7 top tips if you’re considering a refurb property
How do Artex ceilings, avocado bathroom suites and rotten window frames make you feel when looking at properties for sale? While some purchasers will recoil at the prospect, others relish the opportunity to rip out, refurbish and make their own mark.
We’ve always helped a band of buyers who are in search of their next fixer-up property and now new data shows that more home movers are shunning the perfect property in favour of a project.
Rightmove analysed more than 600,000 property listings, exploring the relationship between the features mentioned in the description and the number of enquiries the property generated. The results enabled the portal to create a top 10 of most in-demand features and a renovation project topped the list.
Rightmove’s analysis also sheds light on why fixer-uppers are suddenly in favour. The average asking price of a renovation property is more than £29,000 lower than the current national average asking price for all types of homes. Of course, the initial financial savings has to be balanced with the cost to renovate the property but the price difference is providing motivation.
If you are tempted to buy a property that needs work, there are a number of considerations before you get carried away. We’ll briefly touch on these below but always consult with relevant specialists or trade professionals for more detailed advice and costings:-
1. Agree where you’ll live during a refurbishment: will you need to live in the property while work takes place or do you have the luxury of being able to live elsewhere? The answer will inform the next point.
2. Decide on the degree of refurbishment you are willing to undertake: are you willing to rectify structural issues and replace major elements, or is changing the cosmetics your limit? Bear in mind some properties are classed as unmortgageable due to their condition. No running water, the absence of a bathroom or kitchen, damp, rot, subsidence or non-standard construction can all result in a mortgage being refused.
3. Ensure you book the right survey: if you’re buying a property for renovation purposes, it’s recommended you commission a RICS Level 3 Home Survey/RPSA Building Survey. A survey of this level will be thorough, with defects listed and advice given on repairs and maintenance. You can also ask the surveyor to include estimated costs and timings for any repair work recommended in the report.
4. Establish how you will fund a refurbishment: do you have cash, can you borrow extra alongside your mortgage or will you need to take out a personal loan? It’s always wise to plan for the unexpected and the possibility your project will go over budget.
5. Budget for the cost of materials and labour: Rated People’s Home Improvement Trends Report highlighted how tradespeople have had to increase their costs year-on-year, due to the rising expense of materials, labour shortages and the wider cost-of-living crisis. As a result, it’s wise to factor in the possibility of higher prices in 2024.
6. Consider how quickly you want the renovation to complete: as well as tradespeople having to charge more, their availability can be compromised due to a skills shortage. The best professionals get booked up in advance, so progress could be slow.
7. Weigh up whether it’s worth undertaking any of the work yourself: if you’re good at DIY or learn quickly from YouTube tutorials, there may be some elements of a renovation you can complete yourself, saving time and money. Bear in mind some work needs to be completed to a national standard and a Building Regulation Completion Certificate issued.
If you’re still keen on buying a property that needs refurbishment, let’s chat. We can show you houses and flats that need a varying degree of work, from a little TLC to full-blown modernisation.
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