24 Jul 2018 By WengYee Loke
When it comes to traditional auctions, the types of properties you find vary to a wide degree. Amongst the multitude of “normal” properties, there’ll be a number of development or refurbishment opportunities. If you are intending bid on a development or refurbishment opportunity in particular, you might want to attend a viewing first. With this in mind, there are many things to look out for and it is helpful to know what the pain points are. That way you can scope the work out and its costs better. It is always better to have a cost estimate of all the works required before bidding. Having a budget for works will help determine exactly what your upper limit for bidding will be.
Here are some common things to watch out for.
You walk into the property and at first everything looks fine and dandy. But out of the corner of your eye you spy black marks creeping up the wall. No it’s not a slime monster slowly devouring the house. It’s a sign that there might be damp.
Look closer - can you see any other indications of damp? Tide marks? Damp staining? Peeling wallpaper?
There are many reasons that could cause mould growth (the black stuff on the walls). Some common ones are bad ventilation, leaking pipes, or bad construction. You should determine that cause. It could be an easy fix such as installing a vent/extractor fan. Or the more complicated solution of injecting a chemical damp proof-course.
Cracks may often be a natural occurrence over time with the house settling down. But when is it a byproduct of time and when is it a structural warning sign? Unless you have lots of experience identifying cracks in a property, it is best to call the experts in. A structural survey will reveal any core problems that need tending to further.
Sometimes the cracks will not be obvious. Other subtle indications that you can look out for; internal doors or windows that don’t fit their frame anymore or nail heads that stick out due to the wall moving.
It is easy to forget that the exterior of a property needs upkeep as well. You might step foot into the property and seeing everything in order decide that you will be bidding on the property. But do know that even though the inside looks fine and dandy, there could be problems on the outside.
If you can, check that the roof is intact. No missing slates or sagging in general. Problems with the roof could lead to damp or be a sign of a structural problem. Redoing the roof can be a major undertaking so be sure you know what work you will need to do.
Gutters and drainage is another aspect to be on the lookout for. Make sure there are no blockages or if there are, that you factor it into your renovation costs. Nobody wants to find out on a rainy day that the rainwater has nowhere to go.
Gardens are a lovely-to-have feature of any property. But not if there is even a glimpse of Japanese Knotweed! Though seemingly harmless, they grow up to 10cm per day and very resilient. As mentioned in our earlier blog post [link to unmortgageable], Japanese knotweed is a huge red flag. It will make it difficult to get a mortgage on the property.
It might also be wise to make sure that neighbouring properties are clear of this as well. Or if Japanese knotweed is present, that a professional treatment plan is in place. This plant has the ability to spread quickly and cause structural damages. So despite its pleasing appearance you should treat it as trouble.
There is lot that goes into viewing a potential development/refurbishment property. Just keep you eyes (ears, nose, hands…) peeled for any potential issues. If you are new to property development, it might be useful to bring someone more experienced along who can guide who through the process.
Feeling more confident about looking at a refurbishment/development opportunity now? Have a look at our available lots.
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