Buying a run-down house has been my dream for a long time. Not really as a get rich quick scheme, but because I have always been passionate about old houses and renovations in general and the idea of buying the ‘worst house in the best street’ still gives me goose bumps thinking about it. To be able to take an old run down property and bringing it back to life has always been and ambition, and of course there is the fact that it often add tremendous value to the home.
Renovating or ‘Flipping’ a property has also become popular and it basically means that someone will buy an old houses, giving them a quick makeover and then sell the property for a profit. This all sounds very simple, cheap and quick but if you’re not careful this type of renovation can run away with you and become more trouble than its worth
Here are a few reality checks that you should consider…
The first one is that before you even own the property, your only chance to assess the work load that is involved in renovating it is when you view it (Hopefully you will view it before you purchase !!). Even if you go in with a builder or surveyor to look over the house, they will generally miss things and these ‘THINGS’ could be very large and expensive. Without being able to take a good hard look at the structural integrity of the property by removing interior linings from the walls and doing a penetration check, you may have to guess what’s going on inside the walls. Most property renovators often find much worse conditions than first anticipate and the idea that the old builders where craftsmen may have been true however there has been a lot of really bad building work completed for decades which you will only discovered when start getting your hands dirty and taking things apart.
The second one is that the estimated cost of renovation will be wrong or just won’t add up. Unless you can get a really good deal where the property is significantly undervalued and the actual work needed to turn it in to a dream home is largely cosmetic, you could end up spending so much money on the repairs that when you come to sell there’s no return left.
Bathrooms and Kitchens are predictably susceptible to water leaks, but leaks are not restricted to this area alone and could be found anywhere. Poor workmanship in previous renovations or even the original build may have serious implications for the work you’re planning – and as you get further in, it can get worse and worse.
Thirdly, living in a building site is hard. If you’re in full time employment and working all day, coming home to a cold, smelly, dirty, semi-built home that you have to spend evenings and weekends slaving away on until it starts to become comfortable to live in can and will put strain on you and any relationships you may have. Worse still is the fact that the longer the renovation takes, the harder it becomes to maintain your initial enthusiasm and drive.
Most large refurbishments will need professional tradesmen to do the work. Unless your extremely competent or skilled yourself then work like roofing, plastering, plumbing, electrical, carpentry and structural work will all need to be completed by a tradesman as most of the work will need to be completed to building regulations and may also need to be certified.
Sadly for a lot of people who think they are mentally and emotionally prepared to take on a renovation project reality will soon hit home and the sight of their budgets and work schedules slowly drifting away may be quite different to what they imagined. Almost everyone I know who’s been taken on a renovation project has been pretty stressed, so my advice (for what its worth) is be aware of some potentially nasty surprises and make sure you have a contingency plan for them built into your budget. If at the end of the project you haven’t used it, then BONUS POINTS all-round and you have a bloody good house warming party to look forward to.
……. Oh and if all of that wasn’t bad enough - don’t forget, if you are buying a property to renovate and sell quickly, there are also all of the additional expenses like tax and solicitors fee’s to add into the equation.