What you need to remember if you plan on renovating your new home by yourself

Everybody is looking for methods to update a home where they don’t have to get professionals in. Moving home is one of those moments in your life that is exciting, yet undeniably expensive so it’s logical we’re all doing our best to cut back on unnecessary expenses and the debate of whether you should have professionals to upgrade your home or not looms large. Renovating your new home by yourself is achievable, but before you go in all guns blazing, there’s a lot you need to bear in mind… 

Get a Building Survey

Before you go through with a purchase, it’s essential to have a survey. But what happens if you’ve already signed on the dotted line? Is a survey worth your while? A survey picks up on some of the major issues that could occur with your property, and the biggest issue with a survey is that, depending on which one you opt for, it may not give you the insight you were hoping for. Building surveys come in three different tiers: 

  • The level 1 survey, also known as a “condition survey,” is typically done remotely. 
  • A homebuyer, or level 2 survey, generally assesses the walls but does not go deep into the structure.
  • A level 3, or full building survey, is a complete structural analysis. 

There are lots of people who are desperate to get on the property ladder who go for a very basic survey because they may find themselves being put off by the sheer volume of things that need to be done but still need to get onto the property ladder. It is a Catch-22 situation, but if you can afford a complete survey, it will help you to look at what needs doing in the long term.

Understanding Which Things Are Safe to Do

If you have uncovered a number of issues in the home, you may naturally worry about the overall expenses, but you also need to weigh up which things you can realistically do yourself. For example, when you are renovating a roof, there’s a lot of components that can make it extremely unsafe. If you are trying to save money in the long run but you still need to hire a professional, you could purchase the materials yourself and pay the contractor for the time, rather than paying for the time and the materials. 

Hiring a professional is usually the best bet because there’s a number of components that we lay people don’t necessarily understand. There are different styles of corrugated plastic and roofing materials like slate that are more robust, but the shingles and the age of the roof can make it difficult to figure out the state of your roof. 

If you’re trying to save money, the ideal solution is to work with a more sympathetic contractor (who may be few and far between), but if you can source the materials for a lower price and have the contractor do the work, this gives you the best of both worlds. When you’re able to get the work done to a higher standard by a professional, you’re not putting yourself in danger but you’re also doing it as cheaply as possible.

Determining What is a Priority and What is Not

If you need to get into the house as soon as possible, you need to potentially get a second opinion on how habitable it is as soon as you get the keys. Lots of people want to just get into the property and get to work, but it’s not as cut and dry for families. For those people who are renting, the best solution is to have an overlap between the two properties, so if you are renting and the contract is due to expire in a month’s time, if you can get the keys and move into the property now, you’ve got a few weeks to get to grips with the key renovation work. This will give you a greater understanding of what is a priority and what isn’t at this moment in time. 

Having that opportunity to go around the house, take measurements, and look at how you can do up your house quickly will be a very useful thing in the long run. Lots of people like to get into the property and say goodbye to their old life, which makes complete sense, but if you have that luxury of that overlap between properties, you can do up rooms with more attention to detail. For example, when it comes to plastering, allowing it that period of time to dry can take a lot of stress out of the equation. 

Renovating a house when you’ve got kids is not an easy thing. Lots of parents find that after the kids go to bed is when they can make those changes, which results in really late nights and early mornings. You need to determine what is a priority as soon as you move in. If you can make your house a home for the kids before they officially move in, this can make for a smoother transition.

Are There Potential Hazards?

Many people opt for new builds these days for a number of reasons, namely it takes a lot of stress out of the equation when it comes to renovation, but there are many people who opt for older properties. There are a number of benefits to older homes over new ones, especially when it comes to the structure. Old council houses from the 1930s up to the 1960s were built to last, and when you compare them to a lot of the new builds, where many customers have reported problems with the shape of the windows, poor quality walls, and many other issues, it makes logical sense to have an older build. 

The problem with an older build is that it has been constructed or renovated according to outdated practices, which means there could be potential hazards like asbestos. Asbestos is something that would be picked up by a survey, and if you have concerns about asbestos in your property, the golden rule is that you do not disturb it. If you think that you should handle asbestos, think again! An asbestos specialist is the best port of call here to make sure that you are dealing with these hazards as it can be found in ceiling tiles, Artex, in the roof, and could be all around the property. That’s not to say it should scare you but you need to look for the signs and this detailed guide can give you all the insight you need. 

While it has been banned since 1999, older properties can house asbestos, but that’s not to say you are living in a death trap! You can have professionals remove asbestos safely and securely and can renovate an older property into something that feels and looks like your dream home.

Being Organised

As simple as it sounds, lots of people make the big mistake of not organising a schedule of work. The renovation process is, ultimately, a process. If you are having tradespeople come in and install new utilities, it’s your duty to have a handle on the bigger picture. If you bring in a number of tradespeople, there could be some overlap and many jobs that could be carried out at the same time may end up being undertaken separately. 

A schedule of work should help you understand what needs to be done and in what order. Breaking a project down into segments, whether it’s adding a bath or laying the kitchen floor should all have a schedule. When you have a schedule, you can break it down into more finite components. You might not know how long something will take initially but there are some amazing resources to help you lay flooring by yourself along with appropriate timescales. A schedule also means that you could spread the cost out; if you are trying to save a lot of money to upgrade your entire house, only to find it’s not enough, you will have to work one room at a time, which is why a schedule can provide peace of mind and ensures the project is moving in the right direction.

Take a Breath

Finally, if you are undertaking the entire renovation project by yourself, you have to bear in mind that it can feel overwhelming. The reason we take on renovation projects is to save money, but a lot of people find that something like plastering a wall is more complicated than it appears. We can have the best intentions when it comes to renovation practices, but if we find that we just don’t have the knack and end up getting overwhelmed because we feel we’re on a time limit, we have to take a step back. It can feel like a constant dagger hanging over your head, especially when you need to work from home and can see there is a lot that needs doing. It’s hardly surprising that people feel overwhelmed, but stop, take a breath, and know that, as long as everything is progressing slowly but surely, you are doing everything you can.

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