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Most banks only lend for sites or properties with detailed full planning already agreed with the local council. This is bad for small developers as the site is more valuable with no planning, but more risky to buy, hence the banks' reluctance to lend.
Many new builders buy without considering any potential planning problems. Optimism takes over. Always consult experts, either architects or planning consultants (who would normally be architects or surveyors). This is money well spent as it might save you from financial disaster!
Even Auction properties allow several viewings. They have a table of open dates, when the property can be seen (usually a short slot say 1pm-2.30pm. Go to the first viewing slot, and with any properties you are serious about, go to a later slot with an experienced surveyor, architect or builder.
They will spot things you will not and be able to give rough figures for minimum and maximum spends required for any large scale works. This will help you decide whether the job is worth doing. Many times a good-looking job will turn out to be not financially viable, especially in the recession era we are now in.
In the boom years, any project made money even if badly managed by a complete beginner, because the market was increasing all the time. This inspired the rash of TV property shows, which encouraged the greed and madness of those years, as no-one wnated to miss out on the apparently easy pickings.
Obviously it is up to you how much you spend on the new kitchen and interiors, but the basic remedial works are essential and are relatively standard items e.g. underpinning, new roof, new wall, etc.
If you want to buy a site with no planning at all, you might have to use your own cash, as few (or no) banks lend without either outline planning (which is easy to check out with local council) or full planning permission.
Money is harder to get hold of with the recession so more development cash will be required. This has hit small developers - typically doing one job at a time, under 12 units, often just the one house or conversion - so research carefully before making any commitments.
Be especially at property auctions, where you might get carried away and buy something you can't really afford, or can't afford to do the work. In the pre-recession days it was easy to get bridging loans to cover any shortfalls, now it could lead to major financial problems.