5 things property shows have taught us

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PropertyFrom Kirsty and Phil to Kevin McCloud and Sarah Beeny, TV property gurus have amassed a loyal following of would-be property-owners who look to them to offer advice on anything from exposing original wooden floors to marketing their bijou second living room as a snug.

Rather than incur all the cost and potential hassle of renovating a dilapidated barn or thatching a 19th century roof, property enthusiasts live vicariously through watching the misadventures of other people’s restorations on TV, feeling safe in the knowledge that their bank balances and dormer roofs are safely intact.

1. Buying abroad is not for the faint hearted:

After a few hours of watching Holiday Homes from Hell, your dreams of a villa in Tuscany or Gîte in France may be firmly on the back burner. More often than not, buying abroad is besieged with tales of lengthy-paper work, low currency exchanges and wooden beams that are infested with termites.

In one memorable episode, a couple who were planning to start painting holidays in France found their property lacking a septic tank and rainwater drifting into their newly refurbished guest cottage.

2. Buying a property at auction could save you thousands:

If Homes under the Hammer has taught us anything, it’s that auction properties are a safer bet than we may have first thought.

As long as you don’t scrimp on a survey, you could find yourself grabbing a bargain seaside property in Devon or a 3-bedroom house in Manchester which is primed for conversion into a student let.

3. Leave the DIY to the professionals:

The Channel 5 programme Cowboy Builders may leave you cowering in fear every time you walk past a building site, but employing professional contractors is essential for most building work.

It is also critical to do your research and gather personal recommendations. Even if you think you know how to fit a gas cooker, you need to remember that this has to be done by a Gas Safe registered plumber. Don’t forget that where any substandard DIY jobs exist, a building inspector is sure to follow.

4. Check out the neighbourhood before you buy:

In Location, Location, Location, co-hosts Kirsty and Phil love nothing more than a short wander up to the local high street to get a feel for the ambience of a local area and are not averse to visiting the same street three times in a day to check varying noise levels.

‘Nosing’ around your potential neighbourhood also has other benefits, such as checking up on the potential neighbours.

5. If you want to sell, turn your house into a showroom:

If you’re selling your house, the message from property programmes such as The House Doctor is clear. De-personalise, decorate in neutral colours and most importantly of all, de-clutter.

Buyers are definitely not interested in ceramic ornaments, net curtains and lingering pet odours or any other quirky features. If you want to sell in this competitive market then you need to meet the needs of your buyers, whether that involves putting in an ornamental fire place or adding a breakfast bar to your kitchen.

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The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Policy Expert.