Latest Blog Posts

Buying with development in mind

Monday, 30th September 2013

Categories: Sales Selling Tips

Author: Kris White

The property catchphrase ‘development potential’ can be a strong draw for house buyers looking for the chance to put their own stamp on a house. And with a diminishing stock of London houses available to an increasing roster of buyers, the state of a property is often secondary – or even tertiary – in priority, to the price and location. But if you’re planning a complete overhaul of a house, there are certain issues you need to be aware of before you order the Farrow & Ball sample pots.

Planning permission

From loft conversions to side extensions, you’ll need to get on friendly terms with your local planning department. Although rules have been relaxed in recent years and permitted development now allows for a more generous revamp of tired-looking houses, you will still need to submit plans and obtain building regulations approval for many of the changes you intend to make. Larger extensions will still require formal planning permission and the whole process – from submitting plans to final approval (or rejection as the case may be) – can take a number of months.


Although objections from neighbours won’t necessarily result in a planning application being rejected, it can put a proverbial spanner in the works and lay the foundations for a rocky relationship with the people next door. It’s a good idea to discuss your plans with neighbours before you submit them to planning. You’re not necessarily asking for their blessing, but you’re keeping them in the loop and trying to reassure them. You can discuss timings, disturbance, access issues etc before work begins so that your neighbours aren’t taken by surprise when the party wall notice arrives on the doormat.


Start doing your research about builders and other trades well in advance of your proposed start date. It can take a long time to coordinate trades, and good building contractors can be booked up for months in advance. Don’t assume that work can begin as soon as you have the set of keys, or when that elusive planning consent arrives.


These days, houses that need work tend to be priced purely with the works in mind. Gone are the days when you could snap up a bargain and add a huge chunk of equity by renovating or updating a house. Check out comparative sold prices in the local area and make sure your budget doesn’t blast you into negative equity – or, if it does, you’re well aware of the situation and you’re splashing out the extra for a long-term house.