Renovating a Home Frequently Asked Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions from Property Renovators
Below are the top questions we've been asked about renovating a home - so we thought it would be helpful to publish them! Don't forget you can email us on enquiries@designsonproperty.co.uk or call us on 0845 838 1763 if you need support during your property renovation or development.

Do I need an architect?
Whether you need an architect to help renovate your home depends on the project that you are planning; the potential difficulties and often the period style of the property.

If you are planning a straightforward extension on a standard 1930s home, then you will need plans drawn up for the builder, but aren't likely to need full architectural services. Some designs can just be bought 'off the shelf'.

If you are planning a large project such as a two storey extension on a period property in a conservation area, then an architect may well be required to ensure that the plans and materials used are right for the property.

Need to find out more? Try our Renovating a Home store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as off architectural services!

How do I get planning permission?
You need to apply to your local authority for planning permission. Visit their on-line website or give them a call and ask for any leaflets or booklets they have that explain the process. Once you have your plans ready you need to fill in their forms and send off the correct amount of money to apply.

Need to find out more? Try our Renovating a Home store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as off planning consultancy!

Why do I need planning permission?
Planning permission is required for certain home improvements to make sure that one neighbour doesn't change their home at the expense of another. Some areas are classed as conservation areas, so that when all properties are currently built in beautiful Cotswold stone, someone doesn't build an orange brick eyesore next door!

Need to find out more? Try our Renovating a Home store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as off planning consultancy!

What are building regulations/controls?
Building regulations and controls are increasingly restrictive on home improvements. They are imposed by the local authority mainly to ensure that home improvements are carried out to agreed health and safety standards and to protect both the owner and the property. Building regulations are more complicated for areas where people will actually be living as the local authority needs to ensure that people can escape safely in the event of a fire, and not live in a property that would have no insulation or proper drainage.

Need to find out more? Try our Renovating a Home store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as builders!

How do I work out the renovation/build costs?
You can only really budget for different renovation and build costs as they can change throughout your renovation project. Ideally ensure you gain three quotes from seperate companies, builders and/or tradesmen. Make sure that the quotes separate out the cost of materials and labour and detail the amount of time the project will take as well as a list of what will be done. Ideally gain a fixed quote for work carried out and never give the company, builder, tradesman more than 5-10% of the money upfront. Ideally pay in arrears.

Need to find out more? Try our Renovating a Home store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as builders and tradesmen!

Do I need a project manager?
Project managers for property renovations can be helpful at securing cost effective quotes, managing the renovation project (staff, materials etc) and that any problems are sorted quickly and practically. However you will typically need to pay them a daily/weekly rate, so you need to be sure they will add the equivalent value.  

Need to find out more? Try our Renovating a Home store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as off project manager's costs!

Where can I find renovation projects?
Renovation projects can be found by searching specialist websites on-line, your local newspaper and driving around your local area to find projects that might be worth taking on. Visit our Finding a plot or renovation project page for more information.

Need to find out more? Try our Renovating a Home store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as off subscriptions to specialist renovation services!

Can I do the work myself?
This depends on your experience and on what you are legally allowed/not allowed to do. If you are good at measuring, have an eye for a straight line and are good at reading instructions, then many renovation projects will be within your skill level. However, jobs such as gas, electrics and glazing legally require qualified tradesmen, so you should bring in the professionals. Some other jobs such as plastering take time to perfect, so may be better done by a professional too. If you are really keen there are courses that you can go at your local college and privately run training centres.

Need to find out more? Try our Renovating a Home store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as off kitchens and bathrooms!

How long does it take to renovate a property?
The longest job in renovation is typically organising the money, finding and screening trades people or home maintenance companies and getting/comparing quotes. Small DIY jobs such as kitchens/bathrooms tend to be sorted in a week or so, larger projects such as extensions four to twelve weeks and total property renovations around six months from start to finish.

Need to find out more? Try our Renovating a Home store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as off property renovation tools!

What  should I look for when finding a project/property?
Try to look for a renovation project that you have time to do and know people that you can work with. It's no good going for a major renovation if you have full time jobs, young children to look after and not much spare cash - unless you are prepared to do it bit by bit and live in a muddle and mess potentially for years. Make sure you thoroughly research what needs to be done, get quotes checked independently and make sure you keep in touch with tradesmen on a daily basis.

Need to find out more? Try our Renovating a Home store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as surveyors fees!

What types of property are best for renovating?
There is no real 'best property' to renovate. Properties pre-1930s were built without any regulations and tend to be more expensive and take longer to renovate. 1930s, 1950s and properties built since 1980 tend to be easier to renovate as construction is similar from property to property. 1970s properties can be trickier to renovate as they weren't always built with good materials and many renovation jobs may require work being undone before renovation can be started.

Need to find out more? Try our Renovating a Home store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as off listed building materials!

Do I need to get a survey carried out?
Whatever the condition of a property that needs renovation - however difficult or easy it might seem - it is essential to have a structural survey done which gives cost estimates of the work required. You would never buy a car without an MOT, so don't buy a property without a survey.

Need to find out more? Try our Renovating a Home store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as off survey fees!

How do I finance my renovation project?
There are various ways of financing renovation projects. You can save up the cash; take out a unsecured loan; a loan secured against your property; extend your mortgage; take out specialist renovation mortgages. It's essential to have independent financial advice to work out the best way to finance your project.

Need to find out more? Try our Renovating a Home store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as off financing fees!

Do I need to sell my property before I buy a renovation project?
If the renovation project is a major one and you can't live in it while you renovate, then either sell your property and rent for a while, or you can take out specialist renovation finance that allows you to stay in your own home until enough work is done for you to sell and move into your renovation home.

Need to find out more? Try our Renovating a Home store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as off estate agent fees!

Are there any Government grants/finance packages available to assist in the energy efficiency improvements within my renovation project?
There are some grants available depending on what you are looking to do. Sometimes you can get insulation at a discount - and it can be cheaper to go through a company to do this rather buy the insulation and do it yourself. There are other grants depending on your age and type of tenant.

Need to find out more? Try our Renovating a Home store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as off energy efficient heating!

Are there any pitfalls to buying at auction?
Buying at auction is fine as long as you have viewed the property several times, had a survey done, ensured you can secure a mortgage against it, checked the legal pack, you have a deposit ready for auction day and you are very clear on your maximum price.

Need to find out more? Try our Renovating a Home store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as off auction subscription fees!

I have purchased a property without viewing it and discover I cannot make the alterations I wanted.  What are my options?
You can either put it back on the market via auction or an estate agent, do it up to a reasonable standard so that you can sell it, or see if you can turn it into a buy to let until you can sell it at break even or for a profit.

Need to find out more? Try our Renovating a Home store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as off estate agent or letting fees!

Should I view a property before purchasing it even if I'm going to completely renovate it?
Absolutely! You should only buy a renovation project once you have seen it several times, had a full survey done, checked the legals, done detailed costings for the renovation required and then made sure you have the finance in place.

Need to find out more? Try our Renovating a Home store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as off survey fees!

Do I need to insure my project?
It's a good idea to take out specialist insurance that covers materials and expensive equipment on-site, problems with tradesmen, damage caused by weather etc.

Need to find out more? Try our Renovating a Home store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as off specialist renovation insurance!

Do I have to pay tax if I sell my renovation project for a profit?
You can sell your main home free of tax as long as you live in the property for a reasonable amount of time. If you buy, renovate and sell property on a regular basis then the tax man may well conclude you are running a business. Always seek specialist property tax advice if you are hoping to buy and sell property for profit.

Need to find out more? Try our Renovating a Home store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as off property tax services!

Do I need planning permission for change of use?
Yes you do. If a property (or land) is for commercial use then you would need to change it for residential use. Your local planning office and legal company should be able to help with any queries on change of use.

Need to find out more? Try our Renovating a Home store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as off planning consultancy fees!

What is a structural engineer?
This is a specialist engineer that looks into major structural issues such as renovation that might affect foundations of terraced properties or problems with property subsidence.

Need to find out more? Try our Renovating a Home store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as off structural survey fees!

Are there any restrictions for renovating a Listed Property?
Listed properties have lots of restrictions for renovations, such as materials used and what you must retain. When looking at renovating a Listed property you must first discuss your plans with with your local planning office even before you apply for planning.

Need to find out more? Try our Renovating a Home store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as off Listed Building renovation fees!

 

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