Why you shouldn't be scared of buying a doer-upper
18 September 2023
As the cost-of-living crisis bites, many first-time buyers might have found that plans to purchase the ideal first home have altered somewhat. Perhaps your lender has adjusted their affordability criteria in line with the current financial climate, or perhaps now you’ve sat down to do the hard sums, your budget doesn’t stretch as far as you might have hoped.
However, all is not lost – far from it. If you plan to keep your property dream alive but are struggling with the idea of compromising on the size of your ideal home or the location you hope to live in, there’s one way in which you may be able to find a home that meets all your requirements, at a price you can afford.
The catch? The property might not be a pretty one – yet.
The idea of purchasing a doer-upper can strike fear into the hearts of first-time buyers, but if you buy cleverly, you can find a property that doesn’t need a full refurbishment (and the finances to match) – just a bit of imagination and some know-how can help you to create the home of your dreams, on a realistic budget. Plus, the perk of this kind of property is that they might not always attract the most attention, or the most demand, so you might even be able to snap up a bargain – a welcome outcome at any time, but especially during a cost-of-living crisis.
So, open your mind to the ‘ugly home’ when you next search tspc.co.uk, and don’t be put off by retro décor, unsightly kitchens, or decades-old carpets – follow our top tips and you might just be able to find a home that ticks all your boxes, but just needs a little bit of TLC.
Search for properties with an open mind
It might be harder to fall in love with a property that looks unloved, but if you open your mind to the potential a property holds, it’s easier to imagine how beautiful a home you can create. Look online for examples of finished properties in the same architectural style or time period for inspiration.
Remember – you’re not looking for a full renovation project, so consider the work that a property would need to bring it up to standard.
Make sure it has ‘good bones’
To make sure your makeover can be done on a budget, it’s important that your chosen property has an overall sound structure – so study that Home Report carefully.
Your solicitor estate agent can help you understand the Home Report and make you aware of any issues, so if there are any alarm bells ringing, you can make a decision that’s right for your budget.
Category Ones are ideal on a Home Report, and some Twos are also fine depending on your attitude, but if there are any Category Threes, you really need to consider your budget and how much you love the property before making an offer, as repairs at this level could prove costly.
Look for ‘the worst house on the best street’
We’re sure you’ve heard this saying before, but it still holds true. If area is a non-negotiable for you, you might need to look for a home that needs sprucing up – but at least you’ll be living in your preferred postcode.
Remember, you can change almost anything about your home, but you can never change its location.
Consider cheap and cheerful makeovers
There are so many ways to make a property picture-perfect, even on a low budget. If your property has an old-fashioned kitchen, a quick fix is to paint the cabinets (an on-trend dark shade, like navy blue, forest green or charcoal works best, to cover up old marks or damage) and add new hardware. You can even buy rolls of vinyl wrap that can make worktops look like wood or marble, for an Instagrammable finish.
Ugly tiles? A can of tile paint and a coloured grout pen can transform tired tiles in one evening for a fresher, more modern look.
Learn from other renovators
One quick glance online can lead you to many home renovation stories. Listening to what those with experience in renovating properties have to say – you could learn from their (sometimes costly) mistakes!
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With a wealth of local property knowledge, TSPC solicitor estate agents make the home buying and selling processes as easy as possible. If you’re looking to buy or sell a house or flat, find a TSPC solicitor agent today.