Buying to Renovate? Here’s What to Look Out For

Aerial view of Dublin city during the day.

House-hunting generally requires a bit of imagination – even more so when you’re buying to renovate. Not only are you forced to get creative; you’ve also got to crunch some serious numbers. However, if you enter into the process with your eyes open and a clear goal in mind, renovating can be a rewarding way to create the house of your dreams. Here’s what to look out for.

Location, Location, Location

Location, location, location. It’s one of the best-known phrases in real estate for a reason. If you want to maximise resale value, you should buy on the best street you can afford. While you’ll unlikely be able to find a location that ticks every box and comes in on budget, it’s important to know your non-negotiables. That might be proximity to great schools, transport links or the safety of the area; everyone will have their own priorities.

Know What You’re Looking For

Renovation can mean different things to different people. Before you get started, decide on where you draw the line. Maybe you’re ok with gutting a bathroom, but don’t want to knock down walls. Perhaps you’re happy tipping away at a project for a couple of years, or you just want to modernise a dated decor. Whatever you’re looking for, go hunting with clear criteria in mind.

Do Some Digging


Spotted an absolute diamond in the rough at an unbelievable price point? If a property seems too good to be true, unfortunately it might turn out to be just that. Don’t be afraid to do a bit of detective work – has it been on the market for a long time, or was it recently refreshed? Maybe the neighbours are awful! Do some digging now, and avoid potential pitfalls in the future.

Engage with the Experts

So, you’ve identified a house oozing with potential. It’s in your desired location and falls within your price range. But wait. Before you pounce, it’s time to bring in the experts. A house may look like a total bargain, but walls could be harbouring rot, or the plumbing could be a disaster. And all those things could eat a hole in your budget. Enlist experts like builders, surveyors and architects to see if your plans are viable. Yes, it’s an upfront cost, but it can save you some serious cash in the long-run.

Watch Out for the Dreaded Money Pit


Speaking of budget, if you’ve watched any episodes of Grand Designs, you’ll be aware that projects rarely come in at the exact desired cost. Make sure you’re 100% clear on what your renovation budget is, and stick to it. No matter how heart-breaking it is turning down a property, think of the long-term heartbreak of never being able to turn it into the home of your dreams.

Talk to Others Who’ve Been There, Done That

If you know someone who’s recently been through the process of renovating a home – talk to them! They’ll be able to offer you invaluable advice on potential pitfalls and recommend contractors, while giving you the honest truth about the whole process.


Are You Thinking of Buying to Renovate?

The first step on your mortgage journey is finding out how much you can borrow. Use our handy mortgage calculator to get an idea of your budget. The next step is to make an appointment to speak to an AIB Mortgage Advisor. There’s no need to have all your documents and deposit for this first meeting – our advisors will be happy to answer your questions, whatever stage of the process you’re at.

Allied Irish Banks, p.l.c. is an authorised agent and servicer of AIB Mortgage Bank in relation to the origination and servicing of mortgage loans and mortgages. Allied Irish Banks, p.l.c. and AIB Mortgage Bank are regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. Copyright Allied Irish Banks, p.l.c. 1995.