Renovating an outdated property is a brilliant way to add value to a home. Whether you plan to ‘flip’ the property – selling it on quickly to make a profit – or make it your long-term family residence, it’s a strategy that could reap rewards.
Here at Roger Coupe we regularly market ‘fixer-uppers’ in Cranleigh and the surrounding villages, and this autumn we have a number of interesting projects coming up for sale. But what are the pros and cons of buying a house that’s ripe for refurbishment? Here we discuss the benefits - and the possible pitfalls . . .
Do your homework
When you fall in love with a property, it can be tempting to charge ahead with the sale without giving careful thought to the true scale of any work involved. This can lead to the deal falling through at the last minute when reality dawns – a frustrating situation for everyone involved.
Unless you’re a savvy builder with experience in property renovation, you should always commission a structural survey to highlight any hidden issues. Remember, a mortgage valuation is not the same as a homebuyer survey: the former is simply a general look at a property to assess its current market value, rather than a detailed defect report.
There are various different types of homebuyer survey, with the most expensive costing between £500 and £900 depending on the size of the property. While this is a considerable outlay, it’s a worthwhile investment that will be a huge help when getting realistic quotes for any repair or remedial works for problems such as damp, rot or subsidence.
Seek advice on planning regulations
Check whether the property is a listed building, or situated in a conservation area, as either factor could affect plans for alterations and extensions.
Whether or not a building is listed, it’s still subject to the usual planning rules and regulations, which are overseen by your local planning authority. Many local councils, including those that serve our area - Waverley Borough Council and Horsham District Council – offer pre-application planning advice.
Work with recommended experts
If you’re moving to a new area, it can take a while to build contacts with reputable tradespeople. Ask neighbours for recommendations, or check out reviews on business directories that vet their traders, such as Checkatrade or TrustMark. Tempting as it is to go with the cheapest quote, this isn’t always cost effective in the long run.
Preserve original features – but only where practical
If you’re buying an older home that hasn’t been updated for many years, the chances are you may uncover some attractive original features, such as Victorian hall tiles, fireplaces or original floorboards.
It’s worth preserving these features if possible, as they can add period charm and value to the property. However, don’t salvage original fittings at the expense of practicality; ill-fitting sash windows or draughty floorboards will affect your home’s energy rating and might lower the resale value.
Build in a contingency fund
Even if you’ve done your homework and agreed on quotes from trusted tradespeople, most projects go over budget. Factoring in an overspend of between 10 and 20% should allow for any unwelcome surprises. And if your refurb is one of those rare projects that comes in under budget, you have the luxury of an untouched contingency fund that can be ploughed into your next project (or splurged on luxuries like garden landscaping!).
Feeling inspired? Renovation projects for sale in Surrey and West Sussex
If you’re thinking of buying a home in need of modernisation, we might have just the project you’re looking for. Recent sales include a tucked-away bungalow in an acre of land in Ewhurst, a Classic family home in the sought after Woodland Avenue in Cranleigh and a detached house in an elevated position just off Smithwood Common.
For a detailed list of what’s currently available, check out our website now. New properties are coming onto the market all the time, so if you can’t see any suitable options online, please don’t hesitate to give us a ring on 01483 268555, drop us an email, or call into our office on Cranleigh High Street.