How to prepare to renovate your property...

Before you buy a property that requires renovation you may wish to consider getting a survey done by an RCIS surveyor. Depending on the condition of the property a HomeBuyers’ Report will make you aware of the main issues, whereas a Building Survey is more detailed and will also include an estimate of costs. It is better to have an understanding of what you are taking on, rather than opening the door to a house of horrors and a quickly shrinking bank balance.

Listed property

You know if you have ever purchased a listed property that your home will come with restrictions for renovation and decoration. It is a criminal offence to undertake any unauthorised work on a property that is listed; therefore you must ensure you have all the facts before you start to make plans. Also, check if your home is in a conservation area, as this may also incur some restrictions, especially regarding the exterior of your property.

‘I love it when a plan comes together’

Plan, plan and plan again. If you are inexperienced in project management then it may be wise to seek advice, as you do not want to be paying for supplies and tradesman when they are not needed. Have a clear vision of what you want to achieve to use as a starting point, and list every single process, no matter how small, needed to get there. Identify which trades you will need, and at what point, and start researching and putting together your A Team, bearing in mind the costs along the way.

Always have a contingency

The thing with renovations is that no matter how solid your plan, how meticulous you have been in the details, there is always that unknown occurrence that no one was expecting; therefore you should always set aside a contingency of around 20-30% of your overall budget. Budgeting should be your priority, accounting for every nail, every hour of a plasterer, and every gorgeous finish that you are looking to decorate your new home with. It is surprising how much the little items can mount up to if you’re not being careful; so again, if you’re not experienced in this area it is always wise to bring on board a contractor, who will be able to assist you and even project manage to ensure everything is completed on time, on budget and to spec.

Are you protected?

We know you will have insurance for the property and its contents, but have you checked with your insurer that this covers extensive building works? Most home insurance policies are only valid if you are living at the premises; therefore if you are unable to live on-site during the renovation you need to make your insurer aware of this.

Safe and sound

Any renovation work can leave your property exposed from time to time, so make sure you have put in measures to keep your property and the site secure to protect against any break-ins. Preparation is always the key to a successful renovation; we look forward to seeing the results of your hard work.