With house prices always on the rise, the option of purchasing a home to renovate it becomes increasingly appealing. Some buy a home and do it up to sell it on, while others seek a foot on the property ladder which they can then build on.
If you are on your second project or even deeper into a renovation, you probably already have a good idea of precisely what works for you. However, if you have never done it before, there are goals to strive for and pitfalls to be avoided, which we have broken down into the following top 10 tips.
1. Decide Early if Your Project will Become Your Permanent Home
Many of the decisions you make during the renovation process will be dictated by asking this question. It is important to have something in mind before you start, as even the planning process will be dependent on your ultimate aims. In coming up with an answer for this, you will have an easier time with further considerations in the future. If you plan to stay, then you can build and decorate according to your own tastes, but if the project is aiming for a sale, then you want the home to be as plain and inoffensive as possible to appeal to the widest market.
2. Do Your Research
Even if you have already purchased the home, it is never too late to start doing research. You will have a good idea of house prices in the area, but it may be worth finding out what kind of value your predicted changes will add to the property. It is also worth considering aspects of homeownership that are not directly on your property but may come at a cost, such as service charges, taxes and any unusual laws.
3. Put Together a Realistic Budget
Whether you have bought the home or not, you will have an idea of what the purchase costs. Through the research in tip 2, you will also be able to estimate how much the house will be worth when you are finished. If you have bought to sell, then you will want to build a profit margin into your budget, while if you plan to stay for a while, you can potentially exceed the resulting value. Budgets rarely go completely to plan, but they can help with other planning tasks.
4. Savings Beat Borrowing
Borrowing to fund home improvements makes sense in some cases, but savings often trump it. Depending on the amount of work required, you may need to forego an ordinary income to be on-site each day, and therefore may struggle with making monthly payments. If you plan to sell, then the cost of credit will eat into your profit margins and needs to be considered when running the numbers. If you have time, you can focus on cheaper elements first and save towards larger projects as others are completed.
5. The Exterior is a Priority
Different homes require varying amounts of work, but you should do exterior works first. Making the inside look pretty is fun, but that is wasted if the property is not structurally sound. Issues with walls, the roof, pipes and windows can potentially expose the inside to the elements, so they need to be protected before you put too much effort in. External improvements statistically have a better impact on resale prices too, so this is worth considering depending on your circumstances.
6. Be Prepared to Work
If home renovation has struck you as a new career opportunity, then you should be comfortable with the idea of doing the work yourself. When you get in the professionals, not only do they combine the cost of materials with their own labour, but they probably charge more than you value your own spare time at. If you can do it yourself, you should, especially if you can afford to defer payment until the home sells. If you have friends and family that can fill skill gaps, that is even better as they will require relatively small or even no payments for their time.
7. Choose the Right Contractors
There is likely to come a time when you need to call in the specialists, and it is worth taking the time to find the right fit so that their work is up to the same standard as your own. Word of mouth remains a great tool even in the internet age, as a recommendation from someone you trust will carry plenty of weight. If you do head online, seek out independent reviews rather than those posted on the company website where they can be vetted and edited.
8. Strike a Balance Between Price and Quality
When picking out fixtures and fittings, there is a middle ground to be found. If you have a sale in mind, you need these fittings to look good enough, but they do not need to be top of the range. A prospective buyer will be put off by the lowest quality but will be more inclined to replace anything they do not like once they have moved in.
9. Avoid Trends
Trends are everywhere, including home decoration, but they are a bad idea. If you want to sell the house quickly, you need to keep everything pretty neutral. Even if you plan to stay there yourself, this is unlikely to be the last home you renovate, and you never know when something better may come along – making a quick sale ideal.
10. Learn from Mistakes
As with anything you do for the first time, mistakes will be made. It is unlikely that you will be able to go back and fix them, so treat them as a learning experience and never dwell on them. Mindset is crucial in any profit-making venture, and you must not allow future decisions to be affected by negative past experiences.