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Pros and cons of buying a property in need of renovation

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Tackling a property in need of renovation will require patience, time and of course, money. But whether it's a financial investment or to create your perfect home, it can all be worth it. However, with any project requiring budget management and large time scales, you will have to weigh up the pros and cons to work out if it's the right decision for you.

Pros

If you're in total control of a property's renovation, then you can decide exactly how it is designed - from the layout and the colour scheme right through to the quality of the finish.

On the flip side, finding exactly what you want in a home that is already renovated can be difficult, especially when this is alongside finding the right location, size and things like schools. While there are plenty of properties on the market that most house-hunters are happy to move into straightaway, buying a property still in need of renovation gives people the extra flexibility they need to create their perfect home.

Create a home you want for the same total price

A property in need of renovation is likely to be cheaper than its renovated counterpart. On most streets, you will find that extended homes or those that have been finished to a high standard will command a higher asking price.

Dependaing on the asking price and each individual property, it may make financial sense to purchase an unmodernised property and spend a proportionate amount renovating it, bringing the value up to the level of modernised homes in the area. This way you will be spending a similar amount in total, but you will be getting the exact home you want.

Potential to add value

Bringing a property up to date will add instant value, especially in kitchens and bathrooms, which are rooms that buyers tend to focus on when looking round a property.

For example, spending £10,000 installing a new kitchen that will replace an outdated, undesirable one, may add £20-30,000 onto a property's value. And the same goes with roof extensions – an average loft conversion could set you back around £30-40,000, but the value of an extra bedroom can be £100,000 in some areas.


Cons

You might go over budget

Once you start renovating a property, you may find yourself spending money on things that you haven't accounted for, like damp proofing or replastering crumbling walls left behind old wallpaper.

If you have a tight budget with little room for flexibility, you may run into trouble and have to halt the works, which can be even more costly if you're having to pay the mortgage or live in rented accommodation for the duration of the project.

While sometimes you may be willing to stretch the budget to get a slightly better finish or superior-quality fixtures and fittings, be aware that budgets can be difficult to stick to – if the people on Grand Designs are anything to go by.

There's a risk that you won't add real value

If you spend £150,000 renovating a property, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be adding £150,000 to its value. Don't spend when it's not necessary.

There have been instances where owners have spent huge amounts of money transforming their homes, but the final value reflects only the demand for the area. Sometimes you have to accept that you may be buying an expensive kitchen for your own enjoyment while you're living in the property, not because it will be adding value.

There is a balance to strike between what people are willing to spend when you come to sell and what the demand is – there will always be a ceiling. But if you work within a sensible budget, you are likely to see a return on your spend and then some.

Finding trusted tradesmen

There are so many tradespeople out there claiming they can do a job properly, but sadly, this isn’t the case. Finding someone that you can trust to renovate your property can be difficult and it can make or break a project.

Always listen to recommendations from friends and family and don't go with the cheapest option because it will save you money – unless the cheapest option is also one that comes highly recommended.

Similarly, it’s also vital to use a trusted project manager on bigger renovation projects, if you’re not managing the work yourself. It can be a tough task coordinating the different people working on the property and it's poor organisation and planning that can leave you behind schedule and out of pocket.

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