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While some homebuyers find it hard to see past the benefits a new-build property can provide and envisage themselves in a perfectly finished home designed precisely for their style of modern living, for others, the allure of a period property remains strong.

While some homebuyers find it hard to see past the benefits a new-build property can provide and envisage themselves in a perfectly finished home designed precisely for their style of modern living, for others, the allure of a period property remains strong.

It is easy to see the attractions; period properties are often in prime locations and usually have a charming sense of character, retaining the distinctive and historical features which new-builds lack and, of course, they are a finite resource. 

If you do wish to invest in an older property, before you commit, there are considerations you must take into account, as Carol Crowther, head of Stronachs’ Residential Property explains.

Home Report

If you’re serious about purchasing an older property it is crucial you study the Home Report and take note of any points raised.  Possible areas of concern may include damp, dry or wet rot, subsidence, asbestos, the condition of the roof or water ingress.   Many older properties are likely to have a degree of concern in at least one of these areas and your lawyer will be able to advise on the appropriate course of action.

Seek expert advice

If there are any red flags it’s important to seek advice from an expert as ignoring any issues at this stage could result in problems and expense further down the line.  Signs of damp, for example, can often indicate more serious, hidden problems and may have an impact on your ability to secure a mortgage or obtain insurance cover for the property.  On inspection, structural engineers, builders and timber specialists can provide a detailed assessment of any areas of concern together with estimates for treatment or repair.  The cost of obtaining this advice is often less than expected and well worth the money in terms of peace of mind and the ability to budget accordingly.

Know what you want to achieve and evaluate the amount of work required

Many people buy old properties with the incorrect assumption they may carry out any and all work they wish to turn it into their dream home – but that’s frequently not the case.  If the property is a listed building or within a conservation area you must contact the Local Authority and Historic Scotland to find out any designations on the property and take note of works that require permission.  This is particularly important if the property would require to be extended or adapted in the future, for example to meet the needs of a growing family. In some circumstances even the installation of a satellite dish may require authorisation.

Have a realistic budget

It is very easy when looking at older homes to be captivated by a property at the top end of your budget, leaving very little room for any necessary repairs and improvements.   Ask yourself if the property is in a good state of repair and meets your needs in its current state.  If that isn’t the case, obtain reliable estimates as to the likely cost of any works required, allowing a contingency percentage for any unforeseen issues which may arise.

You should then be in a position to decide whether or not this is the right home for you, taking into account your budget and any potential restrictions in relation to alterations you may wish to make. 

Do remember, throughout the North-east there are fantastic examples of what can be achieved when buyers follow these steps and take the appropriate professional advice before purchasing.

Carol Crowther, Head of Residential Property

 

Chambers Leading Firm 2019

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ABERDEEN OFFICE
28 Albyn Place, Aberdeen AB10 1YL
Tel: +44 1224 845845

 

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Camas House, Fairways Business Park,
Inverness IV2 6AA
Tel: + 44 1463 713225