Property renovations can be huge projects and it’s often difficult to know where to start.
Whether you’re buying a house to renovate, or you’re undertaking a renovation at your current property, this guide tells you everything you’ll need to know before you start…
What do you need to do before renovating a house?
1. Get a survey done
If you’re buying a house to renovate, you should always have a full structural survey carried out.
A surveyor will look in detail at the property and raise any major issues that could eat up your budget before you’ve even started your renovation.
Things like major damp problems, a roof beyond repair, or subsidence should all be highlighted in the survey if present.
2. Pause for thought
Rather than break ground right away with your renovation project, take some time to explore and get to know your property in more detail.
Think about how you’d use the space available and look at which rooms get more light and are more welcoming spaces.
By spending this time understanding the property, you’ll be able to work out where to direct your budget and the areas of the house that will require more work to bring up to scratch.~
3. Prep for planning permission
Before you start work, speak to your local planning department about your renovation and establish whether planning consent will be needed for the work.
Lots of renovation work can be done under permitted development, but you should also check to see if your property lies within an article 4 or conservation area, which could have restrictions in place.
4. Expect the unexpected
Even with a full structural survey and the peace of mind that comes with it, you should always expect a few renovation surprises along the way.
Properties in need of major work can often hide a multitude of sins behind their walls, so be prepared that your project may take longer and test your budget.
5. Make plans if the property isn’t habitable
If the property you’re looking to renovate isn’t in a liveable condition, this can affect your funding.
Many mortgage lenders won’t lend on a property that isn’t in a habitable condition, so you may need to explore other funding options, such as bridging finance or a development loan, to help pay for your renovation.
Be aware, too: Bridging finance and other development loans usually come with higher interest rates than traditional mortgages, so you’ll need to factor this into your budget.
6. Think about where you’ll live
Living in a property being renovated isn’t always an option, so you’ll need to think about where you’ll live during the work and the costs involved.
If you are going to live in the property you’re doing up, be prepared for lots of disruption, noise, and dust – as well as potentially being without services like plumbing, heating, and electrics for periods of time.
Renting a property while work is carried out can be a good option but could impact your cashflow should your renovation take longer than expected.
7. Make sure you’re insured
If you’re buying a property to renovate, you’ll become responsible for it once you’ve exchanged contracts with the seller.
That means you should have an adequate insurance policy in place to cover flooding, fire, and theft from the building while work is carried out.
You should also ensure you only use builders and contractors with an adequate ‘all risk’ public liability insurance policy in place.
8. Bring in a structural engineer
Major renovation work at your property could involve the removal of walls to create a modern, open plan concept.
Before any walls are removed, always consult with a structural engineer.
They’ll be able to advise if additional support beams are needed, as well as the type of beam you’ll need and the costs you can expect.
9. Draw up an advance schedule of works
One of the key aspects of any successful renovation is clear project management and a schedule of works.
This will help to avoid trades overlapping on your project.
Draw up a schedule of what will be done, when it will be done and by whom.
You should also break down your schedule of works into mini projects, for example, a kitchen extension or loft conversion, and have smaller schedules of works for each mini project.
10. Work to a worst-case scenario budget
Property renovations often cost more than you’d expect.
So, work on the basis that your project will require you to spend your maximum budget, as well as keeping a contingency amount to one side for unexpected problems.
And always factor in major costs like a new central heating system and full re-wiring if you’re buying an older property to renovate.