Whilst most of the information on this website is for people who already have a property that they are going to renovate, I thought I would chuck in a blog post about choosing a property in the first place and finding one that has plenty of potential for renovating so you can maximise your return on investment in it.
It can be very difficult to find a property in our cities these days that perfectly meets your needs especially if you have your heart set on a specific area to live in.
In most built up and modern cities, buying a property and then modifying it to suit is often a far easier option and the purpose of this blog post is to show you how to choose properties that are ideal for renovating & extending.
Properties are always ageing and deteriorating, so it’s easy to find properties with potential that will need to be shown a bit of love to get them up to scratch.
The added benefit of course when doing up a house is that you can take a property in dire need of repair and successfully restore it to its former glory and in doing so increase its value in multiples of what the work actually cost.
Refurbish Or Renovate?
When it comes to different levels of work required to a property there are many different terms and it can be a bit confusing so let’s firm that up here.
A refurbishment is the least amount of work required. It involves minor repairs, redecoration and at the very most, a new kitchen and bathroom. It doesn’t involve any structural work.
A renovation is a step up from a refurbishment and it involves the renewal of kitchens and bathrooms, mains services and utilities, roofing, windows and the installation or restoration of interior fittings. It usually involves more building work & sometimes structural alterations.
Now it doesn’t help that these terms get mixed up for larger construction projects here in the UK, for example the London Bridge Train Station revamp is classed as a refurbishment despite requiring a massive amount of heavy duty civil & structural works.
But for the purposes of this article we’ll stick with the definitions above.
Remodelling is a bit more intensive again and definitely requires structural alterations
A Conversion is taking a property of one use such as a GP surgery and converting it into a flat for example, and is generally a combination of the 3 main types above.
Which One Suits You?
The first thing to take note of is how far your budget will stretch, obviously the more work that is required, the more costs that will be involved
The second thing is to decide how much time you can commit to the project.
If you are undertaking a sizeable job then it is wise to hire people to take care of everything for you be it Architects, Engineers, Builders, etc
If you don’t have the funds to hire all these people then you’ll have to do a lot of the work yourself which is very time consuming.
And it’s these 2 points that will pretty much set out what type of project & as a result what level of repairs/renovation that will suit you.
What To Look For
Before we get into specific types of properties we need a general set of guidelines of what to look out for when checking out a potential property.
1) Common Job Properties.
These are houses that are generally ok but do need a new kitchen, bathroom and redecoration.
These jobs are common and easy to do and will give you the highest possible return for the lowest possible cost.
2) Re-Do Disasters
Badly done DIY refurbishments can reduce, not add to the value of a property.
By re-refurbishing these properties professionally you can make them much more desirable and better to live in.
For example, with stone cladding and ‘home made’ porches or conservatories.
3) Potential For Extending
Next we have properties that have good potential for extending and expanding floor space AND need a bit of work done to them as you can usually get them at a good price.
Floor space is at a premium in larger cities.
Adding floor space especially in urban areas will increase the value of your home considerably.
4) Properties Where People Are Still Living In Them
If someone is still living in a house then it’s a good sign that major work might not be required.
If no one is living in the property ask yourself why not… it could well be because of damp, lack of weather proofing, lack of basic facilities (such as plumbing) or even imminent collapse!
This isn’t to say that you can’t renovate a derelict property, and benefit from useful tax concessions on this work – but it will always be more complex.
And the project will cost you much more simply because it will take a lot longer to put the property into a liveable condition.
What Types Of Properties Offer Best Potential For Purchase & Renovation?
While the most important factor in purchasing a property that requires work done to it is always its location, certain types of property can offer much better potential than others.
We’ll now look at 4 that offer great potential.
1) The ‘Golden Age’ Property.
First up are what I called Golden Age Properties
These are properties that are aged between 20 to130 years old.
This type of property falls into the bracket of being in between requiring some refurbishment but not being so old that they require serious repair or specialist work done to them.
Houses built from the 1880’s to the 1930’s in particular are often thought of as the ‘golden age’ of house building, when things were built to stand the test of time.
So it pays to do your homework on the history of the property as chances are that the estate agent won’t have this info readily available.
2) Property That Is Built From Common UK Materials & Construction Practises
Second up are Properties that are built from common UK materials & construction practises.
Examples of common building materials are brick or simple stone, with pitched slate or tile roofs.
These materials are easier and cheaper to work with, it’s also easier to find the builders to do the job, and these materials deteriorate less rapidly.
Buildings of unconventional UK construction consist of houses built with lots of timber, concrete panels or ornate stonework and even thatch.
These might look more interesting but are much more complex and costly to work on PLUS will usually require more maintenance to them after you have finished so there’s ongoing costs to consider too.
3) Victorian and Edwardian Properties.
Victorian & Edwardian houses have lots of space and very desirable after they have been renovated.
They are always very well built with beautiful features which can be restored, and these restored features can add up to 20% to the value of the property so are not to be sniffed at.
4) Frankenstein Properties
During the 1960’s right through to the 80’s many properties were modernised in a very ugly and mishmash kinda way – fireplaces were boarded over, panelled doors were replaced with glass, and wooden and plaster mouldings were ripped out.
By uncovering or restoring these features you can add a lot of value as well as making the place a far better home to live in.
What To Avoid When Choosing A Property
When you start your search for an ideal property to get your teeth into, do not be influenced by estate agent’s claims that a property is ‘ideal for refurbishment,’ ‘suitable for renovation’ etc.
These claims are often misleading and is usually a tactic deployed by the estate agent to try and get a higher than normal price for the property in question.
You can make just as much money and probably more from properties which are not openly advertised as being in need of work to be done to them – so do not limit your search to estate agents claims.
Also don’t get fooled into thinking that the more improvements you make, the more the house will be worth.
This is not necessarily the case.
The house will be capped by market prices for the general house buyer unless you find a special buyer who really likes with what you have done with the place and are prepared to pay more for it.
These buyers are very, very far and few between and I know of people getting stuck with the house after spending a fortune on it.
So there you have a few nuggets of wisdom to help you choose the perfect house whether to live in it or to invest in a renovation and sell it on.
If you have any questions or comments to make by all means leave them in the comments section below.
The Ultimate Terraced House Renovation Information Pack
In the meantime if you would like to know how to layout your house AND make sure that the building work goes as planned then you need to check out a our Terraced House Renovation Information Pack.
This information pack has been developed over the last 16 years in designing & managing peoples renovation projects.
Here are some of the things that are covered:
- Step-by-step, easy to follow instructions that show you how to remodel or reconfigure your terraced house so you can create a tonne of extra space WITHOUT needing planning permission
- How to AVOID BEING RIPPED OFF by builders during the work
- Several remodeled & reconfigured layouts so you can pick and choose what to do with your home
- How to create an AMAZING KITCHEN in your house
- Where to get some other work done to your home that will add a lot to the value of your property
- How to make sure and check that you are getting QUALITY WORKMANSHIP in your renovation
- How to put together a world class bathroom in your home
And this is just a sample!
This info will give you confidence when you deal with builders so you’re not taken for a fool or even worse ripped off.
So to find out more all you have to do is click the link below:
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