More and more of us are taking the plunge and embarking upon renovation projects to create the home of our dreams. If you’ve recently bought a property you plan to revamp, or you’re keen to make changes to a home you’ve outgrown, here are some handy tips to take on board.
Figuring out the numbers
Unless you have a bottomless pit of money available for your renovation project, the first step to take is setting a budget. Think about the changes you want to make and work out how much you can afford to spend. If you have savings available, it’s better to use them than taking out a loan. Borrowing money is an option, but it will cost you more due to interest rates and charges. Explore your options, and if you are looking to borrow, always check the terms and conditions very carefully. Ensure you can afford to cover the cost of monthly repayments. Once you have a figure in mind, start making calls and get some quotes. Take time to look through each individual quote, and avoid opting for the lowest price if it doesn’t offer the best value for money. You might find that a company that charges a higher price includes more services or a faster turnaround time, for example. Make sure every quote you obtain covers the cost of materials and supplies such as cement, admixtures, bricks and slates, as well as vehicle and equipment hire, waste removal and labour. The written quotation should be broken down and itemised with all fees included.
If you’re taking on an extensive project, it’s always wise to have a contingency fund, as you may hit bumps in the road that delay progress and increase costs. It’s also vital to make sure that you factor in VAT when calculating totals. Check quotes and invoices to see whether or not VAT is included. If you’ve added everything up, but not factored in VAT, there will be a substantial difference between your calculation and the final cost.
Working on plans that suit your lifestyle
When you’re taking on a renovation project, it’s critical to think about your lifestyle and how you plan to use your home, as well as the aesthetics. Of course, you want your home to look incredible, but you also need to think about how you can make use of the space you have available and cater for the needs of your family. If you have young children, for example, you might wish to create a large, open-plan kitchen with an adjoined playroom so that you can cook and socialise at the same time as keeping an eye on them. If you live with your parents, and they have limited mobility, creating a ground floor bedroom with an en suite is an excellent idea. If you have pets, you might like the option of providing access to the back garden through the utility room. Go through plans and ideas with experienced architects, look for inspiration in magazines or from TV shows, and have a look at what other people have done via online galleries.
Choosing the right people for the job
Your home is probably your most precious asset in terms of financial value. When you entrust your property to a building firm, you want to enjoy peace of mind that your home is in safe hands. This is why it’s essential to take your time to find the best people for the job. Search for local companies, ask for recommendations from neighbours, colleagues and friends, and read independent, verified reviews and testimonials. Ask for a range of quotes, compare prices, and read the terms and conditions before you make a decision. Avoid firms that offer very low prices, as there is likely to be catch, and be wary of those that make you pay in advance. It’s best to try and use firms that have a large number of positive reviews and those that have been recommended by people who have used them before. You often see headlines and horror stories on TV about companies that have left customers hanging in the middle of projects or taken large sums of money and never come back. This is uncommon, but it does happen, so it’s important to conduct thorough research.
Renovating a property is a hugely exciting proposition, but it often involves a lot of planning and groundwork. Before you sign any contracts or part with any money, set a budget, explore different ideas and options, research local building and architect firms and think about how your plans fit in with your lifestyle.