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Published on : April 11, 2019 17:17

8 top tips for home buyers taking on a renovation property

Buying a property that’s in need of some work is one way to leap a couple of rungs on the property ladder.

It’s the best way that buyers can move to their preferred postcode without breaking the bank on a new home.

In fact, new research by Rightmove revealed that over 90% of homebuyers would consider buying a property that needed renovating.

Ultimately, it’s a great way to get more accommodation for your money if you’re on a tight budget.

Although the prospect of a renovation project can seem quite exciting, it’s not for the faint-hearted.

The experts on Grand Designs might make it look like a piece of cake, but if you’re looking to take on your first ‘fixer-upper’ there are a few things you need to know before you start.

1. Be wary of building regulations and planning permission

If you’ve got big plans for your fixer-upper and you want to extend or make any external changes to the property, you’re going to need planning permission.

If your property project doesn’t get the green light from the council, you can wave goodbye to your Grand Design dreams before you’ve even started.

Some properties are listed with planning permission already granted, so it’s vital to do your research before you buy.

If you’re searching for the perfect renovation project in a certain area, it’s worth looking at what other homeowners in that area have got away with for guidance.

You also need to make sure you’ve got permission to carry out any internal modifications before you go breaking down walls.

Building regulations set standards for the design and construction of buildings. This is to ensure the safety and health for people in or about those buildings.

If you’ve got intricate plans for the inside of your pad, you need to make sure they’re approved before you carry out any work.

For more information on building regulations and planning permission, click here.


2. Commission a full building survey

Once you’ve found your ideal fixer-upper, you’re going to need to know of any problem areas the property might have. A full building survey will dig up any damage that might not be initially visible.

From these reports, you’ll be able to calculate the cost of repairs and see whether that fits within your budget. Once you’ve got a well-rounded picture of the condition of the property, you can decide whether you want to buy it.

Click here for more information on building surveys.

3. Consider how much stress you can handle

The word renovation means a lot of different things to different people. Some want to make a few simple cosmetic updates to bring the property back into 2018.

Others are up for getting their hands dirty and knocking down walls to create their dream open-plan layout.
With these kinds of projects, it’s not always about the budget. You have to consider your main motives for doing the work and how much disruption you can manage.

4. Find the right mortgage lender

You’re going to need to fund the purchase of your renovation property with a mortgage – but not all lenders will let you borrow money for large projects.

Some lenders will refuse to lend on properties that are uninhabitable. Others will lend based on the current value of the house but will then not lend anything further until the project is complete and the property can be re-valued.

So it’s really important that you do your research and find a mortgage that’s right for you.

For help and advice on mortgages, please click here.


5. Create a realistic budget

Although you can bag a bargain when it comes to a run-down property, you have to be careful not to overspend on the renovations.

It’s so easy to get carried away in the early stages, detailing exactly what you want your dream home to look like. However, you need to be realistic about the amount of time and money that you’re going to spend on the property.

The best way to budget is to create a spreadsheet listing all the things you want to do to the house. Make sure you list everything from fitting a new kitchen to re-plastering. Then get quotes on labour and materials and fill in the columns – this will give you a good idea of how much the whole project is going to cost.

6. Start at the top and work down

This point is particularly important if you’re living in the house whilst renovating. Imagine spending months creating the perfect ground floor to only make it messy when you start on the upper floor loft conversion.

Always do the necessary and transformative structural work first too – it’ll make the house stable, and is both disruptive and expensive.

7. Get the experts on side

You may be tempted to do everything yourself, but remember that doing a job badly and getting someone in to put it right can be more expensive than employing an expert in the first place.

Assess the DIY jobs that you can realistically tackle yourself and leave the big jobs to the professionals.


8. Set a little extra money aside for any unexpected costs

You might have planned your budget right down to the penny, but sometimes life throws unexpected curve balls.

With any project, you want to add a budget cushion in case you encounter an unexpected expense. This is especially true when you’re planning on buying a fixer-upper. You never know what surprises you’ll encounter once work starts.

You should aim to have 10 to 15 per cent of the project cost as a contingency. This will ensure that you’ve got enough money to tackle any expected costs the project might throw at you.

Hopefully, these top tips have made you feel a little more confident about buying you first fixer-up.

If you’ve not yet found ‘the one’, here are a few properties that are prime for renovation.

Mile End Lane, Stockport

Click here for more details on this property.

Southway, Droylsden

Click here for more details on this property.

Pine Street, Woodley

Click here for more details on this property.

Connaught Street, Manchester

Click here for more details on this property

Ellenbrook Close, Gorton

Click here for more details on this property.

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