The idea of buying an unmodernised property can be attractive, offering potential to add value and put your own stamp on a property, making a handsome profit when it comes to selling.
Simon Barnes says: “Renovating a house well pays you in the long run because you can do it exactly as you want. And you’ll have the certainty that the quality will be of a higher standard because you will have overseen the work, rather than a developer, who will not have as lavish a budget.
From a seller’s point of view, it is much better to purchase from someone who has renovated by themselves for themselves. However, it is important to know what you are letting yourself in for. People think things will be straightforward to do and they end up being far harder. For example, if you live in a small terrace or narrow street with limited or no space for trucks or a skip, building work can prove a major headache and logistical nightmare.
Equally, if you’re in a terraced house without direct access from the road to the garden, building a rear extension can turn out to be a big problem, requiring hand digging in the absence of proper machinery. A top floor flat requiring scaffolding will mean you will need to pay for it to be erected to go up the entire building. If you’re certain you want an unmodernised property, make sure the first step you take is to get a survey done ahead of making an offer.
It simply isn’t worth waiting until you have instructed solicitors and had your offer accepted, because haggling post offer can be tricky and unsuccessful. However, if you present a survey with proof of all the work that’ll need doing when making the initial offer, you are far more likely to secure a better more reasonable price from the off, saving time and money for everyone down the line. Whether it’s underpinning a house to correct subsidence, getting a new roof or rewiring the whole place, everything can be done.
The key thing to remember is that building work always takes longer and costs more than you anticipate.”