Whether you plan to purchase a fixer-upper or want to take on a project in your current home, a renovation can help you put your stamp on a property and increase its value. If you’re taking on a large-scale project, here are 10 tips from Paul Grennan, Principal Mortgage and Equity Release Adviser at Pembroke Financial Services, to help you stay on track and achieve your goals.
1. Commit to a full building survey
Paul said: “If you’ve purchased a new property and plan to make extensive renovations, a full building survey can be useful. A full survey, also known as a “level 3 survey” or “structural survey”, will look for potential defects and their causes. It can help to give you an overview of what work needs to be carried out and how urgent it is.
“You don’t have to purchase a full building survey when you buy a new home but it can unearth issues that aren’t immediately visible. A full building survey is often advisable if you’re purchasing an older or unusually constructed property.”
If you’ve owned the property for a while, it can still be useful to speak to a structural engineer if you plan to take on a large project.
2. Have a clear, realistic budget
Property projects can be costly, even if you plan to do some of the work yourself. Before you start anything, set out exactly what you would like to do and the expected cost of each task. Make sure you consider the cost of materials and receive quotes from several professionals if necessary.
Paul advised: “Once you’ve set out a budget, make sure you have a financial buffer too. Projects can end up costing more than you anticipate, especially if you discover issues when working on them.”
3. Check if you need planning permission and your plans meet building regulations
You’ve probably seen news stories of homeowners who have been forced to pull down their extension because they didn’t seek planning permission. Avoid this mistake by doing your research first.
For projects such as converting a loft or extending a kitchen, you will likely need to consider planning permission and building regulations. Ignoring these until the project is underway or even finished could result in you losing money.
4. Set out a strategic plan
Once you know what tasks need doing, setting out a timeline is important. It can help you be strategic and efficient. You don’t want to have plastered your walls only to find out that your electrics need rewiring. Think carefully about the order you should do each task to minimise the work and expenses.
5. Start at the top of the property
Paul continued: “If you’ll be renovating the whole house or more than one room, being strategic about where you start is also important. In many cases, starting at the top of the property makes sense. You don’t want to complete the work on the ground floor only to have workmen, materials, and disruptions traipsing through and potentially damaging the work completed when you move on to the first-floor projects.”
6. Know when to hire an expert
Doing some of the work yourself can save you money and be rewarding, but there are definitely times when you should work with professionals.
As mentioned above, hiring a structural engineer at the start of major projects can give you confidence. Depending on the project you’re taking on, you may need to work with a whole range of other professionals from architects to electricians.
Doing a task that’s beyond your skill level could end up costing you more if you then need to hire a professional to fix the mistake.
7. Get references for tradespeople and professionals
Hiring tradespeople can be difficult. After all, you could be putting a lot of trust in them and handing over significant amounts of money. Doing your homework before you hire someone can give you peace of mind.
You should contact several different businesses or individuals for each project and get them to give you clear, written quotes for the required work so you can compare them. When you’ve made a decision, ask for references, and check them.
8. Understand the value the project will add
Paul added: “If you’re renovating a home you plan to live in, the value of the project will often be the difference it makes to your life. However, how it will affect the price of the property is still important. Understating the monetary value of a project can help you see how this compares to your budget and which parts of the project will add the most value.”
9. Keep your neighbours onside
A neighbour getting work done on their home can be disruptive, from the noise to additional vehicles outside the property. Chatting with your neighbours and letting them know what will be happening and how to contact you can minimise complaints and keep the project running smoothly.
10. Have fun
Finally, while taking on a property project can be stressful, it can be fun too. Remember to enjoy the design process and seeing your vision come together.
Please note: This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.