HMO Property Refurbishment Walk-through

Karen ClarkeHMO Property InvestmentLeave a Comment

We wanted to take you through, step by step, a typical HMO property refurbishment project.  The refurbishment work was carried out by one of our teams and managed by Karl Clarke.

The property is located on Hawthorne Road, Bootle, L20 9JX.

The reason for sharing this information is to show the level of work that we put into our HMO property refurbish projects.   As one seasoned investor said to me the other day,

What’s really important to a landlord is what’s underneath the paint, what’s important to the tenant is what’s on top of the paint.

We think our approach offers best practise.  As always we are open to suggestions for improvements.  Please let us know in the comments section.

The ‘Raw’ Property

The property was bought from an auction in May 2015.  Before this, we had inspected it a couple of times to get a feel for the work required.  We had also spoken to a surveyor about the predicted  final valuation.  We expected the value to be between £115K and £130K.  In the end, the valuation came in at £140K.  (I wish all valuations went like this – I’m afraid lower valuations are the norm)!

HMO Officer and Requirements

As well as speaking to the surveyor we also engaged with the Sefton Council HMO Officer.  We did this so that we knew there would not be any issues obtaining a license once the property was ready.  The plan was to create a 6 bed HMO over three stories.  This meant it would need a license.

In fact, we recommend all investors engage with the HMO Officer for the local council from the outset.  As long as you intend on doing a good job they can be extremely helpful.

Once we had secured the property the HMO officers carried out a survey provided a report.  We discussed the different configurations of the property so that it would work best for them, the tenants and our client.

In truth, we generally know what they are going to say because the rules are very clear.  Even so we believe it makes sense to get their report and follow that to the letter.  Sign-off for the license is then a simple administrative task.

Pre-Refurb exterior front:

HMO refurbishment exterior before

Pre-Refurb downstairs reception 1:


HMO property refurbishment

Pre-Refurb downstairs reception 2:

HMO refurb reception 2 before

Reception 2 damp issues:

HMO refurb reception 2 damp issues

Pre-Refurb kitchen:

HMO refurb kitchen before

Pre-Refurb front bedroom:

HMO refurb bedroom 1 before

Pre-Refurb main bathroom

HMO refurb bathroom before

Pre-Refurb one of the top floor bedrooms

HMO refurb bedroom 2 before

(We could have kept the carpet, right?!)

Pre-Refurb back yard:

HMO refurb backyard before

HMO Property Refurbishment Phase One: Tear Down

In this phase we strip the property bare to find out what we have to build up from.  As you can see from the pictures we took off 1.2m of the plaster all the way around the ground floor walls to put in a new damp-proof course (DPC).

Scaffold goes up so we can repair the roof and other remedial exterior work:

HMO refurb exterior scaffolding

GF rear reception.  Here you can see the plaster has been chipped away to allow us to put in the new damp proof course (DPC).  This was done throughout the ground floor of the property to a metre high:

HMO refurb rear reception damp proofing

GF front room.  Note new electrics being installed and chimney blocked off:

HMO refurb front reception electrics

In this image the DPC has been put in the kitchen and the first layer of render added.  Meet Gaz, one of our builders who is an HMO refurbishment specialist and who is also a bit camera shy:

HMO refurb kitchen damp proofing

To conform with HMO fire safety regulations new door frames and 30 minute fire doors are fitted:

HMO refurb fire doors and frames

Along with the cabling for the fire and smoke alarms for the £4K fire alarm we had installed.  The red cables are run to each of the smoke alarms in the bedrooms and heat sensors in the top bedroom which also will be having kitchenettes.  Note the original feature coving.  The high ceilings really make this property stand out.

HMO refurb fire alarm cabling

Work starts on the bathroom.  The property was built in 1895 and many of the walls are the originals.  Where required we replaced with modern boards.  You can see the plumbing for the new quadrant shower which will be installed.

HMO refurb bathroom plumbing

Top floor bedroom minus the original carpet!

HMO refurb bedroom 2 stripped

HMO Property Refurbishment Phase Two:  Rebuild Starts

The property was replastered in places, and skimmed throughout.

You can see the plaster drying out in this picture, as well as the Howdens kitchen being fitted.

HMO refurb Howdens kitchen installation

The wall in the bathroom has been repaired:

HMO refurb bathroom wall repair

First floor main bedroom showing wall repairs prior to being skimmed with plaster:

HMO refurb bedroom 1 stripped

As the property would have 6 bedrooms the local HMO requirement dictate that all of the bedrooms must have a hand-basin.  Here, in the ground floor rear room the plumber has had to take the pipes and waste through the chimney stack which we had to reopen because some bricks had fallen inside.  This was a much harder job than you might think, but in this photo he is over the worst of it:

HMO refurb plumbing

HMO Property Refurbishment Phase Three:  Decoration

As per HMO rules the fire door are fitted with door closers and locks with thumb-turners on the inside:

HMO refurb door closers

First floor front bedroom:

HMO refurb front room decorated

One of the kitchenettes in a top floor bedroom:

HMO refurb kitchenette 1

And the other:

HMO refurb kitchenette 2

The main kitchen starts to take shape:

HMO refurb kitchen decoration

As does the main bathroom:

HMO refurb main bathroom decoration

HMO Property Refurbishment: The Finished Product

When you undertake a project like this often the site appears to be a mess, and there remain lots to do, and then suddenly it all comes together.

Once the carpets and flooring go down we are almost there.

Finished kitchen including white goods:

HMO refurb kitchen finished 1

Kitchen dining area:

HMO refurb kitchen finished 2

Ground floor front bedroom.  We provided a full furniture pack with this property:

HMO refurb bedroom 1 finished

Bedroom with kitchenette:

HMO refurb kitchenette 1 finished

New fire-panel:

HMO refurb fire alarm

Finished exterior:

HMO property refurbishment

We hope you have enjoyed this trip through this HMO property refurbishment project.  We are pleased with the finished product which is supported by the better than expected valuation.

Our view is that it doesn’t cost much more to do a really good job as opposed to a job where corners are cut.  Ultimately this results in the best outcome for the investor, the tenants and the managing agent and is important for a successful HMO investment.

We’d be interested to hear your comments in the section below, and please remember to register for blog updates at the top of this page if you haven’t already done so.  It’s the best way we have to let you know about deals we have.

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