Converting Two Flats into One House

9 Jan 2011
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United Kingdom
Hi There friends.

I have a question that I could really appreciate some learned and experienced advise on with regards to home conversions.

We have an Edwardian house (1904-1908 built) which was converted into two x two bedroom flats in the late 1960's/early 1970's. We purchased the upstairs property on a repayment mortgage in 2005 and then when the opportunity came up, the downstairs a couple of years later on a buy-to-let with the long term view of converting them back into a single house. Spending a good few days scouring the internet, I've found that what were doing is uncommon considering most people do the opposite (house to flats)

Though we understand that there is likely to be a LOT of work to do this, we find the location, facilities and, ultimately, the final expected size of the full house hard to match if we looked for a standalone house elswhere.

There's LOTS we'd like to do to the property (fully doubleglaze the property, replace the floors/carpets, loft conversion, etc) but as we're looking for this to be our long term home, we're not in a desperate rush to get all this done. We just want to concentrate on the fundamentals of getting the property back into one affordably and then do what we need to over the many years ahead of us.

We've never done something like this before so I'm just looking to ask if anyone else has done this before and for some advice on how to best proceed with this conversion and confirm whether it would be cost effective/realistic for us to do so.

The two key questions I have are:

(1) What are the bare minimum requirements (besides the mortgage) required to have both flats converted to a single house with a single mortgage and roughly how much would it cost to do? The list I've come up with is:

* Planning permission and building control approval for the work )Don't believe we need as both flats were part of one house and we have the land registry details/plans showing the post conversion state of the each property)
* Speak to lenders to arrange single mortgage for upstairs and downstairs
* Secure "Deed of Substituted Security" from banks to move the mortgage into a single freehold title
* Merge the 2 leasehold titles into the freehold title (approx £50 per title from what I can tell)
* Merging gas into single inlet
* Merge central heating into one inlet
* Merging water into single inlet (likely have to get a water meter fitted)
* Merging electricity into single inlet (Do we need to redo all of the electrics?)
* Remove upstairs kitchen
* Have council come and remark council tax bracket (council needs to see one front door and one kitchen)

(2) Given the two differing mortgages on each property, what is the best way to merge them back into one? Given the current economy, I'm thinking the only reasonable way of being able to do this is having one of our existing lenders take over the other (if they will at all - I'm planning to speak to both over the coming week) Is there a procedure or process detailing what we'd need to do?

I appreciate there is a lot of information in there but I'd really appreciate some advice and any real life experiences of people having done similar. As I have a growing family, I need to figure out whether it'll be worth our undertaking this project (our preference given all of the benefits of the single house we see) or bite the bullet, make the sacrifices and sell up and get a single house if we can.

Thanks in advance.

Tav :?:
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It's an expensive way to go, consider what the properties are worth individually as they are, and what the whole building would be worth in it's current state, then you'd probably find it better to find a similar property in the area, and if you pay slghtly over the odds, you'd still have a binful of cash to spare which pay off large chunk of your mortgage(s).

Sorry not to be of more help with the other questions, as you say this is unusual, it's a shame that many very nice large houses are converted into two but financially it's a one-way street.

Get the flats valued and check out similar before you consider anything else.

Spending a little bit (wisely) on the current properties may add value before you come to sell.

Altrernatively, IF you could rent them and easily cover the mortgages with the rental money, AND can muster up a good deposit for another property, you might be better keeping them both AND moving.
Tricky to do in the current mortgage market but it depends on your situation.
I'm considering the same venture as your post. Can you let me know what you decided to do? I am considering buying the flat downstairs to convert back into one house and your post was very useful. If you were successful, I would welcome your advice. Cheers.

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