I have helped expat clients navigate the UK property market to invest whilst the Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) ‘holiday’ was in place. I too decided the timing was right to turn developer and take on a renovation project to capitalise on the last wave of tax savings. When buying in the South it’s best to take all the savings you can get!
I did a lot of desk research and Due Diligence on deals in the Surrey market. I found one in July of last year. My offer was based on an affordable purchase price. I had worked out the costs involved to make the house liveable. My second offer was accepted and I have been progressing the project steadily since.
There have been plenty of challenges along the way, including dealing with: Estate Agents, banks, lawyers. As well as hitting the SDLT deadline. It’s then been a question of getting planning permission and trying to find a decent builder. A decent builder who has a free slot and who can provide a reasonable quote for the work.
The last few weeks I have spent mostly scouring the Schedule of Works developed in conjunction with my architects. I am seeking alternative ways of doing things. Including researching substitute materials that might work out more cost-effective.
Energy Performance Certificates – EPCs for Developments
One of my drivers has been to target an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) grade of ‘C’. This is to partly future-proof the energy performance of the property. The rules governing qualifying buy-to-lets are due to tighten to a ‘C’ EPC grade in the next 3-4 years. This has meant I’ve done some desk research and talked to an EPC Assessor. I have sought to get an insight into the way Retro-fits are assessed vs new builds. Talking to a Building Control Officer has helped check acceptable U-values of insulation material.
According to the EPC assessor, new builds are assessed using a SAP calculation. A SAP calculation uses lots of data points as input to the grading and summary provided on the EPC register. U-values are taken from the prevailing Building Control standards. But for retro-fits the original build date is used. As well as a pared-back calculation based on the area, volume and floorplan. This means the assessment is less rigorous. That could either help or hinder the final assessment, but it isn’t possible to tell until the day of reckoning and assessing.
This level of research and negotiation is the type of service I offer you my distance investing clients as part of my bespoke sourcing service. So if you would like to hear more about working with me then please message me or use the link to book a session
My business focuses on helping time-strapped expats and busy business people who don’t have the local presence, or capacity, to acquire the ‘right’ properties for them. Property Venture® is an award-winning, Boutique property consultancy that finds the right investment properties for clients investing at distance.Tags: Buy to let, Developer, investment property, Renovation