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Empty Property

Unoccupied Building Insurance- obtaining a quote

Introduction-Empty Property Insurance- from time to time and for a variety of reasons buildings become unoccupied. You may have inherited a property that you want to sell or you may be between houses in the course of moving. What ever the scenario, approach your Building Society or lender and ask them to maintain cover on your property and they are likely to say no and also be unable to suggest any real alternatives. Most popular now are the houses that are bought at auction for renovation purposes, sometimes a project can take up to 12 months to complete and during this time some form of insurance is required. If you have borrowed money from the bank to finance your renovation project you will find them quite demanding when it comes to the question of insurance but again they will usually be unable to assist you with cover under their block policy. If you have purchased the property as a rental project you will need to get it to a certain standard before most letting agents will accept it and start showing prospective tenants around. If you have purchased the property for letting, remember the health and safety checks that will need to carried out before the property can be rented out. Your letting agent may be able to help you with these or you may the notes in Landlords section to be helpful.

Managing the Property – looking after your property needs a bit of thought and the more you can do to avert a loss the better. Here are some suggestions; The building should be inspected on a regular basis. If you find any damage (such as a broken window pane it should be repaired. Once every 7-14 days is usually sufficient If possible ask a local to keep an eye on the property for you, give them your mobile number so as they can call you in an emergency Clear the garden and surrounds of the house of any rubbish in particular combustible material should be removed and disposed of properly Take steps to avoid the build up of junk mail, this presents a real fire risk. If you are not anticipating any mail, consider sealing up the letter box drain down the water system and turn off the supply at the stop cock Switch off the electrics.

This type of insurance is most definitively a non standard type of building insurance, you will find that the cover you are offered whilst often based on the standard policy wording will contain a shortened list of perils that can be covered. The contract will also come with a list of conditions and warranties ( based on the suggestions listed above that you must adhere to if a claim is to be valid. We may not be able to quote for every case and the cover we offer will depend very much on the state of repair of the building and your intentions. Assetsure are able to provide insurance for properties that have been purchased for renovation purposes. We are able to provide building insurance quotations and depending on the condition of the property, we can usually offer fairly wide cover. Ideally we are looking to provide cover for buildings that have been purchased with a view to them becoming either the main residence or a weekend or holiday home. Each insurance proposal will be considered on it’s merits.

Whilst purchasing property that is empty is very popular in Spain & France, it is not so wide spread in the United Kingdom. One of the main reasons for this is that properties in France & Spain are often very cheap to acquire and the cost of materials and labour can be substantially cheaper and thus renovating your dream holiday or retirement home can be done at a fraction of the cost. Here a lot more thought has to be applied to the project; often the cost of land and the basic building shell can be more expensive. It is worth consulting your local VAT office and asking for the appropriate guide to VAT as some properties, depending on how long they have been unoccupied may qualify for lower or zero rated VAT on some aspects of the work. With VAT currently at 20%, this can save you some money.

Purchasing the Property – we hope you find the following suggestions useful:-

Research – before the purchase of an empty property to renovate it is well worth doing a little home work to ascertain if it really could be your dream home or it is just a money pit waiting to eat up your hard earned funds. Probably the best way is to obtain a professional opinion on the matter by instructing a chartered surveyor to prepare you a building condition report. This will set you back several hundred pounds and of course if you are considering many different properties, you will soon have racked up a considerable expense even before you have purchased a property. In the initial stages, there are a few things you can look out for yourself, this should help keep your costs down and then, if you are serious about a particular property, you can then instruct a detailed building inspection report.

Advice from a Builder – older often semi derelict properties will have problems, that could include subsidence heave, damp, dry rot, damaged or faulty wiring, broken plumbing damaged or collapsed drains etc or it maybe that the building has never been used for human habitation before. What ever the problems, try to keep an open mind, everything can usually be overcome at a cost and if the basic shell is available at a good price, even with the remedial work, you may still have found yourself a bargain. Once you have obtained a good idea of what needs to be done, speak to a builder who should be able to give you an approximate estimate of any works that need to be carried out and the costing. As above, remember to check the VAT position, it is a good idea to do this before any work commences. A simple mistake is to get carried away with the final value of the property on completion, always check with local estate agents as to the price of similar property and try to find out how long such property usually takes to sell. Viewings – When viewing your desired building, start by looking at the outside, take a walk around it and make notes on the condition of all sides. A camera to take pictures is essential and can help you to demonstrate the condition of the property to a builder if he is unable to call at the property. Take a tape measure with you and write down all of the dimensions of the property. Make notes as the surrounding buildings, their usage and access to and from the property.

Drainage – special attention should be paid to any drains if they are in existence, collapsed or broken drains should be repaired or replaced as quickly as possible. Any escape of water in to the surrounding soil can lead to settlement and thus can often be confused with subsidence damage.

Internal Fixtures – Have a look at the electrics in the building, if they are old and worn, they may need to be replaced, and an electrician will be able to give you a quotation. Lastly don’t forget to check all of the internal wood work for evidence of dry rot or fungal infection, dry rot will destroy timber very quickly and it thrives in damp poorly ventilated locations. The first signs of dry rot are a musty smell and if a building has dry rot, it will need professional treatment. Once you have ascertained the true condition of your property, added up the costs of the remedial works, discovered the prices of similar converted houses in the location, you will be on the way to deciding if your chosen property really is a bargain.

If your looking for an insurance quote for an empty or unoccupied building please ring us on the number above.
Empty Property Insurance from Assetsure

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