The rehabilitation of a used house is an option that could be up to 20% cheaper than to buy a new home with some exceptions such as structural problems or other complications which may be too complicated for the layman to undertake.
But what kind of reforms are good investments when buying and which are not?
Building works that are NOT profitable to undertake.
Among the building works that could influence the profitability of the enterprise of selling a second-hand house are the following:
Rising damp is a condition that will involves a high cost. If you want to get rid of it will require a complex and comprehensive treatment sometime of the entire house. In this regard, we must inspect the roofs making sure that they do not have serious problems because humidity can appear not only from the ground but also to a greater extent from the roof.
Wooden structures in poor condition can also be the source of a high expenditure whether to repair or replace structural problems especially here in Spain where timber is so expensive.
Risks of falling debris from the façade.
In the case of old buildings it has to be ascertained the condition of the external façades to avoid unexpected falls. This should be taken into account especially if for instance it is a flat on the 8th floor. Not only it an expensive job but permission has to be obtained from the community of owners. Needless to say that this type of work is responsibility of the community and not of the flat owner, but supposing that the flat owner wishes to undertake the work paying for it directly, even then that work should not be undertaken unless there is a written consent from the president of the community and the cost will not be the same on a first or an eighth floor.
Another issue to be aware of is if there is severe damp or stairs or common access spaces. A good appearance in these zones is almost as important as the flat itself especially on first impressions.
There are old buildings that are protected by law and when it is decided to rehabilitate it may be found that only noble materials must be used and that could push the budget against the rehabilitation project. In this line you also have to check the downpipes and common installations, electricity mains, drinking water plumbing, gas etc. as their repairs imply involving the community of owners.
To change the location of bathrooms and kitchen
In the event that the reform does not involve the demolition of the entire house, changing location of the bathrooms and/or kitchen entail considerable additional expense. As it involve modifying the installations of the new wet room’s location and reconnecting to the new downpipes and mains.
Cracks or fissures anywhere.
The appearance of cracks can be a symptom of an internal structural problem. Before purchasing they should be reviewed by an architect as they can sometimes be superficial and not entail major problem however if any of these suspicious cracks are seen and you are not sure obtain professional advice.
Building works that ARE profitable to undertake.
However, there are other works that are not too expensive and by carrying them out can add a substantial revaluation of the property.
To move partition walls.
Unlike what many people think, knocking down a wall is the simplest and best value for money work: on average, costs 25 € / m² depending on height and types and can totally transform a space allowing the entry of more light into the rooms or connecting and expanding spaces.
Change external joinery.
Badly insulated windows consume more energy than necessary and can bring the noise of a strident street right inside the house. To invest on a new hermetic double glazing with special solar glass can magically convert a noisy house into a quiet and peaceful environment. And make important saving each month on electricity and gas bills improving the (EPC) Energy Performance Certificate rating, a label that more and more people do analyse before purchasing a new home.
Install new boiler.
Talking about improving the EPC rating. Installing a new “Condensing Boiler” could improve up to one letter of the ratings and installing new joinery the EPC could jump another letter. Obviously all these will depend on the location, setting out of the property and sizes of the openings. In some cases even better rating could be obtained.
Decorating the entire house.
Evidently a nice interior design with bright colours could make a world of difference to the final price of the property, but here it needs to be done by someone with good taste. I have seen redecorated houses that it would have been better to have been left in its original state, so if you think you are colorblind do not do it yourself, obtain help.
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