a job .

    Yes , I'm looking at ( almost ) worst case , but in the 80's when I bought my first house I was paying 18% interest , but even then I had more than $15k deposit on a $68k house . Sorry if that reads too negative , or if I'm an 'entitled boomer' or whatever , but we all have to live in the real world .

  • Dean Bromley
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I know how the numbers stack up. I had no delusions about banks lending to me or anything. Back when I made the median income for a full time wage earner, I still couldn’t buy a house. I make less now.

    I drew up the plan so I could draw over top of it solely for my own entertainment – not expecting to actually get the house, ‘cause this sort of thing interests me. I’ve got lots of pictures of houses collected on my computer. I would often pick a pencil and paper and draw alterations to the house.