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Dream homes can turn to heartache if you have bitten off more than you can do

Dream homes can turn to heartache if you have bitten off more than you can do

Top TV shows demonstrating how older or derelict properties can be turned into dream homes have captured the imagination of couples and families across the West.

But while some have created their own urban mansions many people find out the hard way why their bargain property in need of a little TLC becomes a money pit in need of a JCB.

That’s the warning from city builders Helm Construction, who said bagging a bargain basement property could leave homebuyers overextended financially.

Chief Executive Gary Sheppard said: “Bargain properties around some of Bristol’s most popular districts are still out there – and people can be tempted to venture their savings or a pension pot into what appears to be a little DIY project.

“But we know of dozens of examples where people were tempted into taking on a property way below the going rate in order to renovate, but which has proved beyond their ability to refurbish.”

“The old saying ‘If it looks too good to be true, it is’ couldn’t be more relevant. Some properties may carry a strikingly affordable pricetag there is normally a very good reason why the vendors have slashed the price.

“As reputable builders with years of experience on some of the toughest inner city sites we are used to tackling homes such as those featured in the recent Post property shoot – which featured half a dozen apparently normal homes needing a little TLC.

“I would say the majority of the properties featured needed a little JCB instead.

“Couples, families and ambitious enthusiasts who imagine these neglected shells can be turned into dreamhomes could be in for more than heartache if they prove beyond their ability to turn around.”

Helm Construction was recently called in to refurbish a fine townhouse in Clifton’s Pembroke Road.

“This is one of the most sought-after addresses in the city – but properties can still fall out of use and remain empty for years - even in a prestige location like Clifton.

“We were brought in by a private client to return the leafy townhouse to its former splendour and there were any number of reputable builders and possibly a small number of adventurous amateurs who could have carried out the work.

“But people dreaming of recreating the same level of work for themselves need to sit down and think seriously about what is involved before risking their savings on apparent bargains like this.

“Damp basements and walls for instance cannot be sorted with a tube of polyfilla and a can of damp-proofing paint.

“And all works have to pass stringent safety inspections before they will be fit for habitation –or a hoped for sale in excess of the original bargain basement price.”