Buying a Renovation Property

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Added on July 15th 2020

Buying a renovation property is one of the most exciting things you can do, but it’s also one of the most intense, demanding and relentless. It’s certainly not for the feint-hearted and that’s why if you can’t stop thinking about that wreck on the outskirts of that village you’ve always loved, you’ll need some tips.

Sort out your budget

You need to know what you can afford in the first phase, as well as in the “final touches” phase which can go on for a while but is much less intense. When you have your initial budget, add another 15-20% on for contingencies. There’ll always be something you didn’t for see, such as woodworm, a lightning strike or just random delays that mean staying in a short-let rental for an extra couple of weeks.

The most expensive renovations include rewiring the electrics, solving damp problems, laying new floors and replacing window frames. If you’re living in the property, this will save a lot of money as you won’t be paying a mortgage or rent on anywhere else.

Conduct in-depth viewings

You don’t just do your regular walk-around viewing with a renovation property; you need to find out what needs to be done and what you’re likely to have to spend.

On your second or third viewing, bring along a surveyor with you. He or she will be able to make a rough assessment and compile an initial report detailing what you’ll need to do and what it should cost. These reports cost between £200 and £300 and can be well worth it as they can help you to make a final decision either way.

Should you make an offer?

You should never underestimate the sheer amount of hard work involved with a renovation. You also have to factor in the rest of your life – work, school, family and soon – because they’ll all have to mesh in.

Similarly, never underestimate the costs. Do the maths several times and then several more.

When you’ve got the details pinned down, listen to your intuition. If you’ve always had a good feeling about the locale and you know at least one set of friends will be happy to don overalls and pick up a paintbrush once in a while, go for it.

You need to feel confident and upbeat, but also keep your excitement in check. You’re in this for the long haul, so make sure you have the practical and financial side wrapped up.

Once your offer has been accepted…

Get your surveyor back for a more in-depth report. This more thorough report can help you to fine-tune your offer or prepare more financial back-up, as well as highlight any tricky aspects to the renovation.

It’s a good idea to keep your surveyor on throughout the project if it’s likely to run into six figures because he or she can manage the project and the finances and save you money in the long run.

You can start getting quotes from builders at this point, but you’re best-advised to agree on a fixed price for the project rather than looking at day rates. If your renovation is going to be an extensive project with a lot of remodelling, you might need an architect as well.

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