Why build a new one when there are empty houses? And why refurbished and expensive when houses can be restored yourself? Many potential home buyers ask themselves whether they could cope with a renovation project when it comes to homeownership. However, it is hardly possible to consider all factors in detail before buying a house. We tried anyway and clarified: What to look out for when buying a house in need of renovation.

Location is also critical.

A manor in nirvana sounds tempting? Even if un-renovated houses in less popular regions are still cheaper than properties in need of renovation in popular locations: think carefully about where your property should be. After all, a good location has clear advantages: A good area promotes a good sense of living and is significantly more profitable when reselling. However, an unfavorable location could cause you to sell the house again shortly instead of being happy there. After all, an airport next door or a faraway school can be very stressful in the long run. When buying a house, the neighborhood and infrastructure should be scrutinized as well as the house itself.

Not without an appraiser

Optical flaws can often be easily recognized and repaired – but if there is structural damage, i.e., the building fabric, pipelines, or the foundation are defective, renovation costs can quickly rise to drastic heights. They can professionally assess whether the renovation project is a realistic undertaking or a bottomless pit – and to what extent professional help is needed. It also gives potential buyers an indication of the scope of the renovation work so that costs can be better assessed and renovation strategies drawn up.

If neessary, rely on the help of experts.

Many buyers of houses in need of renovation have the romantic idea of completely renovating their houses independently. Plastering again here, laying a floor there: A lot of work can be done by yourself with manual skill and time, and costs can be saved – but if specialist knowledge is missing and renovation work can only be carried out inadequately, then it is better to consult a professional. After all, manual mishaps can not only impair the appearance of your home in the long term. The market value of the newly renovated house can also decrease due to poorly laid power cables or leaky joints. So you’d better make sure that your bargain house is in transforms attractive property and, if necessary, rely on trained craftsmen.

Remember the nest egg: there is no such thing as one hundred percent security.

Despite an expert renovation strategy and optimal preliminary planning, all sorts of unforeseen things can happen to houses in need of renovation. Whether a water pipe burst due to old pipes, problems connecting new electrical devices due to outdated technology, or scheduling difficulties with craftsmen and building material suppliers: Anyone renovating an old house should be prepared for such and similar incidents and expect that the time and cost plans usually not adhere to one hundred percent are.

Renovation traps of old houses at a glance:

  • Asbestos: In the 60s and 70s, asbestos was widely used as a building material – today, the material must be professionally removed due to its health hazard.
  • Hidden mold: Not always visible, but still hazardous to health. Under the wallpaper, the walls of old houses can sometimes be very moldy. If traces of mold are found, it is advisable to send them to an environmental institute as a contact test to identify the type of mold.
  • Substance damage: Whether cracks, rising damp or dry rot – substance damage can show up in different ways. As a rule, a building expert should be consulted before buying. Under certain circumstances, the renovation costs can be so high that a house in need of renovation must be completely demolished.
  • Black building: If houses were built without a building permit and cannot be approved, there is only one solution: In principle, they must be demolished. In some cases, a building application can be submitted retrospectively – there is hope for formally illegal buildings. However, to be on the safe side, buyers should, if necessary, inspect the building register at the responsible building authority before signing a contract.

A house in need of renovation as an investment

Whoever buys a house, has lived in it for at least 3 years, and sells it after the speculation period has expired, often makes a profit. After all, the value of a property increases as a result of the renovation and rising purchase prices in many areas – at the same time, buyers save rent during this time and invest in their equity. That’s the theory. But is it then worth buying an old house as an investment? As with all forms of investment, there is, of course, no guarantee when buying a house. Anyone who buys a house in need of renovation must expect higher investments and changes in the real estate market. Financing that is too daring is not a good idea due to the uncertainty. Better: no risk and only take out loans that can be raised independently of a profitable resale.