Few things may appear as unattractive or wasteful as empty property – it tends to attract vandalism, the unwelcome attention of squatters, the appearance of dereliction and a general atmosphere of an area being run down.
According to The Empty Homes Agency, the year 2013 saw one of the biggest reductions in the number of empty homes in England, with the number at the end of the year standing at 635,127.
If you want to follow the trend and help bring your empty property back to life, here are a few tips on going about it:
You probably do not want to jump the gun when it comes to cancelling your unoccupied property insurance – the cover that protected your property when it lay vacant is going to be equally important during the course of any building works, refurbishment and redecoration. Also note that as part of your mortgage agreement, typically you are obliged to have buildings cover in place. If you are going to be carrying out extensive renovations, then you may need specialist renovation insurance – speak to a property insurance broker to clarify your cover needs if you are unsure.
Another caution against jumping the gun might be given when matching your plans to the reality of what you are actually allowed to do – the best laid and most imaginative of plans, for example, may come a real cropper if there are legal restrictions or if yours is a listed building.
They might not be the most glamorous aspect to your dreams of revitalising an empty property, but accurate and realistic budgets are paramount – you do not want to run out of money just as the whole project is finally beginning to take shape.
Depending on the area in which you live and the local authority’s policies towards empty housing and housing regeneration, you may find that different kinds of grants may be available – there may be a number to choose from and some might prove quite generous, but all are likely to involve a delay between application and receiving the cash, so again, you might want to plan well ahead.
Getting the right people for the job may also make a huge difference between success and failure – it is not just the building contractor, of course, but other professionals such as architects, surveyors, and solicitors whom you may need to ensure all work together as a team.
Getting the right materials is likely to be as critical as getting the right people – this might call for your imagination, flair and inventiveness, since there may be all manner of alternatives and some may be more to your taste, some kinder on your pocket, and still others more environmentally friendly.
Bringing your once empty property back to life is likely to be a celebration of the difference all your imagination, creativeness and hard work has been able to achieve – there may be a lot to be said, therefore, it may be a good idea to include a celebratory treat for yourself and your team at the end of all your travails.
Revitalising your empty property may be a modest or more lavish affair, depending on your means and the results you want to achieve. In putting something so valuable back into use, you may feel that sense of satisfaction and achievement that accompanies the completion of a project well done.