Renovating an old property

Matthew Charlton's avatar

Matthew Charlton | 4/03/20

Older properties have character, often boasting architectural features not found in newer buildings. When it’s time to renovate, though, older properties can present challenges.  Here are our top tips on how to successfully navigate a renovation project.

Pick the right property:

Whether you’re purchasing the property to be your future home, workplace or investment property do your homework.  Old properties and the idea of what they could become are all too easy to fall in love with; however, in some cases, they can become a money pit and there may be reasons why the property has ended up in need of renovation.   Foremost, ensure the property fits your criteria, location, plot size, etc.

Doing your homework can drastically help in the long run.  Commissioning a preliminary survey could flag up hidden dangers, defects and structural issues, work without consent as well as location risks such as rights of way and flooding.  If the building is of special architectural and historic interest it could be listed, which could mean there will be limitations when renovating especially if you’re looking to make structural alterations and or add an extension.  Additionally, find out as much as you can about the property and the local area. Shedding some light on its previous uses can assist you greatly later on and might provide some interesting hidden elements to the property that you can capitalise on when renovating.

Get a survey:

A building survey, undertaken by a Chartered Building Surveyor will provide information on the type of construction and materials used, this can be invaluable, it could be that the property will require certain materials to be utilised for the renovation of which you may have to instruct specialists companies to assist with which you may not otherwise have been aware of.  In addition to providing information on the construction, a survey can flag defects, within the report the surveyor will often provide remedial recommendations and cost indications to rectify the findings.

Prepare for the unexpected:

In some cases, previous “improvements” could be to the detriment of the property.  These elements might only become clear once the renovation project is underway; therefore, it is important to have a capable contractor to manage your renovation project who has the experience to manage any unforeseen issues.

Budget and contingency:

Be savvy when setting your budget.  Nice to have items such as designer taps or door furniture can always be installed at a later date.  With all building projects, it is important to have a contingency sum; however, this sum is even more important when working with an older property due to the potential unknowns.  It is recommended that the contingency is 10 to 20% of the overall build budget.

Utilise professionals:

The work undertaken is only going to be as good as the people undertaking it.  Research the tradespeople you employ to undertake work, ensure they understand the job and what is involved, have undertaken similar work before (ask to visit previous jobs) and lastly gain a detailed quotation.

An experienced building company will be able to provide you with advice and support throughout your house renovation project.  At Upright Construction we often find that a house renovation is also coupled with an extension project, click here to view one of our recent renovation and extension projects.  To make your dream home a reality contact us on 01737 245040.

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