But maybe we're dealing with a bit more stuff nowadays, because I do seem to be seeing an awful lot of part finished do-ups coming onto the market.
Like these two handsome but abandoned Welsh chapel projects.
Capel Tygwdd is in Ceredigion - a beautiful bit of west Wales I know well. Close to the villages of Cwm Cou and Cenarth, and around five miles from the market town of Newcastle Emlyn.
The property consists of the chapel, the adjacent Sunday School, and around an acre of garden land, surrounded by gorgeous rural views.
The big stuff seems to have been done on the main building, the church, with a new (slate) roof, concrete floors and refurbished windows. A big hole in one side is poised for windows onto the views, and the Sunday school is waiting to be turned into the two-bedroom cottage in the (approved) plans.
The property also has permission for a garage and workshop, and separate public access to the little graveyard is already in place.
Water and electricity are connected but drainage needs sorting.
All in all, a lovely project in a pretty location for someone looking to step in after much of the heavy lifting is done.
On the market through both Dai Lewis and John Francis at offers around £275k. Details here and here.
Capel Bethel (below) is in Powys, in the village of Dinas Mawddwy, about 12 miles from Machynlleth.
Arriving on the market at different stage of conversion/renovation, it is habitable while you work.
The property consists of a gorgeous big and part-converted chapel, with planning permission to turn it into a four-bedroom house, plus a nicely renovated detached two-bedroom cottage.
There are masses of original features in both buildings, services connected to the site, pretty views, and a garden to the front. Pedestrian access is mentioned but not vehicles, so that could be an issue for works. And there isn't a lot of land overall.
However, the village location, within the Snowdonia National Park, is attractive and the work already completed on the cottage means this is property comfortable to live/work in or to finish off and let out the cottage and carry on living in the chapel.
The chapel itself has basically been turned into a big storage area downstairs with an open-plan living space on the second floor and a further attic floor with some works completed.
Lots of space for your money!
On the market through Morris, Marshall and Poole at £220k. Details and more pictures here and here.
In the village of Rhydargaeau, the property (sent to me by reader Jacky) consists of a cute as a button chapel, a separate but rather miserable-looking two-bedroom chapel house, and the pretty vestry.
|The vestry - attached to cottage but accessed by external staircase
Between the chapel and the chapel house and vestry is a graveyard - an issue you'll have to negotiate and address. But there's gated access to the graveyard and garden area and plenty of space for vans and vehicles during the works.
And the best bit? It's on the market as a job lot for just £95k. Bargain ; )
Agent is Dai Lewis. Details and more pictures of Capel Horeb here and here.