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Property Refurbishment – Sometimes, Less Is More

There are different ‘schools of thought’ when it comes to doing refurbishment work.

Some prefer to go all out and perform a ‘full gut’ refurb where you take the property back to bare brick and dirt, and some are only interested in giving the place a lick of paint.

Much will depend on the age of the property, the works really needed to bring it back up to par, and how much your budget will allow. There is no doubt that going the extra mile and taking a property back to the beginning before renovating can reap huge benefits, however, it isn’t always necessary.

Depening on your personal remit, you may only need to change/uplift the kitchen and bathroom and decorate and re-floor throughout in order to add a decent return. In other cases, you may need to undertake more extensive work in order to ‘prove’ the uplift in value.

Whilst we have undertaken a real variation in the amount of work on a property-by-property and area-by-area basis, I thought I’d share a few of our tip tips when it comes to deciding what level of work you are prepared to take on.

Here are 10 of my Top Refurb Tips…

  1. It goes without saying that you should always look for the worst (condition) house/flat on the best street you can afford. Sometimes this will mean a complete refurb and sometimes a lighter amount of work will suffice.
  2. Do not scrimp on essential works, if needed. For example, make sure the building itself is sound, dry and safe, i.e. structural work, rewiring, plumbing and remedial damp-proofing are all much easier to do ahead of any of the prettier touches!
  3. Reconfigure to maximise interior space and untimately, profit. If the space allows, adding an extra bedroom or opening up a dining room to a kitchen, for example, can add essential light and space to otherwise unused areas. Remember to work to the ‘ceiling’ value of the street and try not to go overboard!
  4. Keep to your budget and don’t get carried away! What you may think is essential (i.e. a £10,000 kitchen in a Buy-to-Let!) is highly unlikely to be the case in reality. Do your market research in terms of your target audience (whether selling or renting) and provide accordingly.
  5. Where possible, add double glazing and central heating. Most occupiers will have a preference to live in a property which has these essential modern features.
  6. Replace or remodel existing kitchen and bathroom/s. Many times, a kitchen and/or bathroom can be given a new lease of life by clever ‘facelifts’. If they are truly unsalvageable, make sure you carefully consider where to buy and how much you’ll spend. Ensure that you obtain like-for-like quotes from different retailers, and any special promotions as there can be a huge variance between prices!
  7. The garden/outdoor space is often overlooked and will need attention right from the start. To ensure best ‘kerb appeal’, allow a budget for tidying up and showing off exterior space to it’s best potential.
  8. Off-street parking can come at a massive premium in some areas of the UK, so do your best to accommodate this if possible. It can add around £19,000 to the price of an average home…not to be sneezed at!
  9. Needless to say, make sure you present the property (whether for refinance/let/sale purposes) to it’s best. Fix any superficial defects ahead of decorating, flooring and finishing touches. Aim to be within the top 5-10% of other properties in the market.
  10. Whilst you are always trying to maximise profits wihtin your property business, leaving some ‘skin’ in it for the buyer means that your property is likely to fly out of the door quickly (enabling you to ‘go again’ as soon as possible) and leave a good feeling all round, with you, the agent and the buyer.

Our latest refurb project was a lovely (not so!) little 2 bed flat in a converted Victorian building in Southsea, Hants. It took 3 guys, 3 weeks (costing £9,5K and adding c.£40K to the value) to perform a relatively light refurb and turn what was a tired looking but otherwise sound property back to its former glory. A nice blank canvas for the new owner… 🙂


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And after. 🙂

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What have you been up to lately?

Feel free to comment below on your latest property endeavours, however large or small!





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