Property to renovate: Property finders advice

Published Aug 9, 2019 – 3 mins read

Whether you are searching for property to renovate to your exact preferences and call home or are looking for a project that will return profit there are some key considerations we believe you should include when searching for a property to renovate.

Buying a renovation project

Searching for and buying a property to renovate can be an exciting process of endless possibilities, considering potential properties and what could be done to them.  

The first hurdle is to find a property and establish just how much work will be required. Searching online can seem the most immediate way to source suitable opportunities but the reality is that not all homes listed to be in need of modernisation represent value for money. In fact in many cases, the allurement of being able to put your own stamp on a property can push the price tag up. Each opportunity needs to be thoroughly considered.

It’s important to fully consider the work required to get the property into a liveable condition, the costs involved and the expected timeline. If you’re purchasing a listed property or one within a conservation area there may be different challenges.

Whether you’re buying a renovation project to live in or to sell understanding the financial outlay required is key. If possible, on a second viewing of a property take a long a design and build professional who will be able to provide rough estimates of costs and what will likely be possible.

Call in the professionals

Whilst getting a professional to come along to a second viewing is ideal this is not always possible. Making an offer ‘subject to survey’ allows for you to arrange for a full structural survey to be conducted once a property is secured. A professional, independent surveyor will provide a report on the condition of the property and the rough costs involved to rectify. Whilst these surveys are not cheap they are definitely worth it to avoid any expensive surprises down the line.

Large scale renovation projects will need the input of an architect and maybe also a structural engineer. It’s import to budget for this type of design specialist; they’ll be able to ensure you’re making the best use of the space and determine if you require planning permission

Structural changes

The most costly improvements to make to any property usually include structural changes so ensure they will be absolutely worth the input before applying for planning permission.

There are locations, especially in cities such as London, where home owners often decide to dig a basement, of all the types of property extension basements can be the most costly – engaging a reputable company and planners is extremely important when creating a basement space as the entirety of the property above relies on the structure below to support it.

Updating heating electrics and plumbing

A good surveyor will inspect the electrics and plumbing work thoroughly and provide an indication of what works should be carried out. In some cases a surveyor might point out what can be done but deemed that it is not entirely necessary that the systems be updated immediately. Whilst it can be an added expense, if you are stripping a property back to the shell, installing new electricity and plumbing systems and meters is likely to be a worthwhile investment.

Future planning

Especially in the instance that you are buying the property to renovate and eventually sell, buying in a good location is of utmost importance. Whilst this type of home rarely becomes available in the best areas it can be worth the wait in terms of resale value. With this in mind, it is likely that in family orientated, established and popular areas, when trying to secure a property for renovation you might be competing with end users who do not have to consider margins. Overpaying for the property in the first place can seriously eat into any profits you hope to make.

If the property is to be your home you might be able to justify paying a little over the odds to secure it but be mindful of renovation costs as you don’t want to leave yourself short of cash to make the property into your dream home.

When buying a property to renovate with a view to selling keep in mind that buyers want the house and not necessarily everything to your personal taste. The key is to ensure the property is as neutral as possible.

Buying a renovation project in the UK

For some renovation means total gutting and starting from scratch on a property, others really only want to undertake cosmetic work. Employing an independent surveyor to conduct a full buildings survey can prove invaluable when moving towards a purchase as if he discovers that there is more work to be done than you initial thought it’s not too late to walk away.

As property finders the first tip we would provide to anyone looking for a property to renovate would be to consider the location, property which is ripe for renovation rarely becomes available in the most desirable locations so you may have to be patient. Having a property finder working on your behalf can ensure no opportunity is missed. To learn more about our services and to discuss your requirements in greater detail please contact us without obligation.