Anybody ever bought an empty/derelict house and renovated it?

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  • Anybody ever bought an empty/derelict house and renovated it?
  • project

    Find a descent area, get the house insured incase the natives set it on fire, it does happen, or nick the stuff youve put into it,talk to your new neighbours and tell them what youll be doing along with email and phone number s in case anything should happen, open accounts with B AND Q TRADE and Howdens, try and do as much of the laouring work as posible yourself to save cash, watch the tradesmen and pick up tips.

    Oh and enjoy the experience.

    I’ve done dozens, feel free to email me with specific questions, however it would take far too long to bring you fully up to speed


    Looking into this whole property game. No chance on me getting on the ladder for at least a year but trying to pull together a plan.

    As I live and work in the wonderful city that is Bradford (as I see it life is a game and living in Bradford I see as the first level that I need to complete before progressing) housing is pretty cheap anyway but the amount of empty/derelict property is bewildering to the point were I would imagine getting an empty bargain and renovating it for less than buying a (yes, granted an already pretty cheap) house is feasible.

    I know renovation projects can easily escalate and there are some horror stories out there but anybody got some experience or knowledge they’d like to share in the area of renovation that I currently know bugger all about?

    Ta 🙂

    Premier Icon midlifecrashes

    If you’re not planning on staying in Bradford, don’t buy a house there.


    Going to be here (well on the outskirts of it) for at least a few years I reckon due work contract (sent me on training etc) and a chance of doing a masters at the uni. I don’t actually mind it to be fair and so thought I’d take advantage of getting on the ladder in one of the cheapest places to buy property.

    Premier Icon crazy-legs

    My sister did it. Her and her husband bought a real ramshackle dump of a house in Settle (where they moved for work). It had had nothing done to it for decades, still had the 1940’s wiring and the downstairs was a cellar and coal scuttle, there was an open drain across the bare concrete floor.

    Fast forward 3 years and they’ve done most of it up themselves. Builders/electricians etc did the complex/legally required bits but the place is lovely now. I know they had to remortgage at one point and they’re in the process of selling now but not sure what they paid for the place or what it’s value was when they remortgaged.

    Lot of hard work and there were times when they were living in what was effectively a building site with a temporary kitchen or no bathroom or whatever!

    Premier Icon midlifecrashes

    Fair enough if you’re sticking around, I’ve done three and a half houses. Two repos which had been knocked about/dismantled on leaving and a fixer-upper timewarp flat in a council block. My current house is a big Victorian thing which was being lived in only two rooms of, the rest being used as a warehouse for market traders.

    If it’s just for yourself and family to live in, I’d not bother unless there was a heap of profit in it or it was the only way to get on the ladder. Better to get one that’s just tired rather than empty/derelict, much less chance of finding big expensive issues halfway through a job. Also, if there is really no market for them so they are left empty, is the area so bad you wouldn’t want to live there, or couldn’t sell it later on?

    Kitchen, bathroom and complete redecorate should come well under £10k if you do most of the work yourself. Pick a cheap house that already has a sound roof and decent double glazing and take it from there. Ebay is great for secondhand expensive things like fireplaces and showers/taps. Don’t do anything inside until it’s properly secured and insured. Shop around for everything. Insulate it to death, fuel is never going to be cheap again. How cheap can you get one of these places, seem to be loads on Rightmove £50-60K that seem livable straight from the off?


    Eyes wide open. My bathroom is still bare plaster 3yrs on.


    bare in mind that lots of the stone built terraces in Bradford are very badly made. Depending on what you can do yourself you can make a house liveable quite cheaply. Lots of small problems become big problems once you investigate… As a starter for 10, Bathroom always smelt bad and water drained slowly, I thought blockage, turned out that the waste water pipe ran the length of the house, up hill. Nice. Wires randomly plastered into the walls turned out to be for next door. Weird door size for replaceing original wood door (which got kicked through reguarly).

    We sold our house in BD5 and moved to Leeds, B2B terrace round us from £70k…

    Premier Icon mikey-simmo

    There are loads of derelict homes in around Bradford. Sadly the areas they’re in are by and large very poor places to invest anyone’s money in just because of the neighbours. There derelict for a reason sadly. It would be nice to see them in use as homes but would I like to live there? I’ll stay here, just outside Bradford.


    Only thing I’d say re Bradford was we did a fair few subsidence jobs up there 10/15 yrs ago so make sure you get your initial surveys done properly.


    Live in Bradford? One word, why? Where next Warrington town centre? Portsmouth? 😆


    I’ve done up 4 old terrace houses in Bradford, none of which appear to be badly made.

    Are you single and have lots of time to commit without a nagging wife with unrealistic expectations? Blokes can live in almost any thing in almost any condition 🙂

    I was born in this wonderful town 😉 Wibsey/Horton Bank Top for 32 yrs, Wilsden for 8yrs and now I’m down in Brighouse. Bradford is a good place to live on the outskirts off. Cheap everything, Leeds on the doorstep and not too far to the Lakes/Peaks/moors, etc.

    Where are you thinking about buying?

    Premier Icon tomaso

    midlifecrashes advice is sound. Unless you are very careful you could buy a money pit.

    I did up a large Victorian house that had had nothing much done to it since the 1950s, save for a rewire and a roof. It was a lot of hard work but it looked great and we loved it. But when it was done it was still a nice house on a nice street next to a gang gun crime estate in Wolverhampton. You can only change so much yourself.

    Location location location is the advice and I would pick you street/area in Bradford carefully as this may be one of the biggest determining factors in making a good return.


    Cheers for the responses one and all very informative 🙂

    My rose tinted glasses were very much on!

    I reckon a tired house is probably the way to go rather than a derelict one. As people have said for effort and money invested I probably wont get much of a return down the line compared to just buying a tired house.

    For those who know the area I live in Thornton in a house where

    Blokes can live in almost any thing in almost any condition

    pretty much rings true, cheap though!

    In Bradford as I went to uni here (originally from near Middlesbrough, haha!) and got offered a job that I quite like, still got ties to the uni and as I said chance of me doing a masters here. Plus good riding pretty much on my doorstep. What’s not to like! Well, lots, but I’m not too fussy.

    Plan is to stay here in Thornton, can probably get a tired house for 60k-ish and go from there 🙂


    I thought I would add to this, as I am 18 months into a house renovation.

    To give some perspective, my house has had in the last 18 months:

    * new roof (some slates re-used, but all the wood and felt etc replaced)
    * all render removed, and re-rendered
    * all internal plaster removed and replastered.
    * all the ceilings replaced
    * all wallplates replaced
    * any wood that touches any outside wall replaced
    * couple of hundred lintels installed (all external windows, and most of the internal ones)
    * all bar 3 windows replaced
    * drains replaced
    * re-wired
    * re-plumbed
    * new boiler

    So just carpets and curtains left ……

    Pro’s: are you can buy somewhere you could never afford, and you know all the good and bad bits.

    Con’s: and there are a lot

    1. Kiss goodbye to your bike, and your free time. Renovating a house takes a lot of time, and any free time you have you will use buying and sourcing materials.
    2. Buy decent protective gear, as coughing up shit from dust/fumes isn’t nice.
    3. Allow at least 10% more than you think for budget if you know what you are looking at, if you don’t double your budget and add a bit.
    4. Get a decent survey, and if possible go around the house with them. As you need to check they actually get into the roof to look around.
    5. A lot of builders are crooks, so you need to learn to spot the dodgy ones (I’ve sacked 4 people so far, as lots talk a good game but can’t actually do the job) .
    6. Day rate is bad, if you can’t be around when builders are working.
    7. Dust, whilst you can live in a building site, it will destroy all your stuff (I ended up living in a tent last summer, because it was so bad)
    8. Rubble, you will be amazed how much rubble you will generate and it’s expensive to get rid of.
    9. Sand and Cement …… if its an old house (1930’s or older) and its got sand and cement on the outside walk away. Most builders say its fine, however I know from experience (last two houses had the same problem) that while builders think its fine, that’s because they are used to sand and cement, and its cheap and easy to work with (its rock hard 24 hours later, not like lime) and they don’t care what happens in 20 years time. However it you have an old house, it its been sand and cement rendered you are going to have a lot of rotten wood and damp inside the house; which is *very* expensive to fix.

    Before you start this, do you know any builders? As if you are buying a derelict house you will need to know some good ones. As whilst people can say you can DIY it; having your house collapse on you because you don’t know what you are doing would be bad!

    Also you need to bear in mind, that if anyone breaks into your house whilst its being worked on and hurts themselves you can be sued, so I had to screw shut doors every evening and install security cameras.

    So if you aren’t happy with the cons look for something that is tired, rather than derelict.


    Blokes can live in almost any thing in almost any condition

    This made me smile; as I thought this until I lived in a house where you would wake up in the morning covered in a thick sheet of dust, and *everything* was gritty and impossible to get clean; and getting nose bleeds from the dust grinding up my sinuses in my sleep.

    I know a couple who renovated a derelict mill, and they lived in tents inside one of the buildings with a portaloo for three years and used the local swimming pool for washing; and even they agree you need somewhere away from the dust if you are going to live onsite as taping up doors and sealing the floor with plastic just doesn’t work.


    I bough a run down house over a year ago and am only now seeing the light. Riding has had to be put on a back foot. Best advice I can give is do as much of the stripping and clearing yourself to keep costs reasonable. Whatever you think it will cost might as well add another 50/100%.

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