In a popular location, buy the property that needs the most work – and transform it into the best house on the street.

You’ve added value, created a lovely home for yourself and realised that property’s potential.

But it takes more than a lick of paint and reading a few ‘How to’ articles on Google to complete a successful renovation project, including hiring expert professionals to ensure you don’t end up chatting to Nick Knowles on the next series of BBC’s DIY SOS.

How much of the DIY work could you manage in these brilliant Welsh houses? Be honest…

Montgomery: £127,000

It’s cute but is it just cosmetic work to be done?

What: Maybe a great little cottage for anyone a bit nervous with serious levels of DIY, or someone just starting out on property development.

Unless the survey flags up any major structural issues or problems needing a professional, it looks like mainly cosmetic work is needed to be done to this chocolate box period timbered home.

But it is Grade II listed, so no going all out with the drill and hammer until there has been a discussion with the local council’s conservation officer.

Is there an inglenook fireplace hiding in this room?

The benefit of the listing is that the new owner will be inheriting a wealth of original features including timber roof and wall beams, fireplaces and wonderfully wide and wonky original floorboards.

A new kitchen and bathroom, with hopefully the interior design sympathetic to the history of the home, is a project to improve the cottage, and there may even be a stunning inglenook fireplace hiding behind the plasterboard in the main living room.

New kitchen? You may need permission depending on what’s in the listing

But before you get carried away, everything needs to be run past the correct authority or you could get into serious trouble on your first DIY project.

How: Call the estate agent MMP, Morris, Marshall & Poole at their Newtown branch on 01686 626160.

Neath:  £69,950

Pretty cottage with potential to shine

What: An attractive stone built cottage in the popular area of Neath Abbey could be transformed into a new owner’s heavenly home, but they might have to go through the hell of an all-consuming renovation first. But surely it will be worth it?

A cute three up, three down there’s more space within this ‘Tardis’ end of terrace than first impressions suggest.

Downstairs there are two reception rooms, both with fireplaces but both from an era that a new owner may not appreciate, the 1920s and the 1960s.

Opportunity to transform the style into country cottage…

If they are to be replaced, then who could resist installing a cosy log burner and stripping back the wall to expose the original stone work and create a cosy cottage atmosphere that many might expect from viewing the home externally.

Both jobs are definitely more challenging than a lick of paint, so how handy are you with demanding DIY jobs?

There’s more space than you think inside this ‘Tardis’ terrace

The rear reception room and kitchen would benefit from being knocked together (another big job) to create the much-loved open-plan kitchen/diner space and French doors out to the generous garden from this room would be a bonus too.

Upstairs, there are two double bedrooms and a bathroom, all requiring an update to complete the country cottage makeover, and then the new owner can worship their beautiful abode in Neath Abbey.

The garden could become a heavenly spot when connected to the house via French doors


How: Call the estate agents Peter Morgan on 01639 630771.

Newport:  £269,950

A typical period semi that has oodles of period features still in place – hurray!

What: A period three bedroom semi-detached home is one of the most recognisable house types in the country, and this one is a little gem, still packing a punch with many original features in place to restore and enjoy.

Greeted by the glorious original stained glass front door and surround, this is a solid pre-war house that has not been messed about, it can still proudly boast period fireplaces, picture rails, deep skirtings, stained glass windows and door furniture.

The staircase and internal doors may have been boarded up in the 1960s, so there may still be some decorative spindles and paneled doors hiding behind, waiting to be discovered and released.

Well loved and looked after home looking for a facelift

Stunning window, but are there original features hiding behind 1960s panels?

This three bedroom home has clearly been loved and enjoyed by previous owners, now all it needs is a new owner to update the key areas, such as kitchen and bathroom.

Downstairs there’s a bay fronted lounge and unusually a bay in the back reception room too. How lovely would it be to put French doors within this rear bay to provide direct access to the large garden?

There is a third reception room at the back of the property that has an appealing stained glass bay window, and this leads into the kitchen. It is an obvious development to combine these rooms to create an open-plan kitchen/diner, so the wall needs to go.

The wall needs to go but it’s holding up the house… gulp!

If grey’s not your thing, then an update in here will add value

Think you can manage that?  Unless you want the rear wall of the house to descend, it may be worth getting the builders and a RSJ in to ensure this doesn’t happen.

Upstairs there are three generous bedrooms and a family bathroom, all looking for an update but all offering a new owner good spaces to work with.

How: Call estate agents Crook & Blight on 01633 222333.

Swansea:  £160,000

Comes with a good sized garden and woodland views

What: Set on a quiet lane a short drive from Swansea and the Gower peninsula, this three bed end of terrace has the location, but does it have the potential too?

Firstly, there’s a lot of land on offer for the size of the house, with a front and rear garden plus a lane to the side. The rear garden, in particular, as well as having pretty woodland views, has a lot of space, but the home has already been extended to the rear, adding the kitchen and a third bedroom to the once two up, two down property.

Big back garden with beautiful views

Maybe the garden at the side of the home offers a new owner the option of extending the house sideways, to create a double-fronted property.

Of course, the cost of achieving this should be balanced with the increase in value this building work will create, an overspend could leave you out of pocket when you come to sell.

Overall, the house is in need of ‘a full refurbishment throughout’ according to the estate agent selling the property.

Room for a log burner…

Downstairs, there’s a front living room with fireplace that could be changed to a cosy log-burner if the current style is not to your taste. As there appears to be no chimney a flue is required – time for an expert!

The dining room has been knocked through into the kitchen to create a light and bright room that opens out into the garden via a set of patio doors; a very nice feature. This room needs updating but it looks like the sledgehammer work has been done for you to create this inviting space.

Open-plan kitchen / diner already done for you

Room for a shower in the corner if you remove the airing cupboard

Upstairs there are two good sized bedrooms, and a family bathroom will be able to accommodate the addition of a separate shower cubicle if a combi boiler is installed and the airing cupboard in this room removed.

How: For sale with Peter Alan, call their Gorseinon branch on 01792 894422.

If you’re thinking of buying a renovation project or putting your home on the market, these tips might help

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Cardiff: £335,000

A super semi in the suburbs

What: Situated in a popular suburb of north Cardiff, this period property has a good amout of space to play with, as well as the good location.

A solid semi, this home has three reception rooms, a front living room, a rear living room and a dining room. There’s no prizes for guessing the recommendation here – it’s time for the sledgehammer again.

Although bizarrely there is a toilet in the way, the kitchen and dining room might be able to be knocked together to create one amazing open-plan space.

A previous owner has already knocked the dining room and rear living room together, and this extra work would create a stunning L-shaped open-plan living space.

One wall down, one to go

Knock the wall to the dining room down but keep the toilet?

The cost of steel beams to support all this wall demolition might be excessive, and with a large suburban back garden, it might actually be cheaper to build a new extension to create the ideal family socialising space.

Time to do some maths.

Upstairs there are three double bedrooms, a bathroom and a separate toilet. Some homeowners are keen to combine the bathroom with the separate toilet, but this will be tricky in this property, as the stairs are in the way!

Ummm… where’s the toilet?

Maybe a toilet could be added to the family bathroom and the separate loo converted into an ensuite for the adjoining bedroom.

Next door, the home owners have chosen to build a double height extension to add another bedroom as well as increased kitchen space. This property has the potential to go out, up and even into the loft; the choice is down to the new owner and their imagination and their budget.

Plenty of space in the garden for an extension, up or out


How: This Cardiff pad with plenty of potential is on the market with estate agent MGY for offers in the region of £335,000. Call their Birchgrove branch on 029 2052 9026.

Carmarthen: £165,000

Potential at the side for more property?

What: Another solid semi, this time in west Wales, it has all the potential a new buyer could hope for, inside and out.

Being on a corner plot is usually a great advantage, with a parcel of land to the side a little package of opportunity to spread the space sideways.

Subject to securing planning permission, this already generous three bedroom house could be the proud owner of another bedroom and additional kitchen space.

But there is a slight problem, as this land at the side is actually the main garden, the garage has pinched the back garden! So, garage or garden, the choice is up to the new owner, but surely space for people is more important than space for the motor?

Neat and tidy home that just needs a new owner to bring in their own style

Whatever a new owner decides to do with this renovation, it’s clear to see that the house was well loved and looked after by the previous owner, so hopefully it’s only cosmetic work required to create an interior design more to the new owners taste.

There are original features lurk inside too, with wood block floors under some carpets and built-in cupboards crying out to be stripped back to the original, beautiful wood.

Who knows what original features are hidden, hoping to be found?

Downstairs, there’s a front living room and a rear dining room and kitchen with a dividing wall.

Upstairs there are three bedrooms and potential to create a larger bathroom by combining the bathroom, separate toilet and eaves storage room into a room fit for a king or queen of DIY.

An already large bathroom could be made positively palatial

How: On the market for offers in the region of £165,000, call Evans Bros at their Carmarthen branch on 01267 236611.

Aberystwyth: £90,000

Cute cottage on its way to a face lift

What: Well, what a sweetie this stone built two bed terrace is, a pretty little cottage in the heart of this popular seaside and university town. It’s a cute abode that is right in the centre of the hustle and bustle, being walking distance from the main shopping area and the sea front.

Someone has started the renovations but now the house is looking for someone to complete the make-over.

As the property has been taken back to bare walls in most rooms and the kitchen and bathroom are long gone, the current state of the cottage might put some people off.

Seeing a acrow prop holding up a ceiling is always a bit worrying but at least it’s there!

But see past the building work and the dust and there are the bones of a pretty period little town house waiting to be reassembled and made glorious once more.

There are cottage features beginning to be revealed – exposed stone walls, feature fireplace, sash windows – and a new owner can ensure these character features are at the heart of the renovation.

See past the mid-project renovation work and there’s a fabulous cottage to be discovered

According to the estate agent selling the property, it might have to be a cash buyer that snaps this sweet house, adding it should ‘appeal to a builder, developer or keen DIY person’ – is that you?

How: The seaside house is for sale with estate agent Lloyd Herbert & Jones on 01970 624328.


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