This post is contributed.
When you’re looking for a property, you’re going to feel overwhelmed with options. Should you go for location or size, an apartment or house? You might even find yourself arguing the toss over old versus new build. But one thing’s for sure, you want to maximise on your investment and get the very best value for money now and into the future if you decide to sell.
While it might seem like a lot to take on, one of the very best ways you can increase that return is by taking on a so-called “do-er upper”. A property that needs some cosmetic repair and possibly a bit more besides.
Buying one of these properties requires some careful decision making. On the one hand that house that looks like it’s falling down might just need a little repair work and a coat of paint. On the other hand it might just turn into a money pit and the bargain you thought you’d bagged winds up sucking away all your savings.
In this guide we take a look at how to strike the balance between bargain and realistic investment, without committing yourself to a property you’ll live to regret getting involved with.
Image from Pexels
If you’ve found somewhere and made that initial visit, it’s very easy to get swept up in a sea of possibilities. You look around and see what the house could look like, rather than the stark reality of what’s in front of you. For that reason, it’s a great idea to bring someone with you and preferably someone with a little knowledge about renovations.
Don’t try and remember everything you see, but instead make notes and take a photos of the issues that will need to be addressed.
When it comes to large scale jobs, you’ll be looking to check for damp, structural damage, plumbing and heating and the electrics. With that you’ll also be looking at whether the property needs to be completely stripped and new bathrooms and/or a kitchen installed.
Let’s look a little more deeply at those larger scale jobs:
Damp and Structural Damage
Damp is one of those things that can be tricky but not impossible to remedy. It quite often just requires some time and money spent repairing damage to the outer walls or remedying any issues between the cavity walls. On occasion the problem might stem from another source, such as the roof which, again, will require the services of an expert.
When it comes to cracks in the walls, it’s fairly common for older properties to experience slight shifts over time that lead to cracking. However, if the cracks appear wide and deep or seem to be still appearing, then chances are that extensive work may have to be done on the foundations and walls and that might just not be worth what you’re spending, unless you can use this information to drive down the price even further.
Plumbing, Heating and Electrics
You might be surprised to find the boiler and heating system still working in your older property but even so, it’s well worth having the boiler checked and signed off by a registered engineer. The same will apply to your plumbing and you’ll want to go that extra mile and make sure the drains are not causing Backflow or other serious problems.
You simply can’t take any chances when it comes to your electrics, so first and foremost you should have the house signed off by a qualified electrician who can identify any problems that might need looking at.
The beauty of a property where you’re starting from scratch is that the potential you identify can really become a reality, the hardest part is having to wait for all the basics to fall into place before you can make that happen.
You will have to weigh up the cost of the property with any work that needs doing and of course, you will be able to save money if you have any DIY skills yourself that will save you having to call in a painter and decorator. You’ll want to have quotes that help you set your budget and a good idea of how much the property will be worth once it’s up to a high standard.
Then you can watch your dream home being slowly built as each new job brings you one step closer to completion. What started off as a shell will quickly become something that is uniquely yours, designed just the way you want it and well worth the wait.