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Antony Antoniou – Luxury Property Expert

Abandoned Empty House! – 7 Steps to ascertain whether it could be your next Development Opportunity?

Say you were walking along this Sunday morning around your area locally and you just found an abandoned house. The question that arises is what would you do is there a potential opportunity here or would you just walk on? Firstly as you usually walk past the house you need to look at the property closely!

  1. Looking at the property closely (without trespassing of course!)

Check indicative factors as to whether this property is actually abandoned such as an overgrown garden, whether there is scaffolding on the property. If there is scaffolding on the property does that mean there is work going on in the property? Not necessarily it may have been planned or potentially there may have been structural issues with the property. Also check to see if the windows are boarded up as that is a true sign that a house is abandoned as they are trying to prevent squatters from going into the property and also review the state of the roof. These indicators would give you a feel as to whether there is some kind of an issue with the property. If these factors do provide you with the inclination that there is a potential issue or problem with the property does that necessarily mean it would be an opportunity for yourself. This is when you need to undertake the next step.

  1. Speak to the neighbours

Just walk up to the door and knock be very approachable and apologetic for interrupting them and ask them about the site next door as they will know everything about it generally and would surprisingly like to share the information as to what happened and they would explain it all to you. This would provide you with a very good feeling as to what happened with the property and give you a good background indicator along with you taking a look at the property.

  1. Google the Address!

This property may already be on the market but if it has been on the market for a while the board may have fell down so you may not have seen it. So this way you can ascertain who is marketing the property. However you may also uncover a real gem of information that you would not have found out otherwise. This process is all about building a story! So this should always be on your list to ensure you thoroughly check the property through.

  1.  Planning Applications

You should also check to see if there has been any planning applications made recently on the property because that may explain why no activity has been undertaken on the property. It may be that planning is being sought or it may not be! However it is always good to review.

  1. Download the title deeds and plan

This will only cost you £6 for both. When you download this review the documents and have a look to see if there is anything unusual in those documents which seems out of place. Also investigate whether there is a mortgage on the site and whether there are any restrictive covenants on the site, any boundary disputes. Additionally are there any differences between what you see in the title plan and what you see in real life.

Once you have done this a couple of times you will start to see a few glaring issues that would jump out at you when you start to look at the title deeds after you decide to download these a few times. However the point to consider above all is the address of the owner different to the address of the property. If so….

  1. Write to the owner

Ideally you would want to meet up with the owner and grab a cup of coffee and find out what the issue is as there is absolutely nothing happening on the site. Therefore it would be good for you to meet up and build some rapport with them so you can really find out what the issue is and whether you would be able to compile a real win- win solution for both parties.

  1. Follow up, Follow up, Follow up

So many deals are made during the follow up process. So ensure you put the site in a folder and continue to look at other sites and get back in touch with the owner after 4-6 months as they may even become more motivated to do something with the site.

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