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  • Refurbish/Develop

    Tribe challenge - How would you develop this?

    I thought it might be interesting to play "Fantasy Development" and use the massive databank of knowledge and experience here to learn how people view and approach different opportunities.

    This property caught my eye. It is claimed to be the cheapest in the South West and looks like it has huge potential.  It is located in the seaside town of Ilfracombe.

    Property features

    • In need of complete renovation and modernisation
    • Huge scope and potential
    • Popular location close to the harbour and sea front
    • Just a few hundred metres from the high street
    • Elevated position enjoying views over the town towards the Bristol Channel
    • Potential to remodel the accommodation to suit
    • Rear courtyard garden area
    • Mortgage monies highly unlikely

    Property description

    FOR SALE BY PUBLIC AUCTION on Friday 5th April 2019 at 12 midday. Guide Price: 'Offers in excess of £45,000' 

    A proper renovation project not for the faint-hearted! 1 Coburg Villas offers tremendous scope and potential but requires complete renovation and modernisation throughout. The property is situated in a popular location in the oldest part of the town and is just a few hundred metres from both the sea front and the high street and sits in an elevated position enjoying views over the neighbouring properties towards Capstone, the Bristol Channel and distant Welsh coastline. The property also has views towards the harbour, Lantern Hill and Hillsborough.

    ​View full listing 

    I see so many opportunities to add value to this property.  There are many clues in the picture.

    Warning - the entire interior of the property is covered in bird droppings!

    This is clearly a cash or bridging finance purchase, just the sort of project that Property Tribes Financial Services on 01206 654444 love to assist with!

    I thought it might be interesting to hear from members how they would develop this property and what return they would expect to achieve. Smile

    Or maybe you believe it is not commercially viable and perhaps the existing property should be demolished and start again?

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    Very interesting. Looks like the house next door has been done up as a holiday let and look at these comments on Trip Advisor:

    "The location of the property and views are perfect but the adjoining house can only be described as derelict, which detracted from the property rented. Windows were missing and many pigeons were living in it and although the house appeared uninhabitable, there was a television on in the evening!

    The access to both properties is via many steps which are in poor condition and with overgrown vegetation. In parts there is no handrail, which is also the case with the steps to the front door of the property. Taking luggage, and walking up and down the hazardous steps was difficult and no warning of this was given.

    We were guests at a wedding and when fellow guests saw the outside appearance of the property, they were horrified. Fortunately the inside was clean, tidy and comfortable. The bath and the views lived up to my expectations."

    With all that in mind, it looks reasonable as a holiday let, but obviously needs considerable work.


    What a great project, would be great to rebuild the 4th floor & incorporate a glass & steel structure or a roof terrace. Huge project though. 


    Phil Stewardson.

    Stewardson Properties.

    Stewardson Developments Ltd.

    Burson Land Ltd. & Jennings & Gilchreaste Ltd.


    Follow me on twitter - @philstewardson

    My first thought would be one of concern about that scary-looking adjacent lump of sloping ground.


    Could anyone hazard a guess at to what a back to brick refurb might cost on this property?


    Possibly an interesting and maybe a profitable project but definitely not for the faint hearted.

    There is extremely poor access (steps from the street) that will add extra “logistics” (cost!) to the process of getting the materials and fixtures and fittings into the property as well as getting the waste out.

    There is no off-street parking (for builder’s vans, deliveries etc) and no space for a skip -  and A LOT of skips will be required – so this means using a wait and load service and these cost a lot more than a standard skip.

    There are undoubtably a lot of structural issues to be resolved - it is unsafe according to the auctioneers (part of the staircase is missing!).

    The property is currently about 93 square metres so not particularly large. It could benefit from an extension – replacing the fourth floor with a floor plan like floor three but with floor to ceiling and wall to wall glazing and a balcony to make the most of the views - if it was possible to get this past planning and if it was financially viable.

    Given the level of deterioration and the amount of work required I reckon you would need to assume it is essentially a full rebuild (including the structural elements like the walls, floors and the roof!) so I think you would need to allow around £1,500 per square meter for the refurbishment and extension (if any) – possibly more because of the logistical challenges. About £180k for a medium specification refurb if you included a new fourth floor of about 25 square metres.

    Is it worth it? I am not sure. If you could get the property for around the guide – say no more than £50k – then you might be able to get the project completed for around £220k-£240k all in (if you have the skills and are prepared to do the work yourself then of course the build costs could be substantially reduced but you would presumably not be earning from your “day job” while you were doing the work).

    What will it be worth and/or what will it let for when it is complete is the key question.

    No matter what you do with it you will never be able to resolve the bad access and lack of parking issues. Does the location make up for these issues?


    It's an interesting find given how upmarket the rest of the street is. They do say find a bad property in a good area. If the structural issues are confined to the staircase but the walls and foundations are sound that's not so bad, but obviously it needs stripping down to a shell and starting again as far as just about everything is concerned. Could be a labour of love for the right buyer.


    Interesting find - I've just finished 2 months work less than a mile from there, and I'll be working in town for most of the year.

    Local knowledge is key. This looks like it's in Ilfracombe conservation area so expect everything to take more time & funds than it would otherwise https://www.northdevon.gov.uk/council/st...als/  Ilfracome has a harbour & a high street just a few hundred yards apart but very different demographics - this is midway between, parking is an issue and enforcement is strict (affecting renovations & beyond), local geography is steep hills and narrow streets making access for exterior buiding work difficult, similar properties nearby have lath & plaster interiors - very difficult (=expensive) to repair sympathically but good advice here https://www.periodproperty.co.uk/forum/index.php , expect problems in future if you fit new windows & block draughts as the building was built to "breath" - rising damp is a common problem once buildings like this are "modernised". Locals report it is normally difficult to find tradesmen, even worse if you get a reputation of being difficult to work for. Be prepared to make lots of trips outside the area buying building materials, and there are no major roads nearby.

    The good news is there are a few other big renovation projects around the town so there is some confidence in the future of the area. Tourism is the main income but the town is largely closed during off-season between New Year & Easter - hence tourist income is only 9 months of the year (unless you can think of a creative solution). It's a great project but don't underestimate the amount (cost) of work needed.


    I'd want a full structural survey before making a decision on the renovate/rebuild question.  The rooms aren't huge, The Expatriate upthread calculated it at around 93sqm, so split that over four floors and it's not much space to play with, so assuming you'd want to fiddle with the layout (I'd be looking at opening up the ground floor and trying to get at least an extra loo in somewhere, preferably a shower room) it might be simpler to take it down and rebuild. 

    Makes me think the one I was having a browse at yesterday really isn't so bad!  https://www.tailormademoves.co.uk/property?ref=PRA12601


    Faint heart never won fair holiday let...