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While you flick through the property pages of the local newspaper, you may be at risk of being seduced by the on-trend decor of new builds, the period features of exquisitely renovated cottages or the plush and swanky feel of city center penthouses. You have saved up enough for a deposit on a home, and you want to ensure that you make the right decision when you finally commit to a purchase. You view the transaction as a business deal. You know that this first little bit of bricks and mortar isn’t going to be your forever home and you want to find a way to outperform the market. You don’t mind getting your hands dirty and you’re willing to put in the hard graft to see a return on your investment.

Many young people today are choosing to forego the luxuries of a ‘ready to move into’ property for something a little more challenging. While it might be great to pick up your first set of keys, ship in the sofa, crack open a bottle of champagne and relax in your first pad, this is not the most effective way to make money. You don’t want to rely on positive property market forecasts, and you are eager to leap up a few rungs on the housing ladder when it’s time to sell up.

This is where you may have heard the old adage to buy the worst house on the best street. You cannot change the location of a property, but you can change the property itself. Don’t head to a suburb of town that is far from up and coming just because you’ve seen a plush pad. If you’re aiming to make money, you almost need to think about the actual humble abode second to its location. Find the areas that have good schools, a cafe culture, and low crime rates. These are the areas that people always want to live in and will pay a handsome price for the privilege. This should make selling on your property a whole lot easier. By choosing the fixer-upper home on this sort of street, you can complete a high-end renovation project, enjoy living in the property for a while and then move on when the time is right, making money in the process.


It’s vital that when you purchase your home, you have completed some detailed number crunching. You need to know the ceiling price of houses on the street you are looking to buy on. After you’ve purchased the property and completed the planned renovations, do you come in under that figure? If you do, you may be on to a lucrative return on your investment.

Never forget the all-important contingency. It is a good idea to budget 10% or thereabouts to account for any nasty surprises that might rear their ugly head during the renovation. If you’re buying a home that is in disrepair or that needs a lot of TLC, you’ll be surprised just how much of your funds they can swallow. Did you spot the damp that is coming up through the walls? Did you realize there was a draught coming from the windows? While you think you may have examined the property thoroughly before you bought, you never know what jobs may lie in wait when you finally start work.

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Safety First

Hopefully, prior to your first foray into the housing market, you had a survey carried out to warn you of the potential jobs that needed doing. Being the worst house on the best street, you may have some structural issues with the building. This could be shaky foundations, subsidence or heave. By employing the services of a structural engineer at the earliest opportunity, they can ensure that your property is ready for internal works. You must get the building safe first. This may require underpinning, drain replacements and ground anchoring. This will take up a hefty chunk of your budget but needs to be completed to adhere to building regulations.

Services And Utilities

The key services and utilities needed for any modern home cannot be overlooked. If your home isn’t hooked up to the mains water supply and still has an outdoor toilet, these need to be rectified immediately. You will be relying on many external experts throughout your project so it’s vital you can foster positive relationships. Get on the phone to the water company, electricity board, and telephone line provider and get your property connected. No buyer will want to purchase a home without the ability to access wifi in this day and age. It’s vital that your home is as connected as possible and fit for the twenty-first century.

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Square Footage

If you are fortunate enough to have purchased a property on an extensive plot, you should consider adding an extension onto the home. You may wish to go outwards or upwards. If you utilize some of your rear garden space, you could create a two-story extension creating a larger kitchen dining area, an extra sitting room or playroom downstairs. Upstairs you could add a grand master suite complete with private bathroom. If your budget won’t stretch this far, stick to a single story extension focusing on the kitchen. This room is very much the hub of the home, and an open plan living space is highly conducive to a twenty-first-century lifestyle.

If it’s not possible to venture outwards, consider venturing up into the attic space. While dark and dank now, once fully boarded with a skylight or two, an eves room can add all important square footage to a humble abode. By turning a three-bed pad into a four-bed home, you are opening up the resale market considerably. Keep in mind the configuration of the property. Just because you have 3000 square feet of space doesn’t mean it is usable space. A bedroom off another bedroom won’t do, a large living room with a shoebox kitchen isn’t viable, and you need your bathrooms to have windows.

Stay Objective

When renovating internally, the project can become more exciting. This is a chance to flex your creative interior design muscles. Remember to keep an objective head. While you might love a red high gloss kitchen, the chances are that this will limit the marketability of your humble abode. Opt for a more neutral and inoffensive palette. Potential buyers love to see opportunities to make their own mark on a place without doing too much work. A white wall in a living room is easier to paint than a dark maroon one.

By keeping the decor light and bright, you create the illusion of space, natural light can be reflected across the home more easily, and your pad will look new, fresh and well cared for. Forget the idea of choosing a colorful suite for the bathroom. The days of avocado and pink toilets are long gone. Go for a white suite with a separate shower cubicle if you have the space. Your interior design plan should be exuding a lifestyle that seduces the people coming around to look at your home. You need to help them picture themselves cooking up a storm in your kitchen, chilling in front of the TV in the sitting room and relaxing in the garden on a summer’s day.

If you do want to inject a bit of color, do so with the furnishings, drapery, and accessories in your home rather than the integral walls and kitchen units. Dressing a home is as important as getting it structurally sound. It is often said that potential buyers make their minds up about a property in the first ten seconds of a viewing. Inject the wow factor into your home from the very moment people walk up your driveway. Adorn your windows with boxes of flowers, mow the lawn, get a new front door and add that all-important curb appeal. Your mission is to spark a positive reaction in others when it comes to selling.

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Purchasing the worst home on the best street is not simply a strategy to adopt when you are planning to outperform the market. You could take this approach to the next home you purchase, even if you are keen to locate your dream property. Utilizing the project management skills you learned from your initial project, this time you could do it for yourself and create a bespoke pad just for you. This time you can fit the red high gloss kitchen, whip up some wallpaper and enjoy an avocado bathroom suite if you really want to. You’ll still be able to outperform the market and sit on a hefty chunk of equity. The next time you flick through the property pages of your local newspaper, check out the fixer uppers and think about what you could do to them to make them the best house on the best street.