Are you about to start a renovation project in your home? Well, there’s a lot of guidance available online from people who have been there and done it. However, to ease you into it, here are 10 of the most important things to remember when you’re renovating…
1. A budget is essential
First and foremost, you’d be wise to start a renovation project by setting yourself a strict budget. Sorting out the finances is never any fun, but with a good overview of your current financial position and a clear idea of what you can afford to spend, you’ll find the process of renovating much less stressful. If you’re renovating an old property, you might need a higher budget than people renovating a modern building.
2. A contingency budget is a smart idea
Similarly, plan for accidental over-spends at set-backs. To do this, you’d be wise to factor in an additional 10% to your budget so account for things you haven’t predicted at this stage. This can make the difference between having to re-mortgage or take out a home improvement loan you don’t really want, versus having the cash in your bank account. Trust us – a contingency budget will ensure you can actually sleep at night!
3. Spend money on the things you’ll use the most
When you’re estimating what you’re going to spend on each element of your renovation, make sure you’re spending money on the things that are going to get used a lot. For instance, flooring might not seem as exciting as the paint colours you’ve been excitedly pinning, but if you’re renovating high-traffic areas, investing in the ‘bones’ of the building is a very good idea.
4. You CAN do some things yourself
Lots of people think they can’t do DIY, but with a little willingness and enthusiasm, you might find you’re actually pretty good with a sander or a paint brush. Not only will it save you lots of money like this, you’ll also have a huge sense of satisfaction when you step back to look at your hard work. And, you’ll have learned a whole host of new skills – perfect for a property that needs work in the future!
5. Your home insurance might not cover DIY disasters
That said, do take care when you’re renovating. Many people don’t realise that their home insurance doesn’t cover them for DIY disasters, so be sure to check out the terms of your policy before you pick up a hammer. If you don’t have home insurance yet (or want to change yours), RAC home insurance allows you to add optional extras so that your DIY disasters will be covered if knocking that wall through doesn’t go the way you hoped!
6. It’s wise to outsource when you’re out of your depth
Do you know how to plumb a bathroom? Tile a wall? Re-wire circuits? If not, it’s a really good idea to pay for tradesmen to come in and do the work for you. For electrical work in particular, this is very important as your safety (and your family’s) is at risk if you get it wrong.
7. It’s a good idea to work with recommended contractors
When you’re hiring professionals to help with various aspects of the renovation, you’ll want to ensure that you’re getting good value for money. One of the best ways to ensure this is to only use contractors that have been personally recommended to you by friends, family and colleagues. If you’d like to use someone else, ask if they’ll put you in touch with customers who have recently used their services so you can ask for an honest review of their services.
8. You might want to temporarily move out
Renovations can be messy, and noisy, and very disruptive! If you have children (or even if you don’t), you might want to consider moving out in the short-term while the messiest work is being done. For example, if you’re without walls, roofs, windows, doors or plaster at any point in the renovation, it could be very unpleasant to live in the house. So, be sure to have sorted out alternative accommodation while you’re renovating, or factor in renting somewhere in the short term into your budget. Alternatively, check out this blog post about how to safely live in your house during a major renovation.
9. Don’t be a push over
If you’re spending your hard-earned cash on improving your home, you’ve probably given it lots of thought. In fact, you might have very firm ideas about what you want to achieve, and the end result you’re expecting to see. So, don’t be too quick to take a contractor’s word for it if they say ‘it’s not possible to do that’ or ‘that won’t fit’. It’s true that they know best, but if they haven’t even taken a tape measure out or suggested an alternative, push back.
10. Practice patience
Finally, renovations take time. It’s rare that they run to schedule (which is something you’ll know if you’ve ever watched Grand Designs or any home makeover programme), and you’ll also need to be patient with the people you’re working with. Suppliers, stockists and tradesmen are all coming together to make your perfect home and that’s something that rarely goes without a hitch! Enjoy the process, keep an eye on your budget and try to get out the house if it’s feeling more like a building site than your home.