How to use Rightmove to find houses in need of renovation
By Robert Jones, Director of Property Investments UK
One of the golden rules for property investments is being able to add value, which starts with knowing how to spot the right renovation projects quickly and efficiently.
You may be looking to do a flip type strategy, where you’re going to buy property, refurbish it, and then perhaps sell it on to a first time buyer. Or maybe you’re thinking about a buy to let approach and you want to add value to the property instead of just buying a ready to go deal.
Whatever your strategy, it’s easy to spend hours upon hours trying to find the right properties and wading through multiple listings without getting anywhere.
To help you spend less time looking for properties and more time making offers and closing deals, here’s a simple two-step search model that uses Rightmove to find houses in need of renovation or refurbishment projects in any area.
Lay the foundations first
Make sure you’ve signed up for a free account with Rightmove to get started and then you’ll want to select the area where you’re looking for refurbishment projects, so you can choose a town, city or even a post code.
You want to find the best kind of refurbishment projects at the lowest price, but you will need to have an understanding the local area that you want to cover, as well as some criteria in mind in terms of the types of properties, the number of rooms and price ranges those properties will fall within.
Setting the value too high will result in lots of irrelevant listings, whereas setting it too low won’t give you anything, so you need to be realistic and get the valuation as close to the truth as possible.
It’s useful to look at specific postcodes within a town or city to help narrow down your search even further. House prices can be very different across different areas, so if you can set specific valuations for specific areas, you’re narrowing down your search even more and saving yourself more time in the long run.
Narrowing your search
Once you’ve confirmed all of your criteria, you want to be left with somewhere between 20 and 50 properties ideally. That’s a manageable amount and means your parameters have been set just about right.
Make sure you’re looking at the list view and change the settings on the top so you can see 50 results per page and show by the lowest price first.
Step 1 – Proactive property shortlisting
The first approach is looking at the Rightmove listings and there are three key elements you need to look for:
1. External photos: One of the tell tale signs of properties in need of refurbishments can be the exterior photo, so look for properties that maybe look a little bit neglected. An overgrown garden, a boarded up window or just a general worn look can all be early giveaways.
2. Interior photos: Look for properties with a low number of images, usually five or lower. Typically properties with more than five images are in better condition and the seller wants to show it off. If there’s not a lot to show internally, pictures probably won’t help to promote or market it.
3. Property description summary: The short summaries here will give you plenty of obvious clues so give them a quick scan too. Look out for phrases like ‘needs refurbishment’, ‘run down’ or ‘projects’. These terms allude to it being the type of property that you’re looking for.
As you work through your list be sure to save the ones that look interesting to build up a shortlist of potential refurbishment options.
Step 2: Reactive use of Rightmove alerts
Now you’ve got your criteria set up, Rightmove gives you a handy option of setting up email alerts for your searches.
It’s worth considering setting up a brand new email address just for your property emails so you can keep everything in one place and you don’t get overwhelmed by mixing all your emails together. Then it’s easy to dip in every now and again to check through them and see what’s interesting.
Make sure that you set these alerts up for instant send, especially if you’re looking in a competitive market, because you want to be getting these listings as soon as possible. Then you can quickly take advantage and arrange viewings or put your offers in.
Combining the two approaches above is a simple but effective way to help you pick out refurbishment and renovation properties you can add value to, so do take the time to set your criteria as accurately as possible and good luck with your searches.
This article is taken from a larger article and video on the Property Investments UK website.
Robert Jones is a Manchester-based property investor and director of Property Investments UK.
He provides bespoke property investment training and one-to-one mentoring for would-be investors, having bought and sold more than 100 properties to grow his own portfolio over the last ten years.