You’ve spied a rundown property and feel that with a bit of work it could either become the perfect home or be sold on for a handsome profit. Many property developers have successfully transformed old properties into money spinners in recent years, but what happens if you have little or no renovation experience? Where do you start?
First of all, you have to find that ideal property. Estate agents and property auctions are the logical places to start your search. Once you’ve spotted the one for you, the hard work starts.
We’ve put together a guide to help you avoid the common pitfalls and make your renovation project a success.
Size up the job
Old properties may be riddled with complex problems that involve a lot more time and expense than you initially anticipate. Don’t be afraid to ask multiple tradespeople for quotes so that you have a good idea of the cost of putting any serious issues right. It may be worth talking to timber specialists, damp proofers, electricians, roofers and architects before taking the project on. You may also need to get a surveyor in to check the condition of the house and check with your local planning office if you wish to make any significant internal or external changes. It’s always best to have an idea of will and won’t be allowed before you make that final purchase. You don’t want planning appeal cases eating to your precious budget, or even worse, blowing it completely.
Don’t take on a renovation project that is going to require more money or commitment than you have, even if it sounds really tempting. A slightly dilapidated property might be a more sensible project than a complete wreck that requires major structural work if you’re just starting out. It’s also important that you avoid making expensive changes that won’t add anything to the final value of the property.
Make sure you have a contingency fund of approximately 15% of the total renovation costs in case it ends up being more expensive than you initially thought. Set a budget for each aspect of the work and stick to it unless something unavoidable crops up. If you are renting another property while the renovations take place, you will also need to factor this cost in.
Monitor your contractors
Once you have decided who will carry out the work, use a formal contract like the ones available from the Joint Contracts Tribunal (JCT), which will stipulate the price, payment terms, working hours, insurance and guarantees, and how to resolve disputes if they arise. Always take legal advice here.
If you are hiring contractors, plan carefully what order you will need them in. For example, electricians will need to carry out work before plasterers and carpet layers will need to arrive close to the end of the project to avoid damage. You may need to install or fix plumbing as a first step as many tradespeople will need access to water as they work. You may also wish to prioritise basic structural changes so that the main outline of the property is in place.
If you are planning to live in the property while the renovations take place you will need to hire tradespeople you trust and feel comfortable with. Remember they are going to be spending a good deal of time in the property with you!
If not and you don’t know your contractors well, it will be worth spending a fair bit of time at the property where possible. This could involve spontaneous visits, which will help to ensure that work is carried out at a consistent pace. Stay in regular communication with whoever is in charge so that you know how the work is progressing and are aware of any problems that might arise. If you can’t be on site, ask for regular feedback.
Think long term
Remember to think long term about your renovation. There is no point following the latest fashion trends if they won’t last as long as the renovation project. If this property is an investment to rent out or sell on, go for a classic look that will appeal to a broad range of potential buyers or renters. If this is to be your home, consider the potential cost of future changes. If you go off that fantastic sparkling bathroom suite that’s hot right now, how much is it likely to cost to rip it out and start again? Will you be able to afford it?
Protect your valuable items
If your renovation project is going on around you, you may wish to move furniture and valuable from room to room so that it is out of the way. If doing this move things carefully and cover with clean plastic or cotton sheets to protect from dust and paint damage. Remove any valuable items from inside furniture and pack them carefully. And it’s not just furniture you need to protect. Tradespeople will be coming in and out of the house, potentially bringing in mud and dirt. If you have areas that are already carpeted and you want to keep that carpet, then protecting it will be vital too.
Alternatively, you may wish to remove furnishings altogether, not only for protection purposes but also to free up space to work. A self storage unit is an ideal solution. Whether your renovation project takes weeks or months, it can give you great peace of mind to know that your furniture and other valuable items are stored carefully in a temperature-controlled environment. You can
At Space Centre Self Storage we do not tie you in to long contracts. So whether your renovation project is 6 weeks, 6 months, or 6 years, your belongings are safe and secure. You can even reduce the size of your unit as you go along if you find you’re having to move things back gradually.
If you are looking for storage space and live in South West England, contact our friendly team at Space Centre Self Storage today. We’ll help you work out what unit is best for your needs and if you need it, we can also give you tips and advice about how to store your items and pack your unit.
Image copyright: Roya Ann Miller