Are you longing to breathe life into a rundown old property you spotted when on holiday in the Lake District? Do you want to do it on a budget or will money be no object? Have you thought about the rules and regulations for such a project? Before you run away with your ideas, reign in the excitement because you need to do some planning. The correct planning will ensure your project runs smoothly and you have a budget in place to cover the cost. You aren’t going to need heaps of materials because you’re not building a house from scratch. However, it’s still going to be a challenge.
Find the Right Property and Asses its Potential
There are thousands of properties in the UK with potential for renovation. Spread your search further afield and the number increases. Before you commit to anything, take a good look around. Don’t be tempted to jump in with both feet on the first one you see. Chat with estate agents as well as driving around an area. The internet is another place you can look for initial ideas. When it comes to assessing a property’s potential consider the common problems you may need to address. These include:
- Heating system
- Structural cracks
Financing Your Project
You may be lucky enough to have some savings you can draw on. Otherwise, you’re going to need to think about a loan. There are many financial service providers who will happily consider lending money for a renovation project, and you can learn more at this website. When applying for a loan, take into account the price of the property, reconnection fees, valuation fees and council tax. This expense is on top of the cost of the renovation work.
Before you hand over any cash, you should check whether the property is listed. When you’re looking at various properties, this should be explained by the agent. However, if you’re at all unsure at any point, make sure you check. Carrying out unauthorised work on a listed building is a criminal offence. If the house was built around 1840 or earlier, it is highly likely it will be listed. In which case, any alternations will need official consent. Properties in a Conservation Area can also be an issue when it comes to renovations. In particular, there tend to be restrictions with regards to externals improvements.
Hire a Contractor or DIY?
It really depends on the scale of the project and your expertise. If you decide you want to hire professionals, ask for recommendations from people you trust. There could be a number of people involved in the project, so it’s important you feel comfortable with who you’ve chosen. It could also be that you need the services of a designer. Major remodelling work and extensions would benefit from the expertise of a professional. They will know how to get the most from a particular space, what you’ll be able to do within your budget and offer ideas and solutions you might not have considered.
It is useful if you ask a couple of contractors to give you estimates so that you’ve got a rough idea of cost before you ask for a proper quote. Ask if there will be a difference in price if you project-manage yourself. The contractor will also be able to tell you whether architect plans will be required.
Are You up to Being the Project Manager?
Acting as the project manager for your renovation could be very time-consuming. Have you got the time to spare or would you be better handing the hat over to someone else? Managing the project yourself could make a significant saving, anywhere between 5% and 15%. You will need to be on site at least once a day. You’ll be responsible for hiring individual traders and paying them, as well as health and safety.
You might not realise it, but your current home and buildings insurance might not cover you for any major building work. Your policy may be voided and making a claim impossible if you don’t contact your insurance provider and explain what you’re doing. It is also usual for the standard policy to only apply to a property when it is occupied. Specialist renovation insurance is an option. How much it will cost and what level to choose will depend on the work you’re planning.
Protecting the Site
If you’re not going to be living on site, you need to consider protecting it against break-ins. Insurance will cover any losses, but it would be preferable for it not to happen at all. You might not think it, but there are plenty of things inside a renovated property that will be attractive. Wiring, pipework and a period fireplace are all worth taking. Check the windows and doors as they may be rotting. Add locks until you can replace them. Worse case scenario, you could board them up.
Getting Rid of the Rubbish
This is one aspect of a renovation project that often gets forgotten until the pile of rubble outside is so big you can’t get to the front door. There are a few options, one of which is to hire a skip. It can work out to be very expensive, and they only hold a certain amount of waste. If you want to use it for all your rubbish, it will cost extra. If there isn’t room in the garden, you’ll need to put it on the road. You’ll need to get permission from the local authority, and you also run the risk of it getting filled with old sofas, chairs, microwaves and anything else the neighbours can’t fit in their wheelie bin. Another option is to hire a self-loading lorry. One of these can take away as much as 22 tonnes of rubbish at a time.
A renovation project can be very exciting. It will take up a considerable amount of your time, but you’ll be so proud when you’ve finished. The tips above will make the project a little easier, and when you sit back and relax in your newly renovated home, you’ll be glad you took the advice on board.
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Disclaimer: This is a collaborative post.