So you’re thinking of buying that former chip shop that lost its license in the hopes of flipping it as a luxurious pied-à-terre, or you’ve inherited a white-carpeted retirement lodge that smells of old people and you can see giant pound signs when you think of the new uni campus opening down the road.
Either way, you’ve been madly scribbling amateur grand designs on the back of cocktail napkins for too long and now it’s time to take the leap into transforming your property. Here’s a quick checklist for making the most out of a renovation.
What should I look out for?
☑ Money pit woes
☑ Proper survey
☑ Get estimates from tradesmen in order to assess things like roof, state of wood, electrics, plumbing
☑ They won’t charge much as they are sniffing for biz, and you get their expertise for nearly nothing
How much work involved
☑ Difference between complete wreck of a place and new fittings on a room-by-room basis
☑ Or engage architects/engineers for more thorough re-imagining
☑ Set a budget, and have a contingency (about 15% of total cost)
☑ Get all quotes well in advance, from every supplier
☑ JCT independent body can produce standard contract between homeowners and builders; robust legal doc without jargon
☑ Price, payment terms, working hours, insurance, guarantees, dispute resolution, etc.
☑ Good builders will want such a document in place
☑ Lots of time spent with people onsite, you may live in a building site, choose someone you can be around a lot and trust
☑ Project manager will liaise with builder and ensure work carried out to spec.
☑ Be realistic about timescales and limit dependencies between them