Property renovation of run-down houses can represent real bargain potential and can prove a good business opportunity plus an excellent way to get more house for your money. But renovation is not without risk and the first-time renovator can easily come unstuck, especially if they take on a property without correctly assessing the structural condition. Often buyers will take on jobs they are not qualified to do, this often leads to having to do some or all of the work twice, then having to get a professional in, sending costs spiralling out of control. Renovation works have to be carried out in a logical order to avoid having to undo completed work to tackle basic repairs and improvements.
The first stage of any renovation should be to get a detailed assessment of the current property condition. You should always commission a chartered surveyor to provide a building report to identify any essential repairs needed and find out if any other aspects that arouse suspicion. This building report will identify the type of construction used which will affect the type and extent of any alterations.
Grants today are few and far between, but they are available in some instances for restoration and home improvement work. There are also VAT concessions, including zero rating on approved alterations to listed buildings, zero rating on conversions on dwellings empty for ten years or more and a reduced rate on some measures that improve energy efficiency. However it is essential to apply for grants before starting any work.
You should identify which aspects of your proposed renovation require statutory consent at the earliest opportunity. Sometimes applications can take several months so you need to know as soon as possible if any of the work requires planning permission, building regulations approval or listed building consent. You can of course start work immediately with projects that do not require planning consent or fall within the allowances made under Permitted Development Rights. If you do require statutory consents then you must build the time required for the local authority to determine the application into your schedule. If you are renovating A building near the boundary you should also check whether or not your work is affected by the Party Wall Act.
The first task with any whole internal refurbishment is to stabilise the structure, this could mean underpinning, steel ties to stop lateral spread in walls or a roof, or the insertion or steel props, beams or scaffold to prevent any further collapse. Once the structure is stable, any demolition work that is required can be started to strip the building back to the part that is to be kept. Any building more than 80 years old is likely to have solid walls and may suffer from damp problems, although there is no building regulations requirement to upgrade damp-proofing in existing houses being renovated, lenders will often insist that damp treatment is to be upgraded under the regulations.
Damp problems can usually be resolved by repairing the building's fabric and making it waterproof, including repointing brickwork, repairing lime render or missing hung tiles, fixing the roof, and repairing lead flashings, guttering and doors and windows. You can now begin with the actual renovation project as the existing building is stable and there is no danger of concealing problems or having to undo work to get to the original building.
For an average 3 bedroom semi detached house, a complete basic refurbishment (including a new bathroom & kitchen, interior & exterior painting, interior woodwork replaced/painted, new carpets laid and new light switches/electrical sockets) the costs will start from around £20,000, however this will not include the new bathroom and kitchen appliances and furniture, just the labour costs. Of course before you plan any refurbishment, you need to have a detailed breakdown of costs rather than a rough average!
Unless you are a builder or experienced property specialist, you need to get a professional in to provide a written quote. You can do this easily by clicking the "post your job" button on this page then local property renovation specialists will get in touch to arrange a survey to provide a complete breakdown of costs while providing advice on refurbishment options within your budget.