Thinking of taking on a fixer-upper? Let us help

by Theo Hildebrand on 2nd December 2019

Renovating a ‘fixer-upper’ can be a really exciting and rewarding experience. After all, property is one of the best investments you can make. However, it’s really important that you carefully consider the time and money you can feasibly put into the renovations, especially if you plan to live in the property while you do the work, to evaluate whether it is the right project for you. 

To help anyone looking to make a profit on a ‘fixer-upper’ property, we’ve pulled together these 6 helpful tips to make the most of your project.

Tip #1. Choosing a property

Location, location, location is not the only thing to think about, but it’s a major consideration. Before investing, it’s crucial that you do your research to make sure you choose a property with the right potential but that you could realistically finish on time and on budget. It certainly helps to look to buy properties in areas you may know well, so you go into the process already knowing the inside track on new infrastructure, good transport links, and local schools.

Housesimple helps our customers by relying on the most up-to-date market data, ensuring you have the facts about the properties in your target area. It’s also important to make sure you have a trusted surveyor to help you if you are buying an older property. And don’t forget to look at doors, windows and central heating - you’ll need to factor in the cost of replacing them. If major work is required, would the seller be willing to negotiate on the price?

But you may have to move quickly, so by regularly checking online listing sites, you are more likely to spot a bargain or a great opportunity in a property hotspot as these can be snapped up quickly! A good idea is to set up alerts for new listings so you’re notified as and when they’re listed, or if the price has been dropped.

Tip #2. Tackle any key issues

Once you’ve bought a property, before starting any decorative work, make sure that you fix any key issues flagged in the property’s inspection. It’s really important to deal with any damp, get the roof in good condition straight away and all structural issues should be rectified as soon as possible. 

You can then start to think about giving all of the rooms a fresh coat of neutral paint and updating the flooring throughout the property. Improving the general finish of all the walls and floors will boost the value of the property and provide a blank canvas for buyers looking to turn the house into a home.

If possible, try to preserve any period characteristics that the property has, such as a fireplace, roof beams or sash windows. 

Tip #3. Add more square footage or a parking space

If you have the time and money, the best investment to ultimately increase the value of your home is to increase the square footage of your property.

Whether it is converting your attic into an extra bedroom, a side extension to create a light and bright kitchen leading onto the garden, or revamping your front porch into a reading room, these renovations can make a big difference to the value of your home. This is especially the case in London or the South-East where space is hard to come by.

Alternatively, having somewhere to park the car is a big plus for most buyers. In 2018, 38.2 million cars were registered for use in the UK. As a result, parking spots are becoming even more scarce, making them especially valuable, while having off-street parking can reduce the cost of your car insurance.

If you don’t already have parking but do have a front garden, consider paving part of it to create off-road space for a car. You might have to apply to have the kerb dropped, but it’s still well worth investigating, as the addition of a single parking space could see property value rise by as much as five per cent1, and even more in areas where parking is limited.

Tip #4. Prioritise renovating the kitchen and bathroom

If you have to choose between which rooms to prioritise renovating, the kitchen and the bathroom are the two to go with. 

The kitchen is the heart of the home and a place where the eventual buyers of the property will spend a lot of time. If budgets are tight, start by simply painting the existing kitchen units. This will transform the space and help the kitchen to look fresh and modern. You could also consider investing in new worktops, a new oven or a new fridge freezer to impress potential buyers. 

The bathroom should be your next priority. A dated bathroom suite can be really off-putting for buyers so putting in a new set of tiles in a white or neutral colour can be a really smart investment.

It also needs to be hygienic, practical and as light and bright as possible. You should add an extractor fan if there isn’t one already and consider adding more storage units. Use mirrors to create a greater sense of space and consider installing spotlights to brighten the room.

Tip #5. Make the house energy-efficient 

Reducing the heating costs of the property can help attract buyers. It’s a great idea to upgrade an outdated boiler and replace old radiators to reduce the energy consumption of the property. 

Double glazed windows can also dramatically improve energy efficiency. They have been shown to add 10 percent to a house’s value on average2. However, if you decide to update the windows, ensure that the changes are in keeping with the age and appearance of the property. 

You should also make sure that the property is draught-proofed and you could even consider investing in wall or loft insulation to cut heating costs. 

Tip #6. Increase kerb appeal 

The garden is the first thing the buyers see when coming to view a property so it’s important to remember that first impressions count.

A new front door can help improve the overall finish of the property and you should also ensure that all gutters, gates, and fences are well-maintained.

Other small tasks are also crucial to ensure that the garden is looking tidy. You should remove all dead plants, cut back any overgrown shrubs and mow or feed the lawn. 

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