Most of our clients intend to buy an established home “with potential” and many of them plan to renovate it as soon as possible.

Location is often the driver in decision-making – proximity to shops, schools, facilities and public transport usually a priority – and there are frequently a mix of old and new homes in the area. Which one should you buy if you’re planning a renovation?

The condition of the building will obviously have a huge bearing on the decision. An old home that has been poorly maintained can provide some attraction as it will be honestly presented – usually requiring repair work such as re-wiring, re-plumbing and re-roofing which can be incorporated into the scope of a renovation.

A trickier prospect is where an old home has been vamped up – presenting as a “stage set” for the hopeful buyer. This can also be the case with “almost modern” homes of the 1980’s and 90’s.

Older homes often have generous sub-floor and roof spaces, higher ceilings and more spacious rooms – especially the bedrooms – making them feel bigger and providing more furnishing and storage space. The extra space can be important as they won’t usually have built-in wardrobes! Older homes will also feature period details that appeal to many people.

The construction of the building will also have a bearing on the feasibility of a renovation. Timber homes (including brick veneer homes) are more easily – and therefore more cost-effectively – renovated than brick homes, however a timber or steel addition to a brick building can always be considered. Traditional types of construction to roof frames (excluding trusses) and simple footing systems (excluding waffle pod slabs) can also assist to flexibly and easily renovate.

Another consideration is the aspect and orientation of an existing building. If it’s well sited and well planned an energy-efficient renovation can be relatively easy, however a poorly designed building can be harder to improve.

Whatever the case, an architect can help.