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Property: Making the renovation dream a reality

PUBLISHED: 16:41 13 August 2014 | UPDATED: 16:41 13 August 2014

Working in the right order will save time and money

Working in the right order will save time and money

Archant

Revamping a property can add value but it can also be a minefield or a money pit. Matthew Craker of Fine and Country Brookmans Park advises on what to consider before taking on a renovation project

You’ve found a property perfect for a renovation – a property that needs just the right amount of work, which won’t stretch your budget to breaking point and that will result in a beautiful home, whether it’s destined for you, or for resale. 
Property renovation is a rite of passage for anyone hoping to climb the housing ladder, but it is not without risk. If you work logically, the risk is minimal and you can avoid undoing completed work to tackle basic repairs and improvements. Preparing a plan of attack, or a critical path, should be your first step, and it will also help you to estimate both cost and timelines. If your budget is tight, it will also allow work to be prioritised without compromising the end result.

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The importance of surveying.

The first stage of any renovation project, big or small, is to assess the property. For a major project, it’s worth commissioning a chartered surveyor to undertake a building report. This will identify essential repairs and ongoing concerns before it’s too late, as well as information on the type of construction that can help determine how to proceed.

If you’re remodelling or extending, get a measured survey of the building. This will be an invaluable starting point for making design decisions and will be necessary for any planning applications or building-regulation approval. This is a definite likelihood if you are renovating an historic building or converting a commercial property for residential use.

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Work in the right order.

While you wait for approval, you can start work on any projects that don’t need planning consent. If you’re renovating a real wreck, your first tasks will be to ensure structural stability, then tackle any issues with damp or infestation before you move on – the last thing you want is to conceal a problem accidentally that will damage other work if it needs addressing at a later stage.

This is where the hard graft starts, from plastering to wiring and fixtures, and where your plan of action will be vital to avoid additional work. While it may be tempting to leap ahead and start painting a finished room while wiring work continues in another, in the long run it’s better to wait and ensure the property is clean and dust-free before you start.

If time is tight, work from the top down, with painters and decorators following the building work. Soft floor coverings are the last to go in, along with white goods.

Before you breathe a sigh of relief and prepare to move in, give the place one last thorough clean to get rid of any stray plaster, dust, and dirt. Remember too that there will be snags along the way. Small problems inevitably crop up. Keep a contingency fund to cover these costs, and a store of patience.

Finally, reap the benefits of your work and enjoy living in the space you have created, or selling-on for a profit.

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