Looking to achieve your dream home? Buying a cheap, run down property which has potential and then doing it up yourself is a good way to go about it. You can transform it into anything you want, and have a say over everything from the layout to the finishes. It’s far cheaper than buying a house that’s ‘move in ready’ so you’ll get more for your money. Or perhaps you’re looking to get in property, ‘flipping houses’ can be very lucrative, and done well can seriously line your pockets. However, renovating isn’t without its risks. Not only do you need to have patience and creative vision when working on transforming a home, but properties (especially older ones can) contain all kinds of hidden secrets. These issues than can put a dent in your budget or even cause you to lose money overall. Here are some of the common issues to watch out for when you’re renovating a property.
Black mold in the property could just be because it’s been left unoccupied for a while. However, it could also indicate a bigger problem. Leaking pipes, rising damp or rain seeping in could all be possible causes. If you spot mold, it’s important to find the cause before making the purchase since some issues will obviously be more expensive to fix than others. If the property requires a whole new roof or new plumbing, for example, the price of the house should be lowered to reflect this. Once the excess moisture issue is resolved, you can get to work on removing the mold itself. If you plan on keeping the kitchen in place, you could get a company to remove the mold in cabinets and drawers. That way you don’t have to completely rip it out and start again. If it’s less severe, you could buy an anti mold product from a DIY store and remove it yourself. Adding an extractor fan to bathrooms and kitchens and ensuring windows are good quality will prevent further issues from occurring.
Asbestos was once hailed for its heat resistance, tensile strength, and insulating properties- and was used widely in buildings before the year 2000. While undisturbed it doesn’t pose an issue, when you’re renovating and pulling down walls and making changes asbestos can be incredibly dangerous. When it’s disturbed, it produces a dust which when inhaled can cause cancers and poisoning which can affect people many years after exposure. It’s so dangerous that you’ll need a professional company to come and remove it for you. Have a survey done before buying the house to discover if there’s any asbestos and how much removal will cost. Be aware that it won't be cheap, it could run into thousands of dollars if the
Pests can be a problem in any property, these critters love nothing more than finding warmth and a supply of food in our homes. However, in unoccupied properties pests can be particularly problematic. When they go unnoticed, they can quickly multiply leaving you with a difficult situation on your hands. Fleas, Termites, spiders, rodents, cockroaches, even pigeons can all cause issues. Check carefully for any signs of pests- dead insects and animals, droppings, chewed cables and a foul smell are all indicators. If the problem is substantial, a pest removal company is the best way to go. That way you can be sure that the life cycle has been completely obliterated, and you won’t notice them popping up again in a few weeks time. When it comes to egg laying insects, you could find that you’ve killed the live pests but the eggs remain. And from a few eggs, they’re able to repopulate again quite easily.
Pests can cause structural damage. Termites are responsible for up to two billion dollars property damage each year. Pigeons nesting in the eaves of the house or outbuildings can cause damage due to their corrosive droppings. Rodents can chew through electrical cables causing big problems. Structural problems can also be a result of leaks, tree root growing through foundations, natural disasters, even dodgy DIY attempts from previous homeowners. It’s so important to check the structural integrity of the building before investing your money, particularly if it’s in bad shape and has been empty for quite some time.
Certain invasive plant species can harm livestock, the environment, and buildings. In the case of Japanese Knotweed, if this spreads from your property onto neighboring land, you can actually be prosecuted, so it’s not something to take lightly. You don’t need to hire a specialist company and can tackle the job yourself if you’re up to it, however, it’s incredibly difficult to get rid of yourself. Roots can be up to seven feet deep underground, and any remains can lead to regrowth. Strong chemicals and determination are needed to get rid of this garden invader. While it’s quite pretty to look at (and was introduced as an ornamental plant), it can take over your entire garden and grow through tarmac and concrete. Other species such as bindweed will take over and choke any other plants in your garden with their knotted long tendrils. When you’re viewing the property, take a look in the backyard. It doesn’t need to be in great shape, you’ll need to find out if any invasive species have taken over. During the spring and summer is the best time to see this, as they naturally die back over the colder months.
There’s a lot to think about when it comes to property renovation, but having a survey done and using your common sense will alert you to any potential issues. If a property does have any of the above it’s not the end of the world. However, the price should reflect the amount of work that needs doing. Alternatively, you could ask the seller to sort the issue before paying the full asking price.
Have you ever renovated a property? What challenges did you face along the way?