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Auction PropertyBuy to Let & LettingRefurbishmentRenovation Diary

The Easy Buy To Let Property Experiment: Renovation Kick Off

Is there any such thing as an “easy” buy to let?

That’s the question which prompted the purchase of the latest property (video tour here)

Perhaps I was premature in that question.  I think the first question I should have asked was: Is there any such thing as an easy property renovation?

The answer to that question if you have unlimited time and money is yes; yes property renovation when you can throw lots of money and time at a project is very easy.  But when you’re trying to do a renovation in the real world with actual budgets and strict time schedules it gets much, much harder.

This is because no matter what you think you have seen or budgeted for, there is always something else which will crop up.  And that’s why you always need to have a contingency…and a FFS-contingency!

When I viewed the property it was crammed full of stuff making access difficult to many areas.  I had checked some of the windows and noted they were early timber double-glazing, but thought with some TLC I could eke a bit more life from them.

The big mistake I made was not to climb over the furniture and test EVERY SINGLE ONE.  Because the ones I didn’t test – and which I now have access to – have literally fallen away in my hands and have now had to be nailed together!

Would this have made a difference to the price I would have offered?

Yes and No.

In an ideal world, I would’ve reduced my offer price to reflect the cost of the works, but in a hot property market, that offer wouldn’t have been accepted.  The property wouldn’t have been secured before auction and it’s very likely that in the room it would’ve sold for more and I wouldn’t now own the property.

So like anything, you have to look for small consolations – mine are: a) I now own the property and b) the money I would’ve spent on additional stamp duty will be better spent on actually improving the property.

The key issue which has arisen is that the window replacement has now become a top priority both in terms of project budget and also timings.  And this has consequences for the rest of the project schedule.

And so we start day one knowing the budget is blown….and the time schedule is screwed.

Welcome to the real world of property renovation 🙂

17 comments
  1. Chris

    Loving the blog posts Sam, I know it will make for more interesting reading when things go wrong / differently but wish you all the best success for this. Will you be able to include itemised figures of the costs in this project? Would be very interesting.

  2. wendy

    hi sam. have you considered offering a prospective renter a few months free rent in exchange for helping with the renovation?

    1. Sam

      Thanks Wendy, that is a really interesting idea. It did cross my mind (let as seen!), however I think the hit we’d have to take on the rent and the problems which will occur would not be worth it.

  3. Jools

    Hey Sam, that looks like a great house despite the issues with the windows etc. Time to hone your negotiation skills with suppliers! I once had some Indian builders working for me on a renovation and they taught me to think like an Indian, ie, never accept the first or second price, haggle some more and then when the deal is nearly complete negotiate again! Saved me thousands! All you need is the guts to do it AND always think “Indian” before committing lol. It got to the stage where I would have the kitchen supplier downstairs negotiating and all of a sudden there would be a yell of “Indian” from upstairs!! Nice ceiling fan BTW! No thank you, I dont want it!

    1. Sam

      LOL “think “Indian” – Love it! Don’t worry I’m not a pushover when it comes to haggling and have no shame…or pride…and plenty of balls :). However, I do like to form long term relationships with people and have to trust people. I look for win-win situations as we all want to put a bit of money in our pockets!

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