If you want your dream home, more than likely you’re going to have to create it yourself. We’re not suggesting you have to pour money into a self-build project! What we mean is, buying a property that has all the foundations of what you want and then renovating it to make it uniquely yours.

Buying houses specifically to renovate is a huge trend at the moment, some people even do it as a hobby – they just love the chaos of living on a building site! But we’re going to look at a few things you should factor in when looking to purchase a house to renovate. 

1. Research, Research and Then Research Again!

Searching for a home to buy, whether for the purposes of renovation or not, can be really quite a daunting thing. Even the most seasoned proprietor needs more information that the initial viewing. 

Being shown the highlights of a home in a short space of time whilst being herded around by your estate agent, barking information at you can sometimes mean you don’t get the full, proper feel for the house before buying it. It can also be so overwhelming that you end up not asking the relevant questions. 

It would be worth doing as much research about the property as possible prior to your visit, if there’s a webpage for the house that’s for sale, study it. Research the location and surrounding amenities too. It might be a good idea to write out a few questions or prompts that you feel you’d like to be addressed and you can either take this along with you or if you have the opportunity to email these along to your estate agent beforehand so they can prepare for your preparedness! 

2. Discuss your Limits

It’s no secret that renovating a home is stressful. There will be times where you question your own sanity, where you can’t see enough progress and times where you can’t see past the mess. Establishing where you draw the line will help you later on down the road. If might be to do with the actual property, can you live without under floor heating or are you happy to endure the upheaval to have it installed? Or maybe it’s the location, is there a certain area that is a definite no go? One that’s too close to a busy road maybe, do you think the potential you can see in the property outweighs the negative of living roadside?

Create a list of requirements and vetoes, if you’re purchasing the home with another person compile a list of needs, wants and deal breakers. This way you’re always on the same page no matter what.

3. Factor in Cost

Can you afford to both buy the house and execute a renovation to the standard that you’re happy with? You don’t have to purchase the house and instantly get the demolition team in. You can complete the sale and maybe live in it a few years before beginning, get a feel for the house before you properly settle on what you need to change, hey, the upstairs kitchen might have grown on you in this time! 

Doing a rough calculation on how much work you need to have done is a super important step. A bit of research online will help you come up with ball park figures for certain projects, so you can start here and once you’re at the stage of contacting architects and contractors, you’ll start to receive estimates that hopefully won’t be too far off your prediction.

4. Building Survey

It’s a very good idea to opt for a building survey for the property. It’s lovely what an estate agent can tell you about the house but bringing in an expert to do a full report will definitely offer a bit of peace of mind. It will probably be your instinct to bypass this step in favour of the cost saving of trusting fate but in the long run this can save you far more than it costs. A homebuyer’s report is all well and good but you’re buying a house to do some quite significant work to it so it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

5. Payoff

Don’t overpay for a fixer upper. Any property that needs work doing to it should be on the market for a lower price than comparable properties that have already been finished to a good standard. 

We’ve absolutely just scratched the surface with this topic, there are many more things that you should be thinking about when buying a home specifically to renovate and we definitely think this is a subject worth visiting again in the future so we can delve a bit deeper but for now, think about the above points. We definitely recommend doing further research online, in forums or even if you know someone who has been through a similar process, get talking!

How can we help?

At O&U we offer a Design & Build service that is primarily aimed at anyone who is at the beginning of their journey, without any architect plans, looking for some help with the next step. You’ll work with and inhouse design team and by keeping everything under one roof, we can make sure that the home you end up with is one that you truly love within the budget that you set out. 

If you would like to find out more about how Olive & Umber can help, send us an email to info@olive-umber.co.uk and one of the team will be in touch to discuss your plans with you.

Olive and Umber Office