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Top tips for buying a doer upper

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Matthew Gray, Managing Director of Property Services comments ‘Wise words of advice from NAEA|Propertymark. A useful prompt for all residential property investors looking for that ‘doer-upper. For further advice, please contact our residential sales team on 0131 516 5366’.

Purchasing a doer-upper is the dream for many buyers – the opportunity to get their hands on a property with a lower sale price, the chance to decorate it to their exact taste and the potential for resale profit. Although this can be a stressful ordeal, there is the opportunity to reap several benefits if you purchase the right doer-upper.

Our research has revealed that UK homeowners have spent more than £40bn in the last five years doing up their home1 – which proves the UK’s obsession with home décor and DIY is not going to disappear any time soon. To ensure the doer-upper process is a smooth one, NAEA Propertymark has identified the most important things to look out for.

Location, location, location

The long old saying of ‘buy the worst house on the best street’ shouldn’t be forgotten. As with any property purchase, location is important and effects the future value and desirability. When viewing your fixer-upper, be sure to scrutinise the surrounding homes and how they’re maintained.

Renovation vs. cosmetic improvements

Depending on your current situation, do consider the amount of work needed to the property. If you’re hoping to complete the work as soon as you can, you might not want to tackle a home requiring major renovation to make it liveable. Although it will result in less return on investment, minor cosmetic improvements such as painting, replacing windows and refreshing the kitchen are less costly and time consuming.

Be clear on budget

If you’re serious about making an offer on a fixer upper, you need to be clear on what the improvements will cost. If you’re not planning to do the repairs yourself, find a contractor to join you at a viewing to estimate the costs. Additionally, figure out what supplies you will need to buy and how much they will set you back – always remember to add on a buffer to the total amount in case any unexpected costs pop up.

Get a survey

Whatever home you’re buying, you should never skimp on a survey. Most homebuyers think the Home Report Survey is a comprehensive home survey, but this is incorrect. If you’re purchasing a fixer upper, do employ a surveyor who will act completely on your behalf, to give you impartial advice on the property.

Be committed

Although you can save money buying a doer upper, issues can pop up along the way which can push the project timeline back and end up costing you more money than first anticipated. Consider the pros and cons of the purchase beforehand and if you go ahead, remain committed throughout, as it might be hard work but it’ll be worth it at the end.

Mark Hayward, Chief Executive, NAEA Propertymark comments: “Buying a fixer upper can be attractive, but is a decision not to be taken lightly. To ensure the process remains as smooth as possible, buyers should consider important points such as the length of time they can commit to and how much they’re willing to spend. A Propertymark Protected agent will be able to guide you through the process and ensure you make a decision that will suit your current circumstances.”

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