Our Guide to Renovation and Restoration

In this blog post we discuss renovation and restoration. Read on for our tips and advice.

Our guide to renovation and restoration

Inexpensive old houses are available in some areas, but most have been snapped up and modernised years ago, and those that are left are generally no longer the bargains they once were. In rural areas it's still possible to buy old properties requiring total renovation or even total restoration, although they're rarer nowadays and are by no means cheap. There is a passion for rescuing old tumble-down houses and restoring them to their former glory, and ‘ruins' sold at auction often far exceed their reserve price.

It's very expensive to restore an old property and can cost much more than building a new house, particularly if you do it properly using reclaimed materials.

Many people are lulled into a false sense of security and believe they're getting a wonderful bargain, without fully investigating the renovation costs, which are invariably higher than you imagined or planned! Some properties even lack basic services such as electricity, a reliable water supply and sanitation.

While you may get more for your money when buying an old home, the downside is that they require much more maintenance and upkeep than new homes, and heating costs can be high unless a property has good insulation.

Good Value Old properties can provide better value than new homes, although you must check their quality and condition carefully. As with most things in life, you generally get what you pay for, so you shouldn't expect a fully modernised property for a knock-down price. For those who can afford them, at the top end of the scale there's a wealth of beautiful mansions, castles and stately homes available with extensive grounds (some country homes even come with their own golf course!). Substantial period homes certainly don't come cheap, although this segment of the market has suffered in recent years and larger homes costing in excess of £750,000 are generally excellent value for money.

If you aspire to live the life of the landed gentry in your own stately home, bear in mind that the cost of their upkeep is usually astronomical. As a consequence many mansions have been converted into luxury apartments and townhouses in recent years.

If you're looking for something unusual try Pavilions of Splendour (22 Mount View Road, London N4 4HX, (020-8348 1234, www.heritage.co.uk) or SAVE Britain's Heritage (70 Cowcross Street, London EC1M 6EJ, ( 020-7253 3500, www.savebritainsheritage.org), a conservation charity that maintains a list of properties in need of restoration.

With thanks to BuyAssociation.