Developing a new home doesn’t necessarily mean building a new home – in fact, some of the most beautiful homes are conversions, combining traditional structures with modern design. However, this doesn’t mean there won’t be hurdles, and every renovation decision you make must compliment the original build.
Choosing the development
From loft conversions, to house boats, when deciding on which property to buy, consider its purpose – will it be for commercial use, is it a home for you and your family or is it an investment to lease or sell. The suitability of the property will ultimately be dependent on this determination and at the end of the day, the structural changes should be minimal, so if you find yourself wanting to tear down and rebuild parts of the house – abandon ship.
Logically, older structures will potentially have more defects, so make sure a building surveyor assesses the property before you make any decisions. This is where you’ll start to get an indication of what the project may cost you.
According to Homebuilding & Renovating Magazine “Renovation work always costs more than you expect. This is because some problems are not revealed until you start work and uncover them” and that “professional renovators always leave a contingency of between 10-20% to cover these costs and fully expect to have to spend it”. Aside from the purchase itself and the renovation costs, Homebuilding & Renovating note that people often forget other costs, such as, “professional fees for surveyors, architects and engineers, fees for planning and Building Control, fees for arranging funding and VAT”.
It is also far more important to spend your money on stabilising and repairing the building, allocating a smaller budget to decorative jobs.
Hiring the right contractors for the job is also at times costly, however extremely important.
When hiring contractors, there are a few things you must consider:
And remember – builders who are available next week are not the obvious choice. For large renovation/conversion jobs, you want someone who has worked on a similar project before, at a reasonable yet realistic price.
Ultimately, the most important thing you can do is plan ahead, as last minute, cheap decisions will most likely end up being your most costly mistakes.