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Converting a derelict wreck into a beautiful home is a dream for many. But what do you need to know before embarking on a renovation project? Here are some top tips from Guild Members. 


1. Finding the right property 


Finding a major renovation project is never easy. Talk to your local estate agents and explain what you want to achieve. Give them confidence in your ability to go through with a purchase, rather than looking to make a quick profit.


The auction house is a particularly good place to find dilapidated homes. You may be able to contact the auctioneers directly to see if any properties can be bought before or just after the auction to avoid an expensive snap purchase in a rush of auction room excitement.


2. Setting a budget and getting finances in order 


It’s important to plan realistically and have a large contingency budget as personal building projects often go over budget.

Buying at auction will require you to have funds or finance in place before you attend and will expect you to have done your homework with surveys beforehand.

To avoid running out of money during the work, check and recheck repeatedly before committing and always allow a generous contingency to cover the unexpected.


3. Legal considerations and planning application 


From planning permission to area restrictions, there is a lot of legal work to do before building can start. 

It is important to be extremely clear-headed and check with the local Planning Authority whether the work you want to do is legal.

Councils now offer dedicated pre-application advice for a fee, which gives a good insight into the issues that might arise.


4. What surveys do you need? 


Start with a specialist building surveyor and a structural engineer who will be able to start building a picture of how much work will be needed.

Older structures will need careful examination of roof parts, wall strength, and foundations, whilst 20th Century properties and former industrial sites should have an asbestos survey as well. 


Derelict properties are often empty for some time and therefore can be prone to structural, damp and timber defects. Therefore, it is essential to instruct a chartered surveyor to carry out a full Building Survey on the property. This will outline the current defects and give you advice and help to plan for any intended alterations.


5. Choosing your contractors 


Carefully consider who is going to project manage the build. There are qualified people for this; you can get the architect, or if you are brave and have the time to devote, you can do this yourself. This involves coordinating all the tradespeople, liaising with the planning department, arranging inspections of works done, and getting everything signed off. Getting the paperwork right is vital.


6. Thinking about profit 


Buying and rescuing a derelict property can be a difficult task, however, if you get the right professional advice along the way, you can create a truly fantastic and individual home. Well-finished period and character homes get an excellent reception on the market and, therefore, your investment could prove lucrative in the long run.


Are you dreaming of your own renovation project? Contact your local Seymours branch to find out about properties on the market that could be suitable. 


To read the full article, visit The Guild Property Professionals.