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Top tips for renovating your home

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Tue 18 Feb 2020

Top tips for renovating your home

Whether you're looking to make the space in your current home work for you, or are looking to purchase a project to make your own - renovating can be an excellent answer to making the most of your property. It's also not for the faint-hearted, so we've put together some tips to help you ensure that your project runs as smoothly as possible to get you your dream home.

Hire an architect. 

If you want to change the structure of your property in some way, or extend it to give yourself more room, hiring an architect and making the most of their lengthy training is highly recommended. You might have ideas of what you would like to see, but a professional will be able to listen to what you're wanting to achieve, and present you with clever ideas which might give you more space for less time and cost, which you might not necessarily have thought of yourself. They can also create architects drawings to bring your ideas to life, and help you envision what your finished project will look like - something incredibly difficult to do from just looking at a builder's flat plan.

Ask your contacts for builder recommendations 

When renovating, you're trusting trades to carry out your vision, and to give you the space you need. Although review websites specifically for trades do exist and can be a helpful component of making a decision, the very best way to find a good builder is to ask people you know and trust for their recommendations based on work they've had done and are happy with. If you don't have anyone you can ask personally, try asking on local Facebook groups, and asking if you can take a look at work completed before you commit to hiring a builder.

Communication is key!

As with any relationship, it's really important that you're able to talk to your builder and they're able to talk to you. Hiring someone who can strike a balance between not using baffling jargon and not being condescending is essential. A good relationship with your builder means you'll be able to talk out any points you may disagree with, and you can only do this by everyone being open to discussion.

Make sure there is a detailed contract

A contract with your builder should cover everything from what they will be responsible for, and what you are responsible for doing. It should lay out a schedule of works, and you'll need to make sure items arrive in time for the builders to fit them. This will make sure there aren't delays in your project which could lead to an increased cost (more on that, next). A contract also means you can keep abreast of smaller details like what the builders are supplying themselves such as plug sockets, keeping the whole project on track as much as is in both of your control.

Give yourself a realistic budget (and then some!)

Building projects often go over budget. Even with detailed spreadsheets and the best will in the world, you can't look into a crystal ball and predict any problems which might be lurking unseen underneath the surface. Often things are discovered which need to be put right before the renovation can progress as planned. Time is money, and unexpected delays can inflate your costs through no fault of your own. What this also highlights, is that it's a great idea to have a 20-30% contingency budget when you're undertaking a renovation project.

Be prepared to make concessions

It's a great idea to keep two lists. Things which are 'nice to have', and things which you will not budge on, on another. If unexpected costs arise, you then know that you can look at the 'nice to have' list in order to cut costs, without compromising things which you consider to be your absolute must-haves. If you don't want to compromise on anything, then you may need to make sure your budget and contingency reflect this. 

Ensure the project is complete before giving the builders their final payment

Lots of builders will return after three months to check you are happy with their work. This gives everything enough time to settle, and any niggles to present themselves. Once you're entirely happy, you can pay the final instalment! 

If you're looking for a renovation property in the local area, get in touch with us at Wills & Smerdon and we can have a chat about your requirements.