The Ultimate Home Renovation Checklist
By Anton Constantinou
Renovations are never straightforward. The transition from evaluating a property to adding that final lick of paint takes time, research and a lot of toing and froing. With so much to consider, it’s important that you A.) Know your budget and B.) Consult all the relevant experts. The last thing you want is to run out of money before the project’s finished or end up in a DIY disaster.
Having a step-by-step guide to follow is the best approach, and allows you to take stock of all the different elements involved.
Our ultimate renovation checklist breaks down 10 stages in the cycle.
Step 1 – Sourcing and assessing a project
Before committing to a renovation, you need to carry out a thorough evaluation. This includes assessing the structural condition of a property, checking for signs of damp, and confirming whether any doors or windows need to be replaced. A building report will flag up any remedial work that needs to be done, so make sure you commission one.
Step 2 – Finalising the deal
Now comes the buying part of the process. Renovation projects are often sold at auction, or as sealed bids. A sealed bid is a process by which potential buyers must submit an offer for a property in order to secure it. If successful, you will need to move quickly to complete the deal. Next, you need to carry out a mortgage valuation, using either a high street lender or a specialist lender, followed by a survey of the property.
Step 3 – The design phase
With initial planning out the way, it’s time to get creative. The design stage is where things generally get exciting. Begin by creating a schedule of everything involved, including the designers you plan to use. You’ll be presented with a number of sketches illustrating the direction of the project, and potentially have to obtain planning permission for certain parts of it.
Step 4 – Repairs & restoration
Renovation projects often involve lots of fixing and mending. In some cases, you may choose to restore some original features, or completely replace a part of the house altogether like the roof. Everything from the windows to the doors may be subject to an update, with costs varying depending on the scale of the work.
Step 5 – Structural changes
Structural changes come in various shapes and forms, be it internal modelling or loft conversions. Some require the knocking down of walls, others the installation of new piping. Different changes carry different costs and skills. Your renovation may well be subject to building regulations approval or require the assistance of a structural engineer, to work in conjunction with an architect.
Step 6 – External alternations
As well as internal changes, you may decide to transform some of the outer portions of the house. There are lots of different ways of achieving this, from large-scale makeovers to small-scale adjustments. External changes include new cladding, weatherboarding, and the building of a driveway. Make sure you also take into account landscaping, and the costs attached to it.
Step 7 – Extensions
If it’s extra space you’re after, then an extension may be the only answer. Extension costs are dictated by a mixture of things like ground conditions, site access and location, and associated remedial work can often be difficult to gauge in advance. Certain extensions may require planning permission, especially if your property is listed. All extensions are also subject to building regulations.
Step 8 – Upgrading electrics and heating
The older the house, the more likely it is that you’re going to need new heating and electrical systems. That could mean a complete rewire or the installation of new radiators. Trained professionals will need to be hired for certain upgrades, but there’s a lot of small maintenance work you can do on your own like installing light switches and fittings.
Step 9 – Ecovation
Ecovation refers to making your home more energy efficient. Old homes are notoriously draughty and prone to leaks, but, thankfully there are ways to overcome these problems. Typical ecovation procedures range from draught-proofing to insulating lofts and walls. Some choose to take advantage of a carbon-saving incentive set by the government.
Step 10 – The final hurdle
With all structural work out the way, it’s time to add the finishing touches to your property. Get ready for lots of painting, sanding and plastering. Many buy new flooring, or remove old paint from external woodwork using a heat-gun or sander. Whatever you decide, make sure you have a full list in place of tools and materials needed.
Why stay in a serviced apartment whilst renovating?
Renovations typically take between four to eight months. During that time, you’ll need somewhere else to stay. Many choose to rent; others live with friends. Some even go on holiday until the dust has settled. Hotels are an obvious accommodation choice, but, what if there was a better alternative? Like, say, serviced apartments?
Serviced apartments are a great in-between option as offer all the luxuries of a hotel, plus separate areas for cooking, sleeping and unwinding.
In a serviced apartment you receive a weekly maid service, rather than a daily clean. This means fewer distractions throughout your stay, and more quiet time to get on with things as normal, much as you would do at home.
A typical serviced apartment is roughly twice the size of a hotel room and includes a kitchen, living room, bedroom and bathroom. This gives you the flexibility to cook in one space and kick back in the other. With all that extra space, many choose to entertain in their apartment, or conduct meetings on-site.
The cost of staying in a serviced apartment reduces, long-term. After 28 nights, the VAT contribution on your stay drops from 20% to just 4%. There are also fewer add-on charges. Having a kitchen allows you to make some much needed savings on food, and, in most cases, Wi-Fi is usually provided as well, free of charge.