Property buyers tend to come in two forms: Those who want a project and those who don’t.
If you’re the type of person who gets excited rather than terrified by a ‘fixer-upper’ then read on.
While there are many pros to taking on a property project, there are also many pitfalls, too, if you’re a novice.
First-time buyers often see properties in need of repair as good deals, simply because they generally cost less to buy.
But that lack of experience can sometimes be costly – particularly if you buy a property with hidden horrors.
So, here are five things you’ll need to consider when looking for the perfect fixer-upper:
1. Do your research
Buying a property that you can move straight into can, believe it or not, be a pretty quick process.
Many buyers have one or two viewings before making an offer and can establish very quickly whether a house is right for them.
Fixer-uppers are completely different, simply because there’s so many more factors to consider.
Not only do you have to ensure the area the property sits in is suitable for you, but you need to run a fine-toothed comb over the property itself, from top to bottom and side to side.
Don’t be rushed into anything and take your time to properly assess the property so you can be absolutely certain it’s the right project to tackle.
2. Understand the full cost of a renovation
Fixer-uppers vary when it comes to the amount of work required, but most will require some kind of renovation.
When buying a fixer-upper, it’s massively important to fully understand how much any major work will cost and how much value it will add to the property once it’s complete.
So, not only will you need to be all over your projected costs, you’ll also need to have a solid grasp of the property market in the area where you’re buying.
Does the road have a ceiling price?
Is adding additional space the right thing to do?
Is there demand from buyers for renovated homes in the area?
These are all questions you’ll need to ask when assessing how much to spend on bringing your new property up to scratch.
3. Find the right builder
One of the biggest decisions you’ll need to make when it comes to a fixer-upper is which builder to use.
The first thing to do is more research. Look into builders in the local area, check out their reviews online and speak to as many people as you can for recommendations.
Once you have a good handful of tradespeople on your list, ask them to come and quote for the work you need done.
This should be done before you exchange contracts on the property, giving you time to either pull out of the deal or amend your asking price to reflect any additional spend.
Remember to ensure they focus their quotes on the work that NEEDS to be done, rather than areas you’d like to improve but could compromise on.
4. Get a full structural survey done
So many property buyers scrimp on surveys.
It makes no sense and not having a full structural survey on a fixer-upper is simply not an option.
Having a survey done will either give you crucial peace of mind that your fixer-upper is not going to cost you any more than what you’ve budgeted for, or it will reveal problems not visible to the naked eye, meaning you can either walk away or renegotiate on your offer.
With any large renovation project, staying on top of costs is key and discovering gremlins or major problems with a property when work has already begun will always hit your pocket hard.
5. Have a contingency plan
Most major renovation projects go over budget.
Of course, that doesn’t mean yours has to or that it will.
But you should still have a plan in place in the eventuality that it does, or if you run out of money before work is complete.
This is where scheduling the most pressing work, such as structural changes, is vital.
That way, if your funding pot runs low before more minor work is complete, you can get this done on an as and when basis when you have the money.