Don’t Overlook Unfashionable, Post-war Properties


Much of being a successful property speculator is establishing a target market and tailoring the investment or development property to appeal to it.  Unlike other walks of life, fashion in property tends to come and go quite slowly.  Period properties remain very popular and no doubt will remain so for the foreseeable future.  Meanwhile, many properties built in the post-war years were not particularly attractively styled (although generally they were actually built to a fairly high standard).  This lack of popularity often means that in comparison to period properties, these houses are undervalued.

These unfashionable houses tend to be overlooked by many potential developers and investors, as they believe they are uninspiring and will not be occupied or sold easily.  This need not be the case.   The appearance of many post-war properties has been changed substantially to incredible effect.

Consider the following photos:

Pictures kindly supplied courtesy of Erincastle Exterior Design;

“The owners of this house wanted to add more space and improve its exterior. After an Erincastle Design Consultation, the front garden was improved, the front door and windows were restored to their original design and an extra floor was added to accommodate a new luxury Master en suite. The overall effect is obviously a breathtaking improvement, increasing the desirability and market value of the house.”

This amazing transformation was created by exterior design consultants Erincastle.  It’s not difficult to see that this programme of transformation would certainly add value to any investment or development project and therefore an opportunity to increase profit.   Many residential developers believe that the only way to change the appearance of a property is to repaint the exterior and tidy up the garden.   It is possible to achieve so much more.

The idea that a house considered by many to be ugly, can be transformed into one with character means that for now, there are more opportunities available than many people thought.  The more work that is carried out on a development property, the greater the opportunity to make a profit.  Taking the time to make substantial, tasteful changes to the exterior is certainly an area that is likely to pay dividends upon valuation for resale or letting.  However, the alterations carried out should not be too expensive.  The cost of the works should still be substantially less than the expected increase in the property value.

Obviously if the property is within a row of semi-detached or terraced houses, a dramatic change to the exterior is likely to look rather odd and create too much of a contrast.  Therefore when choosing a development property, your intended work should be taken into consideration.  The building’s original layout, profile and shape will influence the finished item.  A great deal of the property’s appearance can be changed; such as adding extensions, demolishing parts and altering roof lines.

Popular ways of changing the appearance of a modern property is by adding additional external finishes to the walls, such as replica wooden cladding to create the ‘New England’ look.   If windows are to be changed, this also provides an opportunity to change the property theme, such as sash windows to give a Victorian or Georgian look.  One of the most substantial changes that can be made is a roof alteration.  This is probably the most expensive of all cosmetic works but can achieve the most substantial change of look.  If much of these things need changing as part of the intended development work, then the additional cost involved in changing the property ‘look’ might not amount to a great deal more.

It should be pointed out that under the Town & Country Planning Act 1990, changing the external appearance of a property does correspond to the legal definition of development. Depending upon the amount of work you intend to carry out, planning consent will almost certainly be required.

For new-build projects, you might feel that options are limited in finding designs that don’t look too artificial.  Erincastle also have experience in creating designs that genuinely look like listed buildings:





Note: If the property you intend to carry out these works to is listed however, or in a conservation area; it is highly unlikely that you will be granted permission to change the look of the property.  Houses that fall into these categories might not necessarily be full of charm, but unfortunately they cannot be changed without the express permission of the local planning authority.

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