Don’t let your heart rule your head when you go hunting for a renovation project. Sharon Dale reports.
Avocado bathroom suites, 1970s carpets, peeling wallpaper and crumbling walls may not sound like the perfect ingredients for a des res but dated, run-down homes are now among the most sought-after properties.
Thanks to TV series like Grand Designs and Homes Under the Hammer, “do’er uppers” are proving hard to resist.
Once the domain of developers and professional landlords, everyone from novice buy-to-let investors to those who want the chance to fashion a family home are queueing up for properties in need of renovation.
If the homes are in a great location you can expect serious competition, which may affect any profit you hope to make, so consider whether you are buying for love or money and act accordingly.
“Properties that require a wholesale renovation project are usually bought either as a profit-making venture or with the idea of creating a unique home. When a purchaser is buying for love and is drawn by the attraction of having a blank canvas from which to create the home of their dreams, all ideas of profit usually go out of the window. The savvy buyer will make sure the sums add up and that money spent on renovation won’t exceed the property’s value further down the line,” says Toby Cockcroft, of Croft Residential, who has just launched Taylors Farmhouse to the market. It is in the village of Holtby, five miles east of York.
He is expecting a great deal of interest in the grade II listed farmhouse and barn, which is for sale for offers over £500,000. It’s on the market for the first time in 60 years and is in need of total refurbishment. It has a hall, three reception rooms, a kitchen, utility room, cloakroom, five bedrooms and a bathroom. Outside, there is a detached barn, stables, garage, garden and driveway.
“The fact that the house has been untouched for years is irresistible,” says Toby. “Demand for this sort of property vastly outstrips supply. This sort of project really doesn’t come up very often, especially in one of York’s most sought after outlying villages.
“Demand for this sort of property vastly outstrips supply.”
A large percentage of renovation projects will go to “best and final offers” via informal tender, which is exactly what is happening to the farmhouse at Holtby. The deadline for offers is noon on March 29.
The highest bid doesn’t always win. A buyer with finances in place and the ability to complete the deal quickly can be more valuable than a few extra thousand pounds.
Be aware that it can be difficult to a mortgage on a property in need of renovation, though lenders, such as the Ecology Building Society, tend to be more flexible than mainstream banks.
Before you make an offer, it’s vital to know what you are taking on so you can budget accordingly.
Tim Gower, head of Robin Jessop’s Leyburn office, says: “I would certainly recommend that prospective buyers take proper professional advice prior to offering on a refurbishment property, whether that’s advice from a builder or from a chartered surveyor.”
In the case of 31a and 31b Castle Walk, Richmond, a cottage split into two flats, a surveyor has confirmed that it is in need of “significant structural repair” but the price reflects this. The cottage, which has a walled garden and sensational views, is up for auction with Robin Jessop with a guide price of £50,000.