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Bringing an empty property back into use can be expensive. Before purchasing an empty property, you need to consider several things:

  • How much is the property worth now?
  • How much could it be worth in good condition?
  • What are the renovation costs?
  • What income could it generate through rents?

You should ask local estate agents for advice and appoint the services of a local surveyor for accurate answers. The figures should help you decide on the best option for you.

  • The housing market
    Property prices can be higher or lower depending on which area of the borough the property is in. However, you'll earn nothing if your property remains empty. Renting a property is a good option but if you are a new landlord or you want to keep your options open find a short-term solution, such as a short tenancy, so you can review your situation.
  • Securing your income
    If you take a loan to pay for work on the property, you will be relying on the rent to repay the loan. Speak to local agents to see if they offer a leasing package with guaranteed rent to cover periods when your property is empty.
  • Problems
    Becoming a landlord can be profitable. But it will involve a lot of work to ensure you meet the required legislation. You could use a managing agent or lease your property if you don't think you'll have the time required.

Further information on becoming a private landlord can be found on our Advice for private landlords page or by contacting the Council's Landlord Liaison Officer (email) or telephone 01493 846310.

How do I find empty properties to invest in?

If you are an investor or developer looking for empty properties in Great Yarmouth please contact Empty Homes for details of entry onto our register.

Local estate agents (opens new window) will hold details of empty properties.

Auction house catalogues are also a good place to find empty properties for sale.

Tracing owners

The Borough Council has various routes to be able to trace owners for its own needs; this can take a while, but we are usually successful.

The General Data Protection Regulations mean we cannot send out addresses of empty properties.

If you find an empty property and would like to trace the owner, you could try the following:

  • Contact the Council - we can forward your details to the owner to make contact with you
  • Put a note through the door of the empty property saying that you would like to contact the owner
  • Talk to neighbours and any neighbourhood community groups as well as local shopkeepers who may know the owner
  • Try contacting the local parish council clerk
  • The local Neighbourhood Watch group may be aware of the property, they can be contacted through the local police station.

These methods are free and may work for you.

You could also contact HM Land Registry (opens new window). If the land is not registered, the Land Registry will not have any information. If this is the case you could also try the Local Land Charges Register (opens new window) - this will provide the owner's details if there is a charge against the property or if the owner has filed for bankruptcy.

Auction houses

Over 25,000 properties are sold in more than 1,000 property auctions every year in the UK. Auctions are a quick and decisive way of selling.

Auctions have a targeted audience made up of developers, cash buyers, investors and portfolio landlords who will have different requirements to prospective homeowners.

There are auction guides for both buyers and sellers on the internet, the information on this page is not supposed to replace them but give a few details to get you started.


Auctioneers publish a catalogue a few weeks before the auction, some properties may be removed before the auction and occasionally some properties are added. Those interested in bidding can visit the properties in advance and carry out a survey. Auctions are held at centrally located venues, often hotels. Anybody is free to attend.

Different auction houses attract different client groups; choosing the one most likely to be interested in your property is a good way to ensure a sale.

If you have never been to an auction before, then it is worth attending one to get a feel for the process and how they operate.

What does it cost?

The seller is charged a fee by the auctioneer, this covers a proportion of the costs of marketing the property and running the auction. This fee has to be paid even if the property does not sell. In addition, if the property is sold, the seller pays a commission to the auctioneer. Charges are similar to estate agents fees.

When the hammer falls at an auction, it establishes a binding contract between buyer and seller. The buyer usually pays 10% of the total sale price of the property before leaving the auction house and will normally have to pay the remainder within 28 days.

Links to some of the local auction houses are below; please note the Borough Council does not recommend any, the links are here to help only:


Finding mortgages for renovating empty properties can be difficult as a derelict property, or one which is in need of investment, has limited value until the renovation is complete.

Lenders consider this high risk, as they would not be able to recover their investment if you default on your payments.

You should ensure you carry out your own searches for a mortgage which suits your personal circumstances.

To help your case, have information to hand which will help them make a decision. This could include: 

  • how much the property is worth
  • renovation costs
  • expected income from rental or expected sale price on completion of the works

Renovating your empty home

Bringing an empty home back into use can be expensive. Consider the following questions:

  • How much is the property worth now?
  • How much would it be worth in good condition?
  • How much would it cost to renovate?
  • How much rent could it achieve?

Get advice from local estate agents and a surveyor to get accurate answers; the figures should help you decide on the best option.

Compliance with local authority planning and building consent restrictions

Speak to our Planning Department to be sure your plans for redevelopment comply with current legislation; if they don't, you will not get planning approval or building control consent and you may need to start again. Talk to them sooner rather than later and obtain advice and guidance so that you do not waste valuable time and money.

The Planning Portal (opens new window) has useful information and supporting documents.

The following may also be of use:

The No Use Empty (opens new window) website gives further tips and advice on having building works done.

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