9th December, 2015

Survival guide: top renovation tips for success

Survival guide: top renovation tips for success

Property renovation is a rite of passage for those looking to leap on the housing ladder or for many planning to trade-up.

Here are 10 top tips to consider when embarking on a potential project.

  1. Bag a bargain
First find a property ripe for renovation. Some people prefer beautiful barns, others might like old water towers and many fall in love with chocolate-box cottages. But the key is to find a property that suits you, your budget and your lifestyle. Renovations can be rewarding, but they can engulf your life, too.

  1. Talk to the professionals
The next stage of any renovation project, big or small, is to assess the property. For a major project, it’s worth commissioning a chartered surveyor to undertake a building report. This will identify essential repairs and ongoing concerns, as well as information on the type of construction that will determine how to proceed. IMG_50035743_3_original

  1. The plan of attack
Renovation is not without risk, but if you work logically, the risks can be minimised. Preparing a plan of attack, or a critical path is an essential step. It should include a timeline and costings. If your budget is tight, it will allow work to be prioritised without compromising quality.

  1. Money, money, money
Always include a contingency in your calculations. There may be something lurking beneath the floorboards or behind those crumbling walls that is impossible to anticipate. Keep a contingency fund to cover unexpected costs, and a store of patience. A contingency of about 10-15 per cent of the overall project is advisable. IMG_50035886_4_original

  1. Secrets of success
If you are remodelling or extending, get a measured survey of the building. This will be an invaluable starting point for making design decisions and will be necessary for any planning applications or building regulations approval.

  1. No surprises
When employing specialists to carry out some or all of the work, contact three companies for quotes. Trust your instincts when choosing a contractor. Take a look at their previous work and talk to their clients. Recommendations from friends are useful, too. IMG_50034120_3_original

  1. Room for improvement
While waiting for approval, you can start work on any projects that don’t need planning consent. If you’re renovating an old wreck, ensure it is structurally stable, then tackle any issues with damp or infestations. The last thing you want is to accidentally conceal a problem that will damage other work if it needs addressing at a later stage.

  1. Roll your sleeves up
This is where the hard graft begins, from plastering and wiring, to fixtures and fittings. It is also where your plan of action will be vital to avoid additional work. While it may be tempting to paint a room, while wiring work continues in another, in the long-term, it is better to ensure the property is clean as well as dust free. IMG_50035886_21_original

  1. The bigger picture
If time is tight, work from the top down, with painters and decorators following the building work. Soft floor coverings are the last to go in, along with white goods. But make sure you go around the property with a builder, drawing up a snagging list. This will identify any big or small work that needs completing or fine-tuning.

  1. And finally…
Before you breathe a sigh of relief and prepare to move in, give the place one last thorough clean to get rid of any stray plaster and dust. Small problems inevitably occur along the way, but they come with the rich territory of renovating an old building. Then reap the rewards of your hard work. Put your feet up, relax and admire your new home.

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