Renovation projects are often an ambitious undertaking but they are also becoming increasingly common for homeowners who cannot afford to move straight away, or for those getting a foot on the property ladder by buying a house in need of some TLC.
A home renovation can add several thousand pounds to a property on re-sale but, often, will alert you to issues that were not previously visible, like rising damp. If this is the case then the costs can soar quite drastically, which is why you are advised to seek an assessment of the property’s condition first.
When it comes to home renovation projects, consider the steps involved before committing. Use this house renovation checklist to order your thoughts, and start planning your dream home!
Decide what you want
Keep a scrapbook, wish list or Pinterest board of the designs you love. There may be some key structural changes that you require but you can also build up a library of ideas by researching other projects. Find out what style you like best, what is affordable and what is out of bounds. Prioritise your must-haves and nice-to-haves, as this will help to determine your budget.
Before meeting with an architect, have a budget estimate in mind. This will guide you both so that you can set some realistic expectations. Remember to also build in a contingency fund for those unexpected hiccups, like discovering damp after ripping plaster off the walls.
Get the calendar out. When do you want building works to begin? How long will they last and what impact will that have on daily life? These are important points to also discuss with your architect and contractor.
Utilities (Water, Gas, Electricity)
In a particularly old property, you will likely need to update old wiring. This is the perfect opportunity to install gadgets, if you want a ‘smart’ house, as well as modern necessities like Wi-Fi and TV cable. You should also consider lighting and be sure that it is wired safely.
Everything degrades over time, and plumbing and gas supplies are no different. Check the main supply, heating pipes and sewer lines. You should also decide about whether to replace fixtures and fittings like taps and sanitary ware.
Think through how you will cover the costs. Savings? Re-mortgaging? Taking out a loan? Costs and timescales can be calculated and planned before work starts. To help manage the budget, establish a timeline of activity throughout the project when you meet your architect or contractor as they can give you further guidance.
DIY vs Professional
Some jobs should always be done by a professional, like rewiring, but there are other remodelling tasks that you can take on yourself. The main benefit of this is saving money. You might need to consider taking on the decorating yourself, or sharing the workload with a few friends to make your budget go further. An added factor to take into account if you plan to do some DIY is that the project may take a lot longer than if you were to hire a pro.
Finding an architect
When it comes to researching architects, start with a list of locals. Speak to your friends, family and neighbours for recommendations and check out their websites or arrange to meet face to face. Give them a brief of your renovation project and a rough budget. You should meet with a few architects to make sure that you get on, not just that they have the same design taste as you.
Seeking planning permission
Seeking planning permission is a must for any new building but renovations also need full planning permission to be granted before works begin. The local authority will decide whether to grant permission by assessing the impact your renovation could have on privacy, loss of natural light, impact on listed buildings, materials and overall design, nature conservation, etc. It can take about 8 weeks to gain approval, so the sooner you can secure this, the better.
Like when researching architects, you should get several bids before choosing a contractor to carry out your renovation. Look for local businesses, and get word of mouth recommendations from friends or family. You can ask for references from previous customers too. Prospective contractors will provide an estimate which includes the cost of materials. You can speak to the suppliers to find out what mark-up is being applied, and whether it is reasonable. Find out what projects they are already working on so you can gauge their availability and resource, particularly for small businesses.
Living arrangements need to be considered too, and will likely be determined by the size of the renovation project. Will you stay in the house throughout the renovation, or seek temporary accommodation? What impact will this have on your budget?
You must also consider insurance when undertaking a home renovation project. Not only do you need to seek cover for the existing structure but you will need public liability insurance in case of any accidents while building works are ongoing, such as roof tiles falling and injuring a passer-by. If you decide to rent elsewhere while your house is being renovated, then you should also take out unoccupied home insurance.
Remember, once the project is complete you must increase your sum insured to cover the new additions to the property. HomeProtect can provide renovation insurance quotes online, or contact us to tell us about your upcoming project and cover requirements.