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To buy a house pre or post renovation?

Having spent more time at home than ever before in the last year and a half, you might feel like it’s time to move, relocate or upgrade to a new house. In this case, you might be asking yourself if you should go for a new, completely renovated house or instead, opt for a property which...
To buy a house pre or post renovation?
Housing: To buy a house pre or post renovation?

Author: Stephanie Akkaoui Hughes

Architect, author, international speaker, Founder and CEO of AKKA Architects, Stephanie is part of a new breed of young visionary architects who operate beyond the nowadays restrained realm of architecture. A strong advocate of value created through crossdisciplinary interactions. She believes that the most sustainable innovation will happen at the intersection of different fields. Stephanie believes that space can be used as a strategic tool to drive business growth, individuals advancement, and social impact.

To buy a house pre or post renovation?

Having spent more time at home than ever before in the last year and a half, you might feel like it’s time to move, relocate or upgrade to a new house. In this case, you might be asking yourself if you should go for a new, completely renovated house or instead, opt for a property which needs work and choose to renovate it yourself. What are the pros and cons of each route, and most importantly, which option suits your situation best?

There are several key things you might want to take into consideration whilst weighing up this decision. For example, how specific you are about the house you are looking for, what is available on the market in the area you are searching, budget constraints and timeline limitations. These considerations have to be made according to your specific lifestyle and needs. It is also important to think beyond the present moment, meaning to consider how your needs might change in the future as your situation and lifestyle evolve.

The 3 most important things to consider when making the decision whether to buy a home pre or post renovation.


1. Consider the costs in both options

Provided it is all you want it to be, purchasing a home that’s already renovated, would be an easier choice than purchasing one that needs renovation. This is since buying a house that requires no new work, would involve no extra work from you, no hassle, no risks of things going wrong and no delays or unforeseen costs. However in this case, it is expected to be more expensive outright. Since you are paying not only for all the work that’s been done on the house, but also a premium for the seller, sort of their profit for doing all the renovations. Check contractors here.

Although remodelling or renovating a house can sometimes require you to take on a considerable project, this option does give you more flexibility with what you want to create, and potentially the budget. You gain the freedom to choose what to renovate, which spaces to remodel, therefore saving money on your renovations through making the necessary decisions. Check out our past post called Estimating the cost of renovating your home to help orientate yourself through this process.

It is best to avoid a situation where you are doing both, i.e. having to make changes and renovations on a newly renovated house, because you may not be satisfied with the design of a particular space, even if brand new. For example, if you aren’t happy with the kitchen space, despite it being new, you might decide to get new fittings for the space. In this case, you would be paying extra on top of someone else’s added value or profits to the space in order to change this.

2. Consider the added value you could bring to your house

If you buy an already renovated house, there would be little additional value that you could bring to the house yourself. This means that when you are selling or renting in the future, you are only benefitting from the general real estate price (if they are increasing that is). You are not benefitting from any work you have done that has raised the value of the property from when you bought it.

In the case of buying a house and renovating it yourself, it is possible to renovate in such a way that the value of the property is increased and you can therefore make your money back when you eventually sell or rent out your house. This is the major benefit of creating the added value yourself.

3. Consider the style of the house, and the work required

Buying a house that needs renovation allows you to make the spaces better and more aligned with your personal style and specific needs. It allows you to model the house in a way that it accommodates your lifestyle and that of your family. Unless you find the perfect house that has everything exactly how you would want it, an already renovated house is unlikely to offer you that level of customisation. The design could be a standard one, the flow might not be comfortable for you and the fixtures and fittings could clash with your own taste.

When considering to buy an existing house that you plan to renovate, make sure that before you commit to it, you have checked that the major changes you have in mind are feasible. Some changes could be hindered or not feasible at all due to structural reasons, foundations, fire codes, any protected status the house falls under, permit requirements … etc. Being aware of the age and construction method used to build the house is also crucial as this might involve significant changes needing to be made to the house. Therefore, make your decision while taking into consideration feasibility, budget, timeline and remember to account for a contingency.

While buying a house that is ready to move into could be easy and hassle free, renovating your own home may well give you a significant sense of accomplishment. Whichever option you choose, make sure to assess all the investments (financial, time, efforts…) that would be involved in the project before making any commitments. This means, when deciding whether to renovate or to buy an already renovated house you should consider the costs, timeline, as well as the entire process of both in order to see which suits you better. In the case that you decide to renovate yourself, consider things like the restrictions in place, the local building laws of the location and the time you would have to spend on the project, just to name a few.

At the end of the day, what is most important is to make the right choice for you, whichever option that might be. Do your research in depth to fully consider your options. And if you get overwhelmed, get in touch with a friend who might have gone through this experience before, or even a professional!