Buying a property in a state of disrepair to either ‘do up’ and sell or renovate to live in is something many people aspire to.

With the cost of building materials having increased over the past 12 months, and with people anecdotally struggling to get hold of appropriate workmen and contractors, buying to renovate may not be as easy as it once was.

Here our Chartered Surveyors give their advice on buying property to renovate.

Get a survey

Properties in a state of disrepair can frequently be home to a catalogue of issues – and often, when you go to tackle one job, another one (or two, or three!) appears.

Having a RICS Home Survey Report or Building Survey Report undertaken on the property in question will give you a good idea of the extent of the list of building and renovation works that may be required. If a property is in particularly poor condition, a Building Survey Report is the best option as this gives more detail on repairs than other surveys. Without a survey, you will only be able to guess at the full extent of certain defects – and you may easily miss issues that could end up costing a significant sum.

If you advise the Surveyor in advance that you are planning on renovating the property – particularly if this involves extending, or converting existing loft or cellar space – then they can look out for any issues that may impede this work or give pointers on how best this may be achieved.

Be realistic about prices

The cost of works can often quickly escalate in renovation projects as one job leads to another.

There are almost always costs that go unaccounted for at the beginning of the project, or additional costs – such as upgrades to the quality or finish of the project – that you decide to make along the way. Therefore, you should always build in a contingency of at least 10% to your budget.

Check your funding is viable

Many mortgage lenders will limit the amount of finance they’re prepared to loan you on a renovation property. In the event that certain defects are found – such as movement or subsidence – a lender may not be willing to lend at all, until the issues have been addressed and re-assessed. It may therefore be necessary to find alternative sources of funding – even for a short period until you can secure the full amount needed via a conventional mortgage.

Make sure the works are carefully planned

Once you get hold of the property, it can be tempting to go in all guns blazing. However, without a carefully thought through plan of work, it isn’t uncommon for jobs to be tackled in the wrong order, which can end up costing more money than necessary.

If you are appointing a builder, a good contract with a detailed schedule of work is essential can save thousands if there are any issues on site.

Another option is to appoint a Project Manager to advise on the schedule of works required and oversee its implementation. This is a service Lea Hough are able to provide on large-scale home renovation works and extensions, and of course on commercial projects.

If any of the works you have planned require planning permission, this will need to be sought in plenty of time so as not to delay the works. Building regulations also need to be considered when undertaking works. An experienced Project Manager will be able to advise on these aspects and make the necessary applications on your behalf.

To speak to Lea Hough about having a Building Survey Report undertaken on a property you wish to purchase, please get in touch.

Preston Office
Telephone: 01772 458866
Blackburn Office
Telephone: 01254 260196
Clitheroe Office
Telephone: 01200 320040
Lancaster Office
Telephone: 01524 899850
Lea Hough is a trading name of Lea Hough & Co LLP, which is a Limited Liability Partnership registered in England and Wales under partnership number OC306054.
Registered Office: 7 Ferry Road, Office Park, Preston, PR2 2YH.