Renovating a property no matter how large or small demands a lot of attention, especially to the smaller details.
Whether you’re planning on renovating for profit, or you’re looking to transform your house into a home, renovating is definitely a monumental task.
Before you start, here a few tips to start on the right foot, before picking up the tools!
What’s your renovation goal?
What are you looking achieve, are you looking to increase the property value, restore a period property or are you renovating to avoid moving house in a year or so?
If you’re hoping to add value, speak to a local agent and establish what the buyers within your area are looking for.
Perhaps the goal is to avoid moving, the work you do now should still service your needs in a few years. How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you need, how large does the living space need to be?
I would say renovating a period property would provide the biggest surprises, as you go expect to find pervious building work, most of which will no longer be up to modern day building regulations as these change and modernise as time goes on. Allocate a good portion of your budget for any surprises which maybe unearthed.
Organise the development application
Generally all works will require some form of application or sign off but for now let’s focus on structural renovations/adding aspects to a property.
These works will require a development application, a method statement, floor plans and structural calculations – you don’t want to rip down a supporting wall.
Depending on your local council, sometimes you can gain fast-tracked approval for work, such as adding a new bathroom right up to building a new house, either from council or a private certifier – a good architect and solicitor will also come in handy, if you aren’t the most patient I would recommend splurging here.
Be realistic on your budget
Before you sign with any contractors obtain formal, written quotes from at least three companies and ask for all prices to be broken down – how has the builder gotten to £11k for a new bathroom? This way you can understand which aspect of the job has jacked up the cost and if you’re being over charged.
As a general guide you can expect to pay around 45-50 per cent of the cost on materials, 30-35 per cent on labour and 20-25 per cent on fees, taxes and levies.
Remember to budget your application costs including the architect and legal fees as these will be a few thousand pounds.
If you’re short on cash don’t forget to speak to your bank or financial advisor as you maybe qualify for a mortgage extension, there are also construction loans you can explore but if you can, try and pay with capitol and look at staggering the works over time.
Enlist the experts
Architects can save time and money, not only will they draw up the property plans but they will product method statements which the council will ask for. If they look poor, the application will be delayed or rejected just an FYI.
Expect to spend around 10 per cent of your budget on their fees.
If this isn’t the case, a draftsperson or building designer can draw up your plans, but make sure the drawings comply with building and planning regulations.
Many builders will project manage the works, when you’re obtaining quotes ask whether this is included or if you’re expected to do it yourself or hire a separate project manager.
An interior designer will make your home flawless, but they can be pricey depending on the company you choose and the service you expect. If you enjoy putting schemes together and going around the shops, looking at different materials and fixtures an interior designer may not be an essential part of your renovation.
Add value with careful planning
Even if you’re planning to live in the property for a few years or 5+ still consider how a renovation could increase a property value.
As standard, look to spend no more than 10% of your homes worth on a kitchen and 5% on a bathroom.
Source the best of what you can afford, high quality stone worktops and splash backs and under counter lights will make a kitchens feel expensive. High or mid-range appliances – Smeg and Miele for example in a stainless steel help to add value to a property. And storage is valued by buyers of all budgets!
Invest in quality
Quality material will extend the life span of your home and will also save you money in the long run.
Think about the sustainability and environmental impact, structural capability, thermal performance, sound insulation, fire and moisture resistance.
Decide on a design style
Perhaps you’re aiming for a modern look or would you prefer a period feel? If you’re extending an existing property, do you want it to blend in or look like a modern addition?
The style you choose will impact all the design you choose, both internal and external.
The fixtures, walls, floors, windows and doors all need to tie in with the look you’re after, whether its an industrial style or something a bit more colourful.
Think about how the place will look as a whole rather than one room at a time, this will give you a consistent look.
Stay on track of the paperwork
Even if you have a project manager you will need to keep on track of the costs and timelines.
Keep invoices, receipts, contracts and plans safe and organised, and make notes in your calendar about deadlines you need to meet so the project will run smoothly. It’s so easy to overspend, an extra hundred here or there will soon add up.
If you’re managing the project yourself, write a diary of what’s happened onsite each day – if you begin to see not much is happening, it’s probably time to have an uncomfortable conversation with the contractors. Keeping a diary will also help to ensure the renovation is on track and also gives you specific dates to refer to if problems arise with tradespeople or deliveries.
Unforeseen delays, hidden costs and shoddy work can all happen during a renovation. Allocate a 15-20 per cent buffer into your budget to cover unexpected costs.
If you feel the works aren’t up to scratch have a conversation in person and express how you want this rectified and always follow up with an email, this will not only cover you but provide a check list for the contractor to ensure nothing is missed.
And finally, ask your builder if their insurance covers the whole building or just the part they’re working on – you are within your rights to ask for documentation and transparency on how much their insurance covers.