Renovating an Old Building: Is is Worth the Investment?

While the property market may have declined against a backdrop of economic and geopolitical uncertainty in recent times, this remains a viable investment vehicle in the modern age.

In fact, the challenge facing investors is determining precisely how to invest in real estate, with various options available offering variable rates of return.

For those of you who have an innate sense of ambition, renovating an old building may offer the most satisfaction and the highest return. This may also require a larger, initial investment, however, so it is important to consider whether this is right for you:

Renovating an Old Structure: The Benefits

To understand the benefits of renovating older structures, it is important to take a look at successful projects. Take the recent renovation of the Old Police Station in Harrogate, Yorkshire, for example, which has delivered astounding results and laid the foundation for significant profitability in the future.

As you can see from the startling images at, this project was a huge success and one that required an incredible amount of creativity, organisation and hard work.

It also showcases just how an old, Grade-II structure can be completely modernised and repurposed, without compromising the core structural elements that offer so much unqiue value. The striking facade remains, for example, with the interior having being divided into houses and apartments that afford the building a viable purpose in the modern age.

These cost between £250,000 and £895,000, and highlight the lucrative nature of the project and the potential return.

The Key Considerations: Is This Type of Project Right for You? 

This represents a huge success story, and one that underlines the potential of renovating older properties. There are other projects that have not proved to be as successful, however, so it is important that you consider the crucial elements of such projects before making a firm commitment.

In the case of graded properties such as the Old Police Station, there are considerable restrictions on any modifications that amend the character of the structure. The Planning Act of 1990 also stipulates that any work on such structures requires formal consent, which costs money and forces you to allow more time for completion. This is just one example of how costs can increase incrementally when renovating old properties, but there are others that require consideration.

Older structures are unlikely to feature a damp proof course, for example, which is a key component of modern buildings. Properties that were built before the Second World War are unlikely to feature one, as builders during this generation lacked the skill and materials to complete such a task. In instances where your property does not have a damp course, you will need to install one at variable costs depending on the structure’s age.

The Last Word: A Challenging But Rewarding Investment 

While renovating old, graded or period style properties is highly rewarding and lucrative, it also places greater demands on investors.

More specifically, you must have the necessary resources and knowledge to complete such a task, while it is important that you make allowances for the impact that increased costs and time delays will have on the profitability of the project.

Research and an appreciation of your personal circumstances, as you look to make an informed decision that helps you to make the right real estate investment choices.

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