Second-hand Homes (or resales)

Many people favour new homes, which can be a good option, but there are a number of good reasons why a second-hand property can be a good buy, too.

Just like going to a charity shop to buy a perfectly good used suit, you can buy a slightly worn second-hand home. One of the main advantages is price: second-hand homes (or resales, as agents call them) are generally cheaper than new homes. Also, although you might have to carry out a bit of work to freshen them up, you can stagger the work dependent on when you have the funds to pay for it, and you can turn a bit of a profit when it comes time to sell.

One shouldn’t be daunted by a home that needs a bit of work. As long as the structure is sound, the work is likely to be more decorative, which can be quite fun to carry out. You ensure you get the look you want and feel you have a real stake in the property as you add your personal touches to it. Besides, it’s amazing and quite inspiring what a lick of paint and some small repairs can add to a dated property.

Taking on something requiring more in terms of refurbishment needn’t be alarming either. You do need to be realistic about how much you can do, of course, but a bit of time and energy invested in tackling a resale could be a sound investment.

Also, you don’t need to do everything in one go. Just like developers build large schemes in phases, you can come up with a similar staggered plan for your own mini-refurbishment. If you don’t have all the money at the beginning, divide up what needs to be done and do it in sections.

For instance, you might want to fix the leaking gutter and get the boiler sorted when you first move in, so there’s no damp and you’re warm. Then, you can tackle the cosmetics, such as repainting and putting down some new carpet. It makes sense, obviously to carry out any structural work first, so you don’t have to undo what you’ve just done. Repainting first to only have the job ruined when you dig into the walls to sort out the wiring would be not only a waste of time, but a waste of money, too.

It might even be worth playing for a session with an architect (it won’t cost more than a few hundred pounds to get advice) and he could explain how you could best do the work in stages. It would be money well spent, which you’d probably get back in the long run.

Professional advice from Man and Van Hire in London company

Keep an eye out for ex-council property. It might be dated – from the 1950s onwards – or even in an older converted period building. Check out the building, the estate (if it’s on one) and the area. Some ex-local authority property can be quite good and the estate where it sits friendly and well established – recently I passed a well-tended council estate in Bristol, for instance, that was all neatly planted with lovely flowers and shrubs. Neighbours were chatting and children were out playing with one another.

Equally, I’ve come across some local authority property that’s perched up on the sixteenth floor of a graffiti-sprayed 1960s concrete block where the lift rarely works. It is likely you would feel less secure and more alienated here, so be cautious where you buy. And even if you feel relatively safe, a future tenant or the next buyer might not agree.

You can find some good deals, however, and as an area – and the council building – is upgraded, you could do well in the long run.

What to look for when buying a golden girl

  • Guttering and roof

If there are leaks and rust on metal gutters, water might have seeped into house, rotting the wooden timber.

  • Slates

Are any missing or have they slipped out of place ? This might be sign that you have to replace the roof, which could be pricey.

  • Chimney

Is the stack sealed at the joint, with the roof, and is the brickwork intact ? Look for cracked mortar and any leaks.

  • Dry rot

It’s easy to spot dry rot simply by sniffing. If there’s a musty scent and you can see cracked woodwork, this could mean there’s dry rot. Dry rot is caused by fungus, which can be very expensive to sort out, as you have to replace all the wood that has been infested. Mind, you could get a big discount on the property if they’re prepared to take the risk the problem can be fixed.

  • Leasehold vs freehold

I’ve talked about the difference between leasehold and freehold property earlier. To recap, freehold refers to the property and the land on which it is built, while leasehold means you own a property for an agreed number of years as set out in a lease. With older properties, however, there could be complications with restrictive covenants, a legal reference where you aren’t allowed to do something, or go somewhere. One common example is a restrictive covenant inserted into a lease regarding rights of way. This could mean the public is allowed to access your property to get to a road or footpath. Generally, any anomalies are more likely to be found in older properties, so get a good solicitor to check everything out before buy.

March 18, 2013 | Author: | Posted in Reading Books


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