To say buying a house is both a long-term and expensive investment is an understatement. There are now record numbers of new houses being built which means prospective homeowners can visualize the house they’re going to be living in for the next umpteen years, safe in the knowledge that they don’t need to spend a fortune bringing it up to scratch. For most people looking to buy a new house this is an attractive notion. After all, moving is stressful enough without having to worry about a delayed build and choosing bathroom taps.
Renovating a house is a mammoth task and is certainly not for the faint hearted which might explain why so few homeowners opt to do it, but this uncertainty can and so often is outweighed by the rewards of a completed home.
Everyone who buys a project house will learn as and when they progress through the build, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be prepared for what might lie ahead. If you’re thinking of buying a project house, keep reading to find out some common tips you may want to keep in mind.
Project houses are usually old and are in some state of disrepair. This can mean they might be harboring some pretty big problems, be it in the form of outdated wiring or extensive damp damage. It may sound like common sense to tackle these issues first, but lots of first-time renovators give the less appealing issues much thought, instead jumping straight in to picking out light fixtures and a new sofa. The first thing you’ll want to tackle is the expensive issues, no matter how boring and mundane they might be. Doing them first stands you in good stead of moving forwards with the project without experiencing any major issues later down the line, particularly ones that could see you have to undo all your more exciting work – like plastered walls and buffed floors.
The major benefit of old houses is that they are bursting with original features. Whether it’s stained glass windows, the original front door or age-old hallway tiles, there’s always treasures to be found inside an older house – no matter how dilapidated it is. Before you commence with ripping everything out, check for hidden features that nod to the house’s creation. You might have your house interior planned out inch by inch, but any usable original features are well worth using. All good house renovations pay respect to the time period the house was built in. Salvaging what you can is a great way to mix the old with the new and will certainly pay off when the house is finished.
You probably aren’t certified to build a full two story extension and you will definitely need to hire professionals for large parts of your renovation, but there are some things you can do yourself. You’d be surprised what YouTube, a drill, some brass angles and a bit of elbow grease will get you in terms of preserving your budget and adding some personalized elements to your house. If not to save money, doing part of the renovation yourself will give you a huge sense of fulfilment at the end of the project.
Anyone taking on a big house renovation knows that things will go wrong along the way, but in addition to expecting things to go awry occasionally, it’s also important to keep in mind that not everything will come out the way you had planned it. Perhaps the kitchen tiles you order will arrive a slightly different color to what you had anticipated, or maybe your builders won’t be able to work to the exact schedule you had set out due for unforeseen circumstances during the renovation. Whatever it is, it’s important you keep a lid on your expectations. Some things will turn out better than expected, but others may need looking at and re-doing. Keeping an open mind is essential, along with knowing that things might go wrong.
As mentioned, things definitely can and do go wrong, and arguably the biggest thing you need to be aware of when taking on a project house is having the budget to accommodate any issues that crop up. It’s rare than any project is completed on budget, let alone under it, so having a sizeable contingency is always recommended. Usually, projects end up costing more than anticipated because they have a tendency to overrun which means you need to pay builders and other laborer’s for a longer period of time, but it’s possible that measurements might be wrong or unforeseen issues will arise which will need addressing. Either way, having at least £10,000 more than what you expect to spend will provide you with some sort of buffer, but it’s essential you try your hardest to keep costs down to prevent you spilling over budget too much.