Lockdown has created a boom in home improvements with social media platforms such as TikTok and Instagram emphasising to a new generation the joy of transforming your living space. Buying a house in need of work can be a good strategy, giving you the opportunity to really put your stamp on a property. But doing up a place in need of extensive refurbishment is a challenge for anyone. If it’s something you’re considering, bear these tips in mind.

1 Opt for the full survey

While you might be watching the pennies, the survey is not an area to cut costs. The cheaper homebuyers’ report won’t necessarily pick up they type of structural problems often found in this type of project.

2 Use it as a bargaining tool

Your survey is also a good place to start when looking at the repairs needed to bring your property up to scratch. Use it to help you work out what is needed and pull together a budget. Once you know how much the repairs will cost, you may be able to negotiate with the seller over the price.

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3 Really do your sums

Carefully research average prices for the work you’re likely to be doing, whether an extension, kitchen refurb or new roof. If you have a builder in mind, take them along to view a property you’re serious about. With an understanding of the refurbishment costs, you can compare the asking price to local sold prices to ensure you’re not paying over the odds.

4 Understand your funding options

Getting a mortgage for a property that needs substantial work may not be as straightforward as with standard homes. It may be worth speaking to a mortgage broker for help finding a lender who specialises in renovation properties. It’s also a good idea to get professional advice about other funding options – bridging loans or re-mortgaging your existing property, if you plan on staying their while you do up the new place.

5 Have a budget plan B

Nearly half of all building projects go over budget so you need to be realistic about spend and know what you will prioritise if costs spiral. Structural improvements are essentials but think about whether you could live with that galley kitchen or dated bathroom until you have the funds to carry out phase 2.

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