Where Can I To Find A Wreck To Renovate?

Posted on: 12 May 2009 by Gareth Hargreaves

Buying an old property to renovate is both exciting and nerve-wracking — just what will you find beneath that charming exterior? But how do you find possible homes to renovate?


“I'm a big fan of Grand Designs on Channel 4 and would love to take on the sort of project that might impress Kevin McCloud.

“My problem is that wrecks that need renovating never seem to feature in estate agents' windows. Where can I find a mansion in need of tender loving care that won't cost the earth?”

Simon Moon gives his expert opinon.


There are websites such as www.pickupaproperty.com that offer to supply details of potential renovation projects if you are happy to pay a monthly subscription.

Expect to pay about £40 for information about local regions for three months. Much wider coverage could cost hundreds of pounds, but if you found your ideal home you might consider it money well spent.

I would recommend joining the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings. SPAB, as it is known, is a charity that publishes a quarterly magazine and, crucially for people like you, a list of old buildings for sale and in need of repair.

The list is available only to members who pay from £35 a year to join and covers a range of properties from cottages to castles at prices from £50,000 to £10m.

SPAB was set up in 1877 by William Morris and 'other notable members of the Pre Raphaelite brotherhood' who were concerned that inappropriate restorations were doing more harm than good to the nation's historic buildings.

These days SPAB keeps the spirit of William Morris alive by running courses and technical days where members can learn about restoration using traditional materials and techniques.

If you do find a property to take on and you think Kevin McCloud might be interested you can contact the programme makers by emailing granddesigns@talkbackthames.tv.

Some projects qualify for extra help from English Heritage, but if you successfully apply for one of their grants, expect to have them looking over your shoulder to ensure your work is up to scratch

Should you happen already to own an old building in need of repair you can advertise it for sale via the SPAB list free of charge by posting details to SPAB, 37 Spital Square, London E1 6DY or via email to info@spab.org.uk.

Share with friends


You need to be signed in to rate.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned!