Bought a Property That Needs Work? Here’s Where To Start

Buying a property off the auction market can be a thrilling venture. Seeing a property that, while not in its prime, has buckets of potential can create an exciting project. If you love interior design and putting your own unique spin on anything you own, starting from scratch can be a golden opportunity. Investing your time, money, and soul into a house to transform it will be an endeavour that will be rewarding as well as satisfying. In order to create a final product that you’re happy with, you will need to plan out the project from start to finish. This will involve making sure you’ve thought of everything. From installing high quality features that will add value such as engineered oak flooring, to house insurance, to structural concerns, everything will need to be considered. This will ensure that your budget matches every aspect of our project that you want to complete.

The reason that buying a property at the auction can be daunting just as much as it is thrilling is because you’re looking at more than just the face value. You will be looking at properties that would not be advised in the eyes of an estate agent. You will have heard the word ‘potential’ banded around when it comes to auction properties, and that is absolutely something you will have to focus on. ‘Potential’ can only be reached if you strategically tackle challenging issues with the property you have purchased.

Remind yourself of your motivations

Buying a property that needs work to it allows you to put your own unique stamp on it. It creates a living space that is tailored to your tastes in design and interior decoration. Looking forward to the final touches to your property will help you to focus on the future. Renovation can be a long and arduous process, and so you will need to remind yourself of the goals you set yourself. Imagining how your finished bedroom will look, thinking of the dinner parties you could host and finishing off the plans for the final design will help to keep your eyes firmly on the prize.

Structural issues

Undoubtedly, when you buy your new property, the first thing that should come to mind is getting the surveyor round. Where you start with your renovation, the structural issues with the property will often dictate where you start the groundwork. Some of these structural issues may also eat into your budget, so you will need to make sure that you have the means to pay for them. Here are some examples of structural issues you will need to factor into the budget:

  • Large trees with overgrown roots: if you have a large, older tree next to your property, you may wish to mentally factor in the costs of removing the roots from underneath your house. Large trees can eat into the house’s foundations, which can, in turn, affect the building’s structural integrity. The branches of large trees, if they are tall enough to overshadow the property, may also cause debris to fall into the gutter. This can need cleaning out, potentially with the help of a professional service.
  • Drainage: as mentioned above, drainage can be a costly issue. This too will be checked by a surveyor, and it will have to be amended, should they find any serious issues.
  • Subsidence: this side effect often causes new home-owners to grit their teeth. Subsidence can have a profound effect on how safe the building is to enter, which can be quite expensive to fix. If you suspect the house may be affected by this, it’s a good idea to make space for it in your renovation budget.
  • Damp: houses that have been lying empty for large durations or time, or were never ventilated properly can be prone to bad damp and mould problems. It’s been advised that mould and damp that’s located high up in a building’s premises can often by down to poor ventilation issues and can be easily dealt with. However, any mould or damp within your property should be investigated thoroughly.


If you have truly picked out an old wreck to be transformed into a dazzling new property, chances are some extensive work will need to be done to the property. As well as structural issues, you will have to spend considerable amounts of money on design and decoration. There will be nothing more rewarding than seeing the repairs and design alterations finally pull together to create a building that is starting to look brand new. It’s for this reason that you should take out the appropriate liability and buildings insurance. Any accidental damage to all your repair work would be potentially heart-breaking. Keeping yourself suitable covered as work helps to cover yourself along the way, ensuring that your hard work won’t go to waste.

The scale

In order to set yourself a budget for the renovation ahead, you will ideally need to get a sense of the scale of the project. How much work will need to be done? If this is your first experience in renovating an old property, it’s said that it’s better to start with a building that is just dated rather than a complete wreck. The reason for this is that the work that needs to be done to achieve a saleable result will be far cheaper than doing-up a property that is truly in bits.

To sort your budget, you will need to get a sense of the scale of the project in hand. If it is just dated, you will need to assess what needs to be done to each room. How much will building materials cost? What will be the total cost of all of the furniture need? However, don’t set your budget to the exact total of all the costs you’ll need –give yourself a bit of wiggle room. In order to save yourself a potential financial headache later on, you might wish to add on an extra thousand pounds or so to accommodate for any surprises you might encounter along the way.


Now that we’ve mentioned budget, you will need to consider some of your financing options. You may already own the budget to undergo a property transformation, which is great. However, if you do not have the finances to hand, you will have to approach either a high street or specialist lender. Whether you will be granted this will depend on your credit rating, and the nature of the renovation. It’s wise that you consult the lender you are planning on using before you go to auction, if only to get a sense of your chances when it comes to finance.

What will sell?

Even if you want to keep the property for your own personal use, this is an extremely pertinent point. At some point in the future, you may wish to move on from the property, and so the changes you make should be partially based on its re-sale value. If you are planning on filling it with wacky colours and designs, you will want to make sure that these are easy to cover or adapt. As well as tailoring the property to your own needs and preferences, you will need to be sure that it won’t turn into an extra cost in the future to change. Of course, you should implement your own personal style wherever and whenever possible. However, sometimes it’s healthy to consider the re-sale value before you spend vast amounts of money on and large-scale changes.

Choose Engineered Oak Flooring

When you choose the flooring for your auction property, you will need to think of both aesthetics and purpose. If you plan on re-selling the property, the flooring should have an appeal that lasts through the decades. However, re-flooring your property needn’t be an expensive venture. Of course, if you want to complete your property to a high-quality finish, it’s up to you how much you spend on each aspect of the project. Expensive stone and wood will of course give your property a luxurious finish. Options such as engineered oak flooring will not only stand the test of time, but will instantly add value to your property. Choosing a surface such as wooden flooring will give it a long-standing appeal, not to mention being easy to clean. Engineered Oak Flooring will give your property a classic touch that has timeless appeal.

New paint

It sounds so simple, but giving your home a new lick of paint can be incredibly transformative. If you’ve purchased and old property that needs plenty of paint work, or maybe even needs new plastering, you will be amazed at the difference new paint makes on your home. Removing any traces or peeling paints, scuffs, mould or staining will do wonders for the property – and that’s before adding in any modern features. The same applies to woodwork: if you have doors, bannisters and old furniture that could do with a bit of a face-lift, see this as an opportunity to polish-off some of the wood work. Woodwork requires a bit more preparation in terms of cleaning up the wood and sanding down the surface, but just like a painted room, and wooden objects will look as good-as-new.

Planning permission

If you’re going to be adding extensions, popping up extra buildings in the back garden and maybe even adding in a loft conversion – you will need planning permission. For some changes to your property, your local authorities will have to grant permission to the changes. The reason for this is that it could affect its listed status, the view from your neighbour’s perspective – or, some would argue – create an eye-sore. Many people fear the prospect of asking for planning permission, as it’s often plagued with stereotypes of difficult neighbours and declined applications. However, by playing by the rules you will be far more likely to achieve a successful application. Doing some research into what guidelines any changes to the building will need to fall in will help you get well on the way to progressing with your renovation project.

Understand your own limits

Before you start undertaking any bold DIY projects, it’s important to know your own limitation when it comes to construction and decoration ability. Fixing any repairs caused by dodgy handiwork may cause much more in the long-run. If you have any doubts about your abilities, it’s always wise to call in the assistance of a professional. You can always hunt around the market for the best price in traders, but executing work yourself could be a real danger to both you and the property.

When you do choose a trader and professional to work with, be sure to double-check their online reviews. The last thing you need would be cowboy builders that were used for the sake of cheapness. While it might be frustrating to consider, it might be worth paying a little bit extra for qualified, well-reviewed professional tradespeople.

Get advice and mentorship  

If you have friends or family who have improved an old property, then getting advice from their experiences could be hugely beneficial. They will have made mistakes along the way and uncovered renovation tips you never would have otherwise considered. They could potentially sit through your plans and highlight any glaring problems or issues you may not have considered. Mentorship can also be incredibly helpful if you are intimidated by the idea of undergoing your first project. It’s perfectly understandable to feel nervous about the process and outcome of your endeavour, and so some familiar guidance can provide some reassurance.

Rather than moving straight into a new-build, upgrading an old building can create a property that feels tailored to your tastes. Spending your time learning the skills to renovate and adapt a wreck or dated property could not only teach you a little bit about project management, but it could also make you a bit of money in the future. While your first property may be for personal-use only, future endeavours could very well make you money through selling and renting. Even if the road is long, remember to keep your eyes firmly on the goal. The property that you create will be a reward for all your hard work and planning.