Renovation Properties – How to find a property in need of renovation?

When you are looking for a home or property to buy, in our view, there are three ‘types’ of properties you could go for;

  • The “Diamond”– This is a home that is ready for you to move into with no renovation work needed. It’s what you wanted, but as everything is new and fresh, you don’t feel the need to add anything more. You will pay a premium for its pristine condition and everything may not be to your taste, but it saves you the hassle of undertaking any building work.
  • The “Rough Cut”– This is the sort of property that most people buy. It’s liveable, but it’s a little tired and not exactly what you want. You might decide to live in it for a few years and do bits and pieces of renovation each year or undertake a complete refurbishment and rent whilst the building work is going on.

Here are some examples of our “Rough cut” properties:

Little Boltons, Kensington

Dolby Road, Fulham

  1. The piece of “Coal” – This is a property or a home that needs a complete overhaul before you even step into it. It’s likely to be in a dilapidated state with no modern amenities and might need be demolished and rebuilt.

The good news with this sort of property, is that you are likely to get it at a discounted price. But be prepared to keep aside sizeable funds for the refurb. Whilst purchasing renovation properties like this can be a bit of a project, gems like these are few and far between.

We love working with pieces of “Coal,” transforming them into our clients’ vision. Here are some examples of some of these properties.

Vicarage Road, Henley On Thames

Radipole Road, Fulham

Chiddingstone, Fulham

Finding them will need some clever detective work on your part. On the other hand, a property like this gives you the opportunity to build your dream home in exactly the way you have envisioned it.

So how do you go about finding these pieces of coal or renovation properties?

  • The first step is to decide what area you want to buy the property. You might shortlist two or three areas. Drive around to see if you like the look of the houses. If there are streets you particularly like, note them down. Once you’ve decided on the area or areas, visit the local estate agents and discuss what you are looking for and your budget. Whilst they are usually in the know about the renovation properties available in the area, they will look to sell you a “Rough Cut” or a “Diamond.” If, you get to know some of them, they may give you first dibs on potential properties, before they advertised.

As most of our clients are based in South West London & North London, we thought we’d share the names of some of top the estates agents in those areas.

South West London Estate Agents

Marlowe Estates

Robert Holmes & Co

Hamptons International

Knight Frank

James Pendleton

Douglas & Gordon


Keller Williams Prime Properties

North London Estate Agents



Kinleigh, Folkard & Hayward


Fox Gregory




  • Local newspapers are also a good source to find these hidden gems. Often these properties are obscurely advertised so you will need to spend some time poring over them…a magnifying glass might help 🙂
  • Walk around the area extensively. You might see properties with unkempt gardens or boarded up properties in disrepair that look like potential to you. Talk to the local agents about it. They may have insider information about it. Whilst this may seem aggressive, you could contact the owner directly and ask if they might be interested in selling. Sometimes people are unaware of the value of their property until someone tells them what they could potentially get from its sale.

If you’ve found a property that that needs complete refurbishment, give us a call on 0208 191 -7595 or email us at We’d be happy to pop over, have a look at the property and have a FREE no obligation chat on what we could do for you.

We have an experienced team of architects, structural engineers and interior designers with over 15 years’ experience in renovating homes, so whatever their state, don’t hesitate to contact us.