Renovating a home is an exciting process but lets face it, its a big job and you can feel way above your head. When we purchased our first home, we purposefully opted for a new build property that would require little to no work, something that we could easily rent out when we decide to move on. Having said that, it’s not our dream home. We’d love our forever home to be a big period property with character and features, something that we could give our own flair and make our own. That sort of renovation requires knowledge which is something we don’t currently have.
It’ll be a few years yet before we take the plunge and buy our dream home but that hasn’t stopped me from spending hours scouring Pinterest and Instagram for ideas, researching and making little plans for our future home.
If you are in the position or looking to renovate a house then there are a few things that you should know beforehand. Unless you are a skilled tradesperson then most likely you will hire people in to help with the jobs at hand.
Make sure you get a building report
It’s always in your best interest to get a homebuyers report & building survey from a chartered building surveyor before you go ahead and purchase a property. Nobody likes nasty surprises that can cost you a fortune in the long run. Things like fixing roofs, rotten beams and dealing with Asbestos can cut into your budget so it’s best to be aware rather than going in blind. A few missing roof tiles can cost a couple of hundred pounds whereas extensive damage can escalate into the £1000s. Get that report!
Be cost effective
Sometimes you will need to weigh up the pros and cons of repairing over replacing. If repairing some existing features is more expensive and less economical then it might be worthwhile to consider replacing the item altogether. You don’t always have to replace with new, there are salvage companies that can source a replacement that is sympathetic to the building.
Making structural changes
There are lots of things to consider when making big structural changes like adding space or changing the way in which you use spaces. Projects like this will more often than not require knocking down of walls. If this is the case and your project requires the removal of load-bearing walls, cutting into roof timbers, or even removing a chimney breast, then it’s a good idea to consult a structural engineer before any work is carried out.
Another thing to consider when making structural changes is Asbestos which may have been flagged up when your building survey and homebuyers report was completed. Homes in the UK that were built before 1980 can contain Asbestos. It might be found in old floor tiles, ceiling tiles, flashing, siding and even insulation which can pose a risk if disturbed. It can put a huge halt on your renovation project as it has to be dealt with effectively by either containment or removal. You are obligated inform any tradespeople working on your home of Asbestos, if not you can leave yourself open to legal action in the future. If you are unsure or require help and information about your liability surrounding Asbestos-related illnesses, you can contact Your Legal Friend.
For smaller extensions and improvements that don’t effect the external look of the building, you might not need planning approval at all but for significant larger-scale extensions and building structures then planning permission will be required. You can take a look at PlanningPortal to find out exactly what type of project you can carry out.
Personalising your home
One of the best things about renovations, especially when it is your own home, is making personal decisions on the decor, colour schemes and how you want each room to look. While structure and layout is essential, and getting the planning in place to begin the work, once all of that is done with the fun can really begin. You can look online for inspiration on how to personalise your new home so that you can get some ideas ahead of time. It is always a good idea to set aside some budget for the finishing touches so that your vision can come together.
Do your research
Before hiring contractors and tradespeople, do your research on them. Make sure that they have their own insurance and what exactly that insurance covers. Are they chartered? Are they qualified? Do they have experience in the projects you are undertaking?
Look for reviews of people that have used their services, you don’t want to be stung by a dodgy trades person.
You may also want to consider renovation insurance which should cover public and employers’ liability, cover for building materials and work, the existing structure and any accident cover and legal expenses that may be incurred during the renovation process.
Are you planning any big renovation projects in the future or have you completed one already? I’d love to hear your stories