If only finding a dream home was as easy as finding a property online, putting in an offer and then moving straight in.
In reality, it often takes a lot of hard work to turn your house into a home, particularly if you have a very specific idea of what you’re looking for. In this case, it's likely you might have considered taking on a renovation project and upgrading an old property.
It’s a big task, but one that could be very rewarding for years to come. If you’re on the fence about whether or not to buy a house that requires major renovations, we’ve decided to weigh up the benefits and the potential downfalls, so you can make a well-informed decision.
How to Decide Whether to Renovate
Some initial questions you might want to ask yourself before deciding to take on a renovation project include:
- Will you be able to afford the building work after you’ve paid for all your moving costs (e.g. legal costs, moving vans, repairs to your current property etc)? Producing a ballpark figure for the price of the improvements is important in helping you manage your budget
- Will you need to rent somewhere temporarily while the improvements are being made?
- What loans will you need to apply for, so you can afford to carry out the work?
Other financial considerations that people may make is whether they can afford to buy a property in the area otherwise. Location is everything, and if it’s a desirable area you want to move to, it will probably be cheaper to buy a property that’s in need of repairs.
This requires a bit of creative thinking, or even the help of an interior designer, to help you realise the property’s potential (and limits) as well as plan what can be done within each room. However, the benefits are clear as you'll be able to afford to live in a desirable area with all the amenities you need nearby.
If you’re still unsure about whether or not to embark on a home renovation project, we’ve decided to give you a bit of a helping hand by looking at some of the pros and cons involved:
When you’re in total control of a property’s renovation, you can decide exactly how the house is designed and make the property completely your own. This is well worth the extra investment in time and effort if it’s something you imagine yourself living in for the long-term and you'll end up with a unique house that's tailored just for you.
Money is a huge factor in the decision. The initial cost of buying a property in disrepair is likely to be lower than one that's ready to move into, but you must factor in the cost of the renovations and how much value they'll add to the house. If done correctly, you could end up getting your dream house for the same value (or less) than houses in the same area.
Of course, renovations can add considerable value to a property. This is a huge advantage for most homeowners, especially if you’re adding the property to your portfolio to either rent out or sell on. In both cases, it'll give you the opportunity to enter an incredibly lucrative market that could be financially beneficial for you in the long term.
The Potential Cons
There are some downsides to taking on a big renovation project and, in all cases, it’s likely to be a lot of hard work that requires time and patience. Plus, renovations can be expensive, and it requires someone who can project manage and keep a tight control over spending, so you can make sure that your budget doesn’t spiral out of control.
Another potential downside is the time that the improvements could take. Can you fit it into your busy schedule? People often underestimate how long these projects take, and this is often what pushes them over budget. Also, major improvements and repairs could mean that you need to find somewhere else to live for the duration of the building works – the rent incurred is something else that may have to be added to your financial projections.
What’s more, you could be delayed even further if you need to seek planning permission for certain changes; there may be council restrictions if you want to add an extension or conservatory, for example, onto the property.
Finally, even if you’re already quite handy with DIY, you’ll probably need a helping hand from the experts for complex repairs that you can’t do, like plastering, plumbing or the electrics. Finding trusted and reliable tradespeople is a battle that most people who are renovating a house must tackle, so if you have any great contacts then use them!
Whether you’re hoping to create your perfect home, or build something as a financial investment, you’ll have to carefully consider whether a renovation project is the right decision for you.
They say that Rome wasn't built in a day, and to achieve perfection in your home, you'll need dedication, patience, time and money. Not to mention strong project management skills and great relationships with tradespeople. All this will help you to make sure the renovation stays on track and within budget, and eventually you'll be able to sit back and admire all your handiwork in the home of your dreams.