DBPR asked property experts Alex Newall of Barnes Private Office and Tom Hudson of Middleton Advisors about the best way for an individual to find a doer-upper .
Alex Newall of Barnes Private Office
“Look on Rightmove or walk the streets and knock on the door to find your doer-upper. Auctions can be good, but also provide highly competitive bidding. I would buy through an agent or direct, to avoid the price going up too much. Remember build costs are rising due to inflation, so be careful and build in a healthy contingency fund.
Buying a doer-upper is always a case of risk v reward.Without planning, you are never 100% sure what you’ll achieve, but the planning will not be priced in. It depends on your risk profile as a buyer. If you buy without planning, you need to be sure by taking advice and speaking to the council about their views. This will cost you and takes time. Forgetting build costs can rise and all the unforeseen circumstances. Also getting too emotionally involved and throwing money at the problem.
Where market volumes are lower, doer-uppers are more common as people own for longer, so properties which are sold can often be more dated.”
Tom Hudson of Middleton Advisors
“Most doer-uppers are sold through agents via Private Treaty – the standard way most houses are sold. Auctions do still happen, but these are often for complete projects or commercial properties.
A good permission will make the doer-upper more valuable, so you could argue that it is best for the buyer to get this (and save the pennies. But – permissions are not always granted and there is a risk that the buyer might not get what he or she wants, so buying with permission may cost a bit more, but at least you know (as the buyer) you will be allowed to do what the permission grants.
You need to establish (and be strict with yourself) whether you are doing the property up for yourself or as a development to sell on. The biggest pitfall is spending too much on a development and not making any money. There is a market at the very top end (quality, not necessarily price) where exceptional renovations carry significant premiums, but this is easy to get wrong and will end up with losing all profit.
In the country, best to look at market towns or houses near good school and stations. This is where you get most demand from professionals who are working and want a finished house – hence wanting your doer-upper once doer-upt !”