Building and renovations can be one of the most exciting aspects of property ownership. Renovations give you the opportunity to give a home character beyond its original specification. Or perhaps you intend to restore a place to its former glory. If you are expecting tenants, renovations are your opportunity to address any problems in the home itself. You can ensure the place is comfortable and reliable before any moves in. If the renovations are to your own property, they are an opportunity to finally make your mark on a home. It may have taken many months or years of earnings to acquire. However, there are a few key questions that it is essential to ask yourself before beginning work.
1) Can I Afford It?
A realistic, worst case scenario style budget is always advisable. Renovation can be intended to create new features and correct problems. But there is also a real possibility that it will expose problems you didnt know your property had. If a damp condition was discovered or issues with the foundations, could your budget stretch to it if work was urgent? With the most detailing planning it the world, unforeseen circumstances can still arise. Unless we have the budget to address then we must consider carefully whether it is wise to start. Investigating all your financial options and means of support is key. Have you consider loans or sponsorship, for example? You may be eligible for financial help if your building and circumstances qualify for it. Which equity release plan is right for you? Perhaps you can untie some funds located in a property you already own. However you achieve it, a good level of financial leeway is essential before beginning work.
2) Do I Have Permission?
We may pride ourselves on reading the small print or we may have a tendency to overlook the finer details. But we cannot afford to be unclear on permissions when renovating or altering a property. Even having bought the house or apartment outright may still carry additional constraints. Land boundaries can extend in height as well as length and width, for example. The interior may be fair game but do we also have permission to alter the exterior? Depending on our community, there can be restrictions as to how different a building is allowed to look from its neighbours! To avoid bitter disappointment, it is important to ensure we have the legal permission to proceed with our plans. (Preferably obtain this in both verbal and written forms.)
3) Have I Done My Research?
When were passionate about property, we may feel that most of our free time is engaged in research in some way! However experienced we are though, it is always important to check and doublecheck our information. A good rule of thumb is that details and comparative data should not be older than three months. Even if it means setting our project back by a few weeks or months, we should be confident that our information and research are watertight. Having missed a detail in a contract, or stumbling upon a far better deal because we rushed into a contract, for example, can be devastating. Ensure that you have made full use of all your sources. Not only have you checked examples online and in magazines, for example. You have also asked family, friends, and colleagues for their opinions and experiences. Instead of simply asking for a quote online, for example, make the effort to go in and discuss the finer details. Shop around and tell competitors honestly who is offering the better deal. By keeping your options open and ensuring that others compete for your business, you are more likely to find great deals.
4) Is it Worth It?
This may have been the very first question you asked yourself before considering renovations! It can be exciting to undertake a new project and begin researching. It can also be tempting if we feel that renovations and tweaks will significantly increase our profit in renting or selling. However, we need to be aware of the realities of beginning and ruthless about whether it is worth it. Even a job that seems simple on face value can reveal (or create) further complications. Do we have the time and budget to face this? Properties we own may also not be in the area that we actually want to settle. Consider whether it is worth investing in them long term. If we dont see ourselves in the area in the future, personally or professionally, then it may not be worth embarking. If a house is of a liveable, attractive standard then it may be better to reserve full scale renovations to an area we are likely to be long term.