We tend to find that our potential property buyers sit in two camps: Those who want to remain relatively stress-free, move into a place and not do much work (if any) to a property, and those who relish the thought of getting their hands on a property and completely changing it by buying a renovation project.
If you’re in the latter camp, you’ll probably feel a mix of excitement and nerves when you think you’ve found a potential property project, and the rewards for buying a ‘doer-upper’ can be really great.
With a steady stream of doer-uppers coming onto the market with us in the Bromley area, we thought we’d share our top tips if you’re thinking of getting stuck into some building work on a potential new home…
Consider your budget
Working out what you can afford is obviously the first consideration when it comes to buying a renovation project. By buying a cheaper property, you’ll effectively save on stamp duty, which increases as the cost of the property goes up. By buying a cheaper house that needs more work that could one day be worth much more with some tlc, you’re essentially saving money in the long run.
However, with a renovation project, you may need to pay for things you didn’t anticipate, and it’s a good idea to build in some contingency budget for if unexpected costs occur. You’ll also need to think about whether you’re doing the work yourself, or using a building team, plus factor in detailed surveys and architects.
Some of the repairs that can be very expensive to fix when renovating a home, including damp, missing roof tiles, plumbing, rewiring electrics and replacing rotten window frames. If you can’t live in the property whilst the work is being carried out, then you might need to pay for both mortgage and rent.
Viewing and buying a renovation project
Taking along the builder you’d like to use and/or building surveyor to a viewing on the property will help you get an idea of the renovation costs. An independent building surveyor would visit a property with you for a ‘walk around’ at a cost of around £250 and will then follow-up with rough costs for the work (but not a full report). You can then use this information to make a decision about whether or not to put an offer in on the property. A good estate agent like Bromley Property Company can advise you as to what a property might be worth once any proposed work is finished, and whether or not there would still be a ceiling price on the property.
Making an offer, and building work, planning and regulations
If you’re confident you can afford your project, you can go ahead and make an offer.
Once your offer has been accepted, we suggest that you organise a full building survey from a qualified building surveyor. This may highlight any issues you need to go back to the seller on and come to an agreement over. For a large (over 6 figure) project, a Quantity Surveyor can assist with managing the project finances, and whilst it may seem like an outlay, they’ll help save you money in the long run.
At this point, you can get builders to come and quote, and if you do invest in a quantity surveyor they can help you manage that process. If you’re planning on extending and significantly remodelling, you’ll need to instruct an architect. Don’t forget that there are rules around planning and building regulations to be aware of. Start with the government’s Planning Portal (England and Wales). The Bromley Council planning page on their website can help you see what work will need approval.