Question: What do you get if you cross an unmodernised cottage with Chalmers & Co?
Answer: A more valuable asset, a better rental return and a more attractive, energy efficient home!
3 Southfield Cottages is a three bedroom former farm cottage. With views across to Fife and the Lammermuirs, it was in an excellent location near the new A68 extension south of Dalkeith and less than half an hour from the centre of Edinburgh. However, the cottage needed modernizing; it did not provide good, modern living space, had a capital value of only £140,000 and only achieved a monthly rent of £280 per month.
Despite having 3 double bedrooms and a good sized sitting room, there was only a small galley kitchen and a small, out-dated bathroom, both in need of complete modernisation. Central heating was provided by an old fashioned solid fuel system.
A change of tenancy presented the owner with an opportunity to investigate renovation options before re-letting. Chalmers & Co’s architectural and management teams worked together to re-plan the cottage to provide modern, family accommodation with wider appeal to potential tenants and increased financial returns for the owner.
Working with the client, Chalmers & Co’s architectural team obtained planning permission and building warrant approval for the changes and competitive tenders were received from Chalmers’ list of suitably qualified local contractors. The works were completed on site within the six month contract period by a local building firm with whom Chalmers & Co has well-established links.
David Brackenridge, Chalmers & Co’s, architect says:
“The existing flat roofed rear extension with the kitchen and bathroom was demolished and a new pitched roof extension with a dining kitchen, family bathroom and separate WC was built. The entrance to the house was also altered to provide a more generous hall, and the original porch was altered to form a utility room.
“To exceed building standards and improve the cottage’s Energy Performance Certificate ratings, the entire property was stripped and insulated and double glazed windows were fitted. The property was also equipped with a ‘hybrid’ heating system. Our environmentally friendly solution was a highly efficient oil-fired, condensing boiler and solar panels on the roof to supply low cost hot water throughout the year.”
3 Southfield Farm Cottages is now a comfortable, modern family cottage with a big, modern kitchen, low cost heating and hot water and a large, enclosed garden.
The new tenants will also benefit from significantly lower heating bills than their predecessors’.
Chalmers & Co’s letting team relet the property 2 weeks after the modernization finished. A rent of £750 per month was achieved, an increase of 168% on the previous lease! A market valuation report showed that the capital value of the cottage had increased by about 114% to £300,000.
You can see more photos of this project on the Chalmers Facebook page
Chalmers & Co lets and manages about 200 residential properties across East Lothian, Midlothian and The Borders.
Francis Ogilvy, owner of the firm and a specialist in rural property management comments: “This case study demonstrates the rewards that can be achieved from investing in unmodernised properties. The letting market has grown but tenants are increasingly discerning and accommodation needs to be in top order to attract a premium rent.
“For those owners looking to preserve their property for the long term, maximise rental income and see a return on their investment, this is a good solution.”
If you have a property which may be ripe for improvement, please contact Chalmers & Co. We would be delighted to offer a free initial appraisal to investigate the options available to you, and provide indicative costs and post-completion valuations. For more information please contact David Brackenridge on 01620 824042 or Sarah Fuller on 01620 824000.