The decision to renovate or extend is not an easy one. It’s exciting thinking of the end result, creating that dream home you’ve always wanted, but soon after, the dread can kick in. Where do I start? Who do I trust? Will this really be worth it like everyone (and I mean, EVERYONE) tells you?
I’ve been there, I’ve lived it…more than once and I have asked myself all of those questions. The truth is, once the dust settles (literally…and allow quite some time for this) it is all worth it but, getting there can sometimes feel like a climbing a mountain and never being able to quite reach the summit! However, you will, and you will soon forget the dust, chaos and the endless making cups of tea for the trades people you hire.
Renovation reality then…what do you need to consider? Some of these may appear obvious but trust me, many people will fall in to a trap due to being so excited about the outcome and the gorgeous accessories they can buy, rather than the detail that is needed to get to that stage!
Let me take you through the process……before, during and after:
Think about what you want to achieve and why as this will really help to shape the decisions that you make. If you can only afford to do this once, you want to make sure that you do it right….even if it costs a little more than you anticipated.
Get an architect on board who knows your area and preferably someone who has been recommended to you. A good architect is worth their weight in gold, as they will not only draw up plans of your vision, they will also think outside of the box and come up with ideas that you may not have even considered. They will know what is and isn’t acceptable to your local authority and will hopefully have established positive relationships within your local planning and building control department.
At this stage, you will also want to get a reputable builder on board. Again, look for recommendations, ask to see previous work and make contact with their previous clients. There is nothing better than seeing their work with your own eyes…look at the finish, the way they work and conduct themselves – these people are going to be working in your house for weeks on end so you want to feel comfortable having them around; by the end of my recent renovation, the builders were making me cups of tea!!
Be prepared! If you’re able to move out whilst the work goes on, then great. However, if unlike me and thousands of others, that isn’t an option, then be prepared for the mess, the dust, the noise and the general upheaval. However, also look on the bright side; there’s little point in cleaning the house until they’ve finished because as soon as you’ve wiped the dust away, another layer frustratingly appears in its place!!!
Finally, the all-important budget. You need to be realistic, both in terms of what you can afford and what things cost. And always add on a contingency as things rarely go to plan!
Our first extension got off to a bad start when the building inspector came along for his first inspection and announced that we would need piling in the foundations – £2k gone in an instant! Get yourself a spreadsheet together (here’s where having an accountant for a husband really helps!). Get quotes…3 if possible and start adding up the costs as they soon mount up. Spend money where it’s important to you and so you don’t have any regrets when the job is done.
Most of all, enjoy it! If you’re lucky enough to be in this position, you are the driving force behind your project and the beautiful home that you dream of creating is within reach….although that’s easy to say now I’ve finished!
I hope these tips help if you’re currently planning your own renovation project and keep posted for the next Renovation Reality blog post, focusing on ‘during’ the renovation.
Have a great week, and please feel free to get in touch with any questions or opinions.