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House Surveys Essex: Buying to Renovate

Seven Top Tips for Buying a Property to do upWith sharp rises in house prices many people are finding it harder to afford a home. An increasing number of buyers in areas of high demand, including South East London, Essex and Kent, are therefore deciding to find a property which is run down or in need of renovation and do it up. However, as with all types of house, surveys carried out by an expert are a must, since there may be many problems which aren’t immediately apparent.

While some people renovate to create their dream home, others go this route in order to sell on. There are many current property shows on daytime TV showing how it’s possible to make a profit by doing this, but the reality can be a lot more complicated than it looks on screen.

Here are some top tips for anyone considering buying a property to renovate.

1. Be Realistic About Your Budget and Skills: When you are buying a property to do it up, funding the initial purchase is just the start. You also need to budget enough to carry out the various works and refurbishments. Often the work can end up costing more than expected, so it’s important to have a contingency fund.

If you need a home loan, it’s advisable to look into this at the outset, and find out about your options. In the case of a house which is not habitable right away, you may need a specialist renovation mortgage. Being realistic about your budget also means being realistic about your skills and the time you have available. You will need to think about the things you can do yourself and those where, in practice, you’ll have to bring in professionals.

2. Do Your Research First: Before agreeing to buy, it’s a good idea to do your homework. This means checking how long the property has been on the market, how popular the location is, and what sort of prices other houses in the area are going for.

If you want to extend the house, look at whether it is likely you will be able to get planning permission for this. Also be careful about buying listed properties and those in conservation areas, since it is likely there will be additional rules about changes to the building which could add to your costs.

3. Have the Property Surveyed: Professional surveys are a must before buying any house, even if you are a cash buyer. Even if you think the house looks basically sound but dated, there may well be problems you can’t see. An expert carrying out a full building survey on your behalf will look at the whole house in detail and give you full information. A mortgage valuation is no substitute for a full survey, since the valuer will be working for the lender rather than for you.

Another advantage of full building surveys is that the surveyor’s report includes a cost summary giving a general estimate of what the essential and desirable repairs and improvements are likely to cost.

4. Look at Which Improvements Will Add Value: Garages, off-street parking, loft conversions and extra bedrooms and bathrooms can all add value, while well-equipped kitchens are likely to prove a good selling point if you decide to sell in the future. However, experts advise against cramming too much into the space, for instance by turning box rooms into mini-bedrooms. It’s better to ensure work is in keeping with the property’s size and style.

5. Maintaining Quality: One mistake when doing a house up is to make false economies and put in poor-quality fixtures and fittings, which not only look cheap but will soon break and need replacement. If you intend to sell the property in the short term, it’s equally advisable to avoid splashing out on very expensive fittings, as it’s likely a buyer may want to make some changes anyway.

6. A Matter of Taste: You might want to fill your own home with bright colours and quirky patterns. But, if you are renovating to sell, it’s best to keep to neutral shades and styles, rather than decorating to your own personal taste which a buyer may not share.

7. Plan Your Renovation and Get Detailed Quotes: The first step here is to decide whether you want to manage the project yourself or prefer to bring in a project manager. Anderson Associates offers a full service for anyone arranging project or site management, which includes preparation of the tender documents, giving advice on the most suitable contractors and checking the quality of the work on site. In addition, Anderson Associates can value and approve payments to the contractor based on work completed. We also maintain a list of approved contractors who we can recommend to you.

If you need to arrange house surveys, Anderson Associates offers expert services in areas that include Woodbridge Suffolk, Kent, Essex and East London.

House Surveys Essex – Follow the link to contact Anderson Associates, or call us on 01473 623 656 or freephone 0800 652 8285.


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Whether you need a simple valuation or a full structural survey as well as being expert building surveyors we’re happy to give you free, impartial advice on anything to do with buildings and property.
Anderson Associates
(Head Office & Correspondence Address)
Warneford House, Portal Avenue
Martlesham Heath, Ipswich
Suffolk IP5 3QY
T. 01473 623 656
T. 0800 652 8285
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Registered Office: Anderson Associates (Surveying) Ltd. | Warneford House, Portal Avenue, Martlesham Heath, Ipswich, Suffolk IP5 3QY
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