Whatever the state of the financial climate, property in the sense of buildings such as homes and offices remains a hot topic. Whilst places like Slough in Berkshire are seeing a significant increase in the average house price (up by 24.6%) thanks to infrastructure investment projects like Crossrail, other parts of the country, like Aberdeen in Scotland are seeing steep decreases in property value thanks to the volatility of the oil markets.
Overall however the trend of late has seen property prices rising, aided to a degree by a shortage of housing stock. For many, this provides opportunities to bag a bargain by purchasing a property in need of some redevelopment to then sell on once the work is complete. With this in mind, we've put together a few suggestions on things to consider that will help ensure your property project is secure and looking the part on completion.
One of the most important things to any homeowner or tenant is the security of the property. This includes everything from doors and windows, to garden gate access and garages. Insurers are known to ask for details of the locks on the doors, wanting to ensure that they comply with (most commonly) British Standard BS3621 (or PAS3621 for uPVC multipoint locks). Fortunately, these days there is a wide range of lock types that meet this standard, allowing you to choose the right style of lock to match the door you've got or are choosing to install. We've a handy article here on what BS3621 means
in terms of the lock and the level of security it offers.
If the property has a garage, it is well worth considering how that will be secured, particularly if it connects directly to the main property with a door through from the garage. We'd recommend installing British Standard locks on this door too, in addition to ensuring that the garage door has a functional lock fitted and operational. Remember garages are often used as storage spaces for tools, general possessions and so on, and the opportunistic thief may well use tools stored in the garage to attempt to force access to the main property too.
Gates and gardens (and their sheds!) need consideration too. Gates into gardens off quiet alley ways may provide a route to entry for that potential burglar, and whilst a determined one may scale the fence if they believe it will be worth their while, if they've not been able to easily open the gate then they'll probably head off to try another one instead. Sometimes installation of a CCTV or webcam type device can provide additional piece of mind for a home owner, however bear in mind that steps must be taken not to interfere with the privacy of neighbouring properties and appropriate notices advising of the use of recording devices are displayed. Further guidance on this can be found on the GOV.UK
Whilst the fairly commonplace use of double glazing for windows has reduced the likelihood of someone gaining entry by smashing a window, it's still worth ensuring that the windows installed can be locked, and also consider the addition of window restrictor devices which allow the window to be opened partially for ventilation purposes but not enough to allow unwanted access. As a selling point this also improves the safety features of a window, preventing children or vulnerable people running the risk of falling out of an open window.
Taking time over getting right with from a security perspective is well worth doing, as is making sure that everything looks the part on completion. There's a lot of talk about smart homes, the internet of things and similar apps and functionality allowing us to control more and more of our day to day life through our mobile phone or tablet device. With this in mind, you could consider installing an electronic locking system which enables doors to be unlocked using a key fob or smart phone app, and also offers great control over who has access to property thanks to the ability to add or remove users, or place restrictions on the times they can do so.
Other details to consider of course are internal finishes, whether this is flooring, paintwork, kitchen cabinets or bathroom suites. Some of these are significant purchases, and care needs to be taken to get value for money whilst also ensuring the product is up to the job. Additionally entrances into rooms will come under scrutiny, and so attention needs to be paid to door handles, privacy turns, keyhole escutcheons and so on. Will you fit matching door furniture throughout the property and if so, are you going to opt for styles that have a back plate detail, or a more modern lever on rosette with matching turns and escutcheons. Whilst some of those choices will be influenced by the style and type of the property, other considerations will need to be made about the possible end user too and the appeal of designs and functionality for them. If you are doing the whole property in one go, it's well worth checking out multibuy offers and discounts, such as our 'Whole House Discount'
as well as it all helps your money go that little bit further.
So all in all, whilst there will always be plenty to consider when undertaking a property development project, with some careful planning and research, it is possible to avoid some of the pitfalls, meet the required standards, and get the shine on those finishing touches too.
Written by Maudie Hughes