It can often seem like property with potential can be hard to come by, and it is often the case that when you find a suitable property it is in such demand that you feel pressured into paying over the odds in order to secure your dream project property.
Not all homes with potential require a complete overhaul, it might be that they require only an extension to one floor, that the layout needs to be reconfigured or even that just an cosmetic improvement of what’s currently in place.
Identifying property with potential and understanding what might be possible is something a property finder can help with.
There are many different types of ways you can add to or improve property; from side returns to full restorations, simple redecoration and building new outbuildings.
Side return extension
One of the most obvious types of property with potential is a small property that has room to extend. On many Victorian and Edwardian terraced properties, it is often the case that there is the ability to extend into the side return. This often unused part of the garden can be built upon to create a large open plan living space or additional rooms as is suited to the property.
Period property restoration and renovation
These are the properties that often command a premium when they come to the market – an untouched relic that might be being sold as probate, you might be lucky enough to find one for sale at auction but it is often the case that these are sold on the open market and garner considerable attention.
Original period features that can be restored to their former glory and built around to create beautiful homes where old meets new are in high demand but buyers should be wary that if these type of homes have not been lived in for some time or not looked after they will likely have hidden issues that can be costly to fix so we would always recommend for our clients to instruct a professional to conduct a full structural survey.
Without planning permission already being in place it can be difficult to establish whether or not you would obtain permission to extend a property. Homes are often advertised for sale with the agent including a line such as ‘potential to extend STPP’ – STPP means subject to planning permission. This means the agent believes there is the potential to extend but that the buyer would need to get planning permission so it is not guaranteed that an extension would be possible.
If you are serious about the property but it will only work on the basis you can extend and create more space you should engage local planning professionals to explore the options. There is also logic in looking at what neighbours might have done to their homes as there is an argument to say if one home has it the council are in theory ok with similar alterations to other homes nearby. Again, we stress until planning permission is granted nothing is guaranteed.
It might be that your plans for extension fall within the remit of permitted development which allows for the improvement and extension of homes without planning permission so this is also worth looking into or consulting with a professional who will be able to advise.
You might be looking at a property that already has a single-storey extension, it might be the case that it is possible to build on top of the extension to create another bedroom or bathroom upstairs.
A property might have enough floor space in terms of square footage but the layout isn’t ideal. Open plan living is particularly popular and knocking a wall down to create one space will have a huge impact and improve the property significantly. Considerations, when taking out walls and reconfiguring a property, are whether or not they are load-bearing walls. It will cost more to remove the wall and will need more thought and consideration if it is load-bearing and supporting the weight of the structures above.
It might also suit you better if the kitchen was relocated, this isn’t always as simple as moving the units and white goods as kitchens require pipework for water and often gas in and out of the property so talk these ideas through with a professional too. It’s not impossible to do and can often dramatically improve the look, feel and value of a property.
One way to quickly update a property, a method which is tried and tested is to install new bathrooms or a new kitchen, or both. These rooms can begin to feel outdated, especially appliances in a kitchen, updating these rooms can immediately transform the overall look and feel of a property.
Many period homes do not have a downstairs toilet. When bathrooms moved upstairs what used to be the bathroom was often turned into the kitchen and the downstairs cloakroom disappeared. Many homes add a downstairs toilet in creative spaces such as under the stairs.
Where space allows and planning is permitted some homeowners choose to build an outbuilding in the garden which might serve as a home office or studio or guest house. Permission is usually easily granted on homes which have a more permanent structure already in place such as a stone-built storage shed or garage in the garden.
Homes can often be ‘ugly’ on the outside but have everything a buyer desires internally and be positioned in an ideal location. All is not lost as there is often a fix for an ugly exterior – consult a builder to see what is possible to give a property a facelift.
Whilst most homeowners have taken steps to become more and more energy-efficient in recent years there are still homes that have terrible energy ratings. New windows, heating system and improved insulation can all contribute positively and improve a home’s energy efficiency. The energy performance certificate might include recommendations for improvements and a surveyor might also have input.
Finding a property with potential
If you’re set on finding a home with potential, a property which you can add to and improve to match your personal preferences, our team of professional property finders can help. Finding a true opportunity can seem impossible especially if you do not have the time.