We’ve all seen the numerous programmes on daytime TV, where savvy business people and/or keen amateurs buy run down houses and ‘flip’ them for a sizable profit. We may even know friends who do this professionally or as a bit of a hobby. It seems a very attractive way to earn a substantial one off payment, or even a living, and these shows make it seem so simple! What could possibly go wrong?

tips on renovating a house

Well, it NOT simple naturally, and there are a myriad considerations to take into account. Here’s a quick guide to some important things to consider before you embark on a renovation project of your own. Please remember that this is NOT exhaustive! If you’d like any more detailed advice please get in touch.


Choosing the Right Property

Properties in need of renovation go on the market in two ways:

  • Through auction (please take a look at our guide here.
  • Through an estate agent

It is wise to contact estate agencies in your chosen areas, making it clear that you are interested buying a renovation project. That way agents will alert you when suitable properties come to the market, you will are the first person they call when they take on a relevant property.

Auctions require less waiting but they can be more competitive. Unconverted properties are highly sought-after by investors so guide prices can quickly be exceeded.


Check, Check, Check!

  • Is the property listed or in a conservation area? Certain parts of Old Harlow for example, (near our offices) are in a conservation area, meaning that fencing or exterior appearances cannot be altered.
  • Have a chat with any neighbours before your plans are drawn up. This will save unnecessary objections later and you may also find out stories of previous renovations in the area, and what has been approved and/or rejected.
  • Research the area. What are similar properties selling for when they are in good condition? Could you achieve even more with a new, clean finish? How long does it take for properties of this type to sell?
  • Don’t renovate without the relevant plans or consent – councils are well within their rights to removed buildings that have been changed without permission.


flipping a house – where do I start?

Before You Start….

  • A lot. Many ‘flipped’ properties are inadequately planned, which can lead to higher costs and a lower-quality finish. Making changes part way through the work will mean certain steps have to be re-done. It is worth hiring the services of a professional at this stage.
  • Consult professionals before you start renovating: town planners, contractors, attorney, project managers, and the bank.
  • Investigate funding options. Work out how much money you have to spend and where it is coming from. Also consider an emergency backup fund in case the project runs into difficulties, such as requiring a new roof or boiler.
  • Unless you absolutely have to (or you’re a professional builder yourself), don’t complete the work yourself. A lack of professional can lead to a poorer quality finish.
  • Don’t under estimate how much work and energy is required. Even if you’re not doing the work yourself, organizing contractors and making endless decisions is very tiring.


Once you’ve Started

  • Get three quotes for every job to ensure that you are getting a good price.
  • Sometimes offering tradespeople a bonus if they complete work on time (or even early) can be beneficial. Regardless being polite and friendly to your tradespeople is obviously beneficial.

decorating your home for a quick sale 

Finishing touches

  • Who is your buyer? If they expect luxury, spend a lot, if they’re a first-time buyers, basic appliances will be acceptable.
  • Decorate to a high level but keep it neutral. This means the buyers are able to put their own stamp on the home. White walls are a must.
  • Instruct a Guild agent to sell the home. These are local property experts who know the market, so they can advise on the best time to sell.

If you need further help, get in touch with your local Estate agent to explain your plans, ask for advice, and remember to invite them around for a valuation when the project is completed. They can also give guidance on the types of properties that are most popular at the moment.


The Howick & Brooker Partnership is the leading and longest-established estate agency in Harlow. Howick and Brooker are members of the Guild of Professional Estate Agents.


If you are interested in moving into the Harlow area pleas get in touch.

T: 01279 418888

E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 


We are members of