Renovation in Turkey
Have you contemplated renovation in Turkey? Turkey offers much in the way of choice when it comes to buying property, but these days most homes on offer are relatively new. They dominate the skyline in resorts like Fethiye, Kusadasi and Bodrum and provide their owners with style and comfort to western standards. The only thing they don’t offer is the colour and character of old Turkey, which can only come with an older property. Of course many of these historic domiciles have been renovated and now provide their owners with endless pleasure and satisfaction, few of them are for sale and when they come onto the market their prices reflect the work and grandeur embedded in their stone walls. Therefore, if its ‘olde worlde’ Ottoman charm that you are looking for, you will need to take on a renovation project of your own…
Finding the Right Property
Houses in need of renovation can cost as little as 20,000 Euros in Turkey, but before you pack your power drill and head of on a cheap flight to Izmir you should realize that such properties are better described as derelict buildings rather than renovation projects and most are in need of demolition. If you are looking to undergo the process of renovation in Turkey, you need something that has a least four walls and a semblance of living quarters. Again these properties can be found amidst the mass of new builds and there is much less demand from both the domestic and foreign market. Once you have found a property you like, you should engage a surveyor to give you a full structural report. He will be able to inform you as to whether the property can actually be renovated; some old Turkish properties have building and alteration restrictions against them particularly if they are located in an area of architectural or environmental interest. Turkey’s location on the North Anatolian Fault means that the country has been subject to many earthquakes over the centuries and houses built prior to 1999 and 2002 were not obliged to conform to earthquake protection and new building regulations. If the property you intend to renovate was subject to even a light tremor, it could hold a multitude of structural woes that only a qualified surveyor can spot.
Where to Start
Once you have a true picture of the work you are taking on you can decide on the best method of approach. If you have a modicum of DIY skills you may decide to tackle the work yourself, or you may appoint a qualified builder to do the work for you. Somewhere along the line you will need to employ a qualified electrician and a plumber because old houses are almost all in need of a rewire and the plumbing system dates back to the Byzantine era. You may want to call in an architect to draw a plan of how the home should look when finished. Old houses don’t hold all of the practical things we have come to expect from modern building like open plan lounge and kitchen areas, en-suite bathrooms and walk in wardrobes. If you want to incorporate modern elements into you old home, you may need to knock down walls and connect with adjoining out houses and all of this work requires the knowledge of a trained architect. He can also advise on how to make the home secure against earthquakes and his plans will provide you or your builder with a blueprint for where to start.
Counting the Costs
In addition to rewiring and re-plumbing most old houses also need new roofs, doors and windows and re-plastering and that’s before you get to do the nice parts of re-modelling like putting in a new kitchen and bathroom. The good new is that building materials and labour costs in Turkey are amongst the cheapest in Europe and certainly far lower than in the UK. It is also easy to find skilled craftspeople with expertise in areas like carpentry, stone masonry and wrought iron. Before you take on the renovation project you should research costs using the surveyors and architects reports to guide you. Take your time and cost out every nut and bolt, then add a further 25 to 50% contingency. When people cost out renovation in Turkey, they tend to err on the cheap side and never account for the unforeseen like the septic tank that needs completely rebuilding. By having a pot of money set aside for the unexpected you will not end up with a property that is only half finished. If you can’t afford the contingency budget then walk away, you cannot afford to see the project though to its completion.
Old properties are sometimes located amidst some spectacular scenery and many old houses are located in historic areas of towns and cities. Old property in Istanbul lay vacant and in ruins for many years and the revival for doing up these historic homes has only just begun and many are for sale at an affordable price. The location will dictate the value of your home at resale and if you are looking to make a profit in the short term location is extremely important because the demand for older property even if it has been tastefully renovated is not as strong as the demand for new builds. If you are set on making a faster gain then the historic centre of Istanbul is your best bet. If you hope to resell to the foreign market you will need to install a pool and ensure that your property is close to plenty of amenities like restaurants, bars and shops rather than tucked away on an isolated backwater.
Renovation in Turkey may not suit everyone, but it certainly suits those wanting to add their own personal touch to a property.