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8 things to consider before renovating

Renovation projects can be hugely exciting and a great way to add value to your property.

But they can also be daunting, too, and there’s a lot to consider before taking on a home renovation.

These home renovation tips can help…

1. Establish your long-term needs and goals

The first thing to do when renovating a house is to establish your goals with the property over the long-term.

Are you renovating to add value and sell the property on for a profit, or is what you’re planning aimed at making your home work better for you?

If you’re adding value, rather than focusing on things you like, think about what will appeal to the buyers you’ll be looking to attract.

And focus your budget on the areas that will increase the value of your property, while ensuring that you don’t overspend.

If you’re making improvements that will make the property work better for you, concentrate your effort and budget on the areas that will make the biggest difference to how you use your home.

Think, too, about the finish you want to achieve.

If the buyers you’re targeting demand a high-quality finish, you may need to spend more in certain areas.

And if you’re aiming to futureproof your home so you don’t need to move again in the future, you may wish to push more budget into rooms like the kitchen.

2. Decide what you’ll do yourself

One of the best ways to save money on a renovation is to do some of the work yourself.

However, taking on jobs you’re not qualified to do can result in mistakes – and these can cost huge sums to rectify.

Work best done by qualified trades might include:

  • Heating and plumbing installations
  • Electrical installations
  • Kitchen fitting
  • Plastering

Jobs you may be able to take on yourself, meanwhile, might include:

  • Painting and decorating
  • Tiling
  • Fitting laminate flooring
  • Cutting and fitting woodwork like architraves and skirting

3. Determine your budget and stick to it

Renovating costs money – and those costs can often spiral out of control if you’re not fixed on your budget from day one.

Before work starts, tot up all your quotes from tradespeople and add in a contingency for any surprises along the way.

Set your budget for the whole project and stick to it.

4. Shop around for trades

Finding reliable trades always comes down to research.

Get at least five quotes for every piece of work you need and research each tradesperson quoting by looking at testimonials online.

Websites like Trustatrader and Which? are good places to start, but you should also seek recommendations from friends and family, too.

Visit each trade’s website to see if they have galleries of previous work and explore their social media accounts to see reviews and comments on jobs they’ve completed.

Finally, the cheapest quote might not always be the best option, so consider all your research, as well as the price being offered, before you make a final decision on who to use.

5. Understand planning permission

Depending on the work you’re looking to do for your renovation project, you may require planning permission.

The common assumption is that planning permission is required more often than not, but there is an extensive list of work you can complete under permitted development rights.

If you’re unsure, speak to your local planning department before your renovation project starts.

They’ll be able to advise you on what you can and can’t do under permitted development, meaning if you do require planning consent, you can get the ball rolling early.

Planning permission can take time to finalise, so the earlier you can submit your plans, the better.

6. Do things in the right order

The order of how you do things when renovating will keep you on track and keep your stress levels at a minimum.

Draw up a schedule of work with your trades and factor in any work you’re aiming to complete yourself.

Most renovations will follow this process:

  • Strip out and removal
  • Structural work – floors, ceilings, walls
  • First fix work – plumbing, heating wiring
  • Plastering, flooring
  • Second fix work – plumbing, heating, wiring
  • Bathroom, kitchen fit-out
  • Decoration

By project managing your renovation effectively, you’ll be able to ensure all trades on are site when they need to be, keeping everything on track and avoiding costly overrunning.

7. Spend time in the space you’re renovating

Before your renovation project gets under way, spend some time living in your property as it currently is.

By holding off for a few months and actually living day-to-day in the space, you’ll soon realise what works for you and what doesn’t.

This can help you focus on the areas of your property that are in greater need of work and will ensure you push your budget into the jobs that will make the biggest impact on your home.

When it comes to painting and decorating, meanwhile, spend some time living in your newly renovated rooms before you paint them.

Grab some tester pots of colours you like and paint a small section of wall, then live with it for a few days and see how you feel about it.

8. Expect the unexpected

Even if you’re confident your home is unlikely to spring any costly surprises on your renovation, it can happen.

Be prepared for any eventuality and have a contingency in your budget for unexpected work.

Common problems that are only discovered when stripping out the existing property include:

  • Damp
  • Rotting wood
  • Uneven floors or joists
  • Poor DIY work completed by previous homeowners

Further reading…

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