Renovating a property just the way you want it is no doubt a satisfying accomplishment. To add your own style and twist is a dream come true for many homeowners, what’s more, you can save money in the long run on stamp duty costs by buying a cheaper property to do-up. But before you start knocking down walls or adding an extension, it is important to check these seven tips that’ll stand you in good stead.
Decide exactly what you are trying to get out of the project
Is the outcome of the renovation for you to enjoy or to sell on to others? Are you just looking to increase your property value or are you building to create a family home? Having clear goals will keep you on track and focused through the ups and downs that may occur on the journey. Which brings us on to our next point…
Consider how much stress you can handle
Renovation projects can be very stressful, whether it is something small like some fresh paint work and new furnishings or something more substantial such as a loft conversion.
‘Renovation’ means different things to different people. Some may want a tired property that simply needs a fresh lick of paint and new fixtures and fittings to bring it into 2019, while others are willing to knock down walls to create their dream open-plan layout.
Budget aside, consider your main motives for doing the work and how much disruption you can manage.
Research, research, research
We commend you for doing what you are doing right now; gathering advice and researching the market, so keep on doing just that.
Loft extensions to create an extra bedroom are the most profitable improvement, increasing a property’s value by 11% on average, with kitchen and bathroom renovations adding 5.5% and 2.6% respectively.
Consider giving any outside space a makeover, too. Well-presented gardens can add up to 10% to the value of your home, with simple, low-maintenance ones often the most attractive to buyers. Less is more – you don’t need to spend a fortune to make a big impact outdoors.
However, serious renovation projects don’t always go to plan. Before taking on a ‘doer upper’ home, make sure you do your research and factor unexpected costs into your budget so the value added hasn’t already been spent.
Be sure planning permission would be granted
The most important thing is to make sure your Grand Designs project would get the green light from the council’s planning office.
Some properties are listed with planning permission already granted, and it’s worth looking at what other applications have been approved in your area for guidance.
Be prepared to be flexible with your build budget
Nathalie Hirst, an award-winning prime London buying agent, advises against getting so over-excited by the lower price tag of a run-down property that you forget the expenditure to come.
“There is obviously a discount to be had in an unmodernised house but at the same time there is a certain uncertainty surrounding final costs,” she says.
“However careful one is, renovations always cost more and take longer than anticipated. You also have holding costs and often temporary rentals to take into consideration.
Get the experts onside
Hirst recommends finding a highly-regarded architect who will be upfront with you about costs, even if you then end up not buying and they lose a potential job.
“Consider offering an advice fee as an incentive and always have backup funds – you don’t want to run out of money if unseen problems occur.”
Be realistic with the valuation
Above all, be realistic about how much value you can really add, and don’t overspend, advises Louis Harding, area director for Strutt & Parker.
“If you want your renovation to add value to your home, you need to know the ceiling price for your property – that is the maximum price a buyer will spend for a house on your street before they can find a similar one for the same money in a better street,” he says.
“If you’re already at your ceiling price, don’t expect further renovations to add significantly to the value of your home. If you’re thinking of a complete kitchen refit, bear in mind the value of your property and what return you’re likely to see on your investment.”