Deciding to renovate your home is a huge decision! Whether you’ve bought an older home specifically with a renovation in mind, or you’ve suddenly decided to invest in and improve your existing home, it’s a big project to undertake.
You may have religiously watched reruns of Grand Designs and therefore think you know everything there is to know about renovating your home, but undertaking a renovation for yourself the first time is a huge learning curve. So the more prepared you can be, the better!
If we haven’t talked you out of it – sorry! – and you’re still excited to get started with your home renovation, then we’ve got some great tips for you to consider before you even get started. Remember, knowledge really is everything, and when it comes to renovation, you should never rush into it.
- Get a building survey/planning permission
We know, you’re keen to get stuck into the exciting parts such as planning the interiors, the wall colour, the new furnishings. But it’s crucial to get all the heavy paperwork out the way first.
If any of your renovation work includes extending your property, then legally you’re going to need to seek planning permission first. Likewise, if the home you’re renovating has been recently purchased and you’re not aware of the history, then we’d recommend getting a building survey done. You may have already done this when you purchased the property, but if you’re a few years down the line then it’s also worth investing in a thorough survey. A building survey will highlight any red flags that need addressing in your property ASAP.
- Decide how much you can DIY
Once you’ve got the go ahead from your surveyor and your planning permission has been signed off, then it’s time to get planning. At this stage, if you’ve requested planning permission, then you probably already have drawings from an architect and plans of how your finished property will look. But, how are you going to get to that stage? It’s time to consider how much of your renovation you can DIY.
Consider what exactly will need doing to each room and at each stage of the renovation, and compare this to your skillset. You might be surprised by how much you can commit to undertaking yourself! Just remember to stay safe and wear appropriate PPE and safety clothing – after all, a home in the midst of a renovation is essentially a construction site.
- Make a rough plan
Planning is essential when it comes to renovating. Now you’ve decided how much work you can safely and realistically do yourself, it’s time to put together a plan of action. Things don’t always go as expected when working on a property, so it’s important to be realistic with your timescale and your expectations. We’d recommend leaving plenty of space for flexibility and for any potential unexpected issues.
- Get local recommendations
When working out who you’re going to hire to carry out some of the heavier work of your renovation, it’s important to choose people and businesses you trust. The best way to find trusted traders is recommendation by word of mouth. Speak to any friends or family who’ve recently had work done, or reach out on your local Facebook page and ask for advice. There are also apps such as CheckATrader where you can read real life reviews of tradesmen from people in your local area. Don’t rush into choosing who you want to work with, as this can really make or break your project. It’s also worth remembering that the best traders are often booked up months in advance, so you might not be able to get started with your project as soon as you hope – but it’s worth the wait if you want to work with the right person.
- Don’t scrimp on the important stuff
Now that you’ve decided who you’re working with, you can start thinking about the more exciting details, such as tiles, flooring, work surfaces, paint colours. When it comes to budgeting for your interior finishes and fittings, it’s important to split your budget in order or priority. While spending thousands on kitchen cupboard doors might seem important to achieve the right look, putting that money into your heating/windows/flooring is far more important in the long run. We’d also recommend thinking about what will potentially add value to your home – those are the things worth investing money into.
We hope you now feel confident and ready to get planning your renovation. While going through any home project can be stressful, time-consuming and full of unexpected surprises, in the long run it’s so worth it and can add thousands to the overall value of your home.