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A Guide To Remodeling Your House

By Lawrence Macmillan November 25, 2021

A Guide To Remodeling Your House

Introduction

Man Repainting

Renovating your home is a bit of a no-brainer for people who like to take on a challenge. It can really pay off when you tackle the job well. With any renovation project, it comes with a lot of planning, hard work, and thought, but it really can pay off as it breathes new life into an old home.

It can also put your mark on the property or even add to its value. However, you need to really think about doing this before you decide to take it on. It is not an easy thing to do, it can be very stressful and will take time. You should think about how much it will take for you to complete this remodel, do you have the funds to do it? How extensive do you need to be?

This is why we have put this guide together for you, so you can get onto planning your remodeling and know what will be involved in this project for you.

 

 

Why Remodel Your Home?

Why Remodel your home

There are plenty of reasons to remodel your home, aside from the obvious reason if your home is a bit tacky or has sustained any damage. Remodeling your home can be a project you take on for plenty of reasons, and it is totally subjective to you and what you want.

Home renovations are costly, time-consuming, and very messy. However, plenty of people choose to renovate their homes for many reasons. There are as many reasons for you to fix up your home as there are projects to choose from. Let’s see some of these reasons.

 

Potential Return on Investment

One of the reasons that you may wish to renovate your home is to get a potential return on investment. Some people will buy a home to renovate and resell. This can be very lucrative in the long run, however, it does mean taking on a big project.

However, if you are renovating your own home, this is an ideal option if you plan on selling in the next few years, you might want to renovate some or all of it, thinking about getting the most that you can when you put it back up on the market. Some projects that have the best return are to open up the main living space, replace the front door, and to update the kitchen and bathroom space.

 

Opportunity to Improve Your Home

Another reason would simply be to improve your home. We all want to feel happy and at home wherever we live, and sometimes after some time of living in our house it just needs a bit of a spruce up to make it more comfortable for us.

Although there are plenty of other reasons to improve your home, your own comfort and enjoyment are important factors that you shouldn't overlook. If you renovate solely on how it will improve the future price, you might end up living somewhere that doesn’t feel like home.

Your comfort and enjoyment of your own home are the most significant factors that you should consider, rather than what improvements will make the most money when you eventually do decide to sell the property. Make your house feel like a home.

 

Opportunity to Tackle a Difficult Challenge

Finally, sometimes both of the above factors tie in, but what really gets us is the opportunity to really take on a challenge. Life is all about challenges, and when we have nothing challenging us for some time, a home remodeling project can fill that void in our lives and really challenge us above and beyond.

Remodeling your home is a significant challenge, and one that not many are willing to tackle unless they absolutely have to, so if you fancy taking on a big challenge that will test your abilities, your patience, and will push you to your limits, this is the perfect task for you.

Of course, taking on a challenge shouldn’t be the sole purpose of home remodeling, however, it definitely can tie in to it, and if you feel up to the challenge, go for it!

 

Assessing the Renovation Potential of the Property

Assessing the Renovation Potential of the Property

Some people will purchase a property with the plan to remodel it and resell for profit. Of course, this can be a smart investment, but it does come with its risks, so if you do this you need to assess the potential for renovation in the property.

Even when you are remodeling your own home, if you are remodeling to resell, then you should still consider these factors as well. There is much that you should consider before getting stuck in

 

Assessing the Location

Think about the location of the property. This doesn’t mean the straight forward location. We are referring to the area, if the property is coastal, urban, suburban, or rural. Think about what is around locally and the potential the property has to draw in potential buyers.

When you think about the location, also consider what people who may be interested in the location may seek in a home, especially if you are remodeling to resell. For example, if you are remodeling a property in an urban area, you might want to think about modernization of the property, high-tech gadgets and a fresh, white, clean look. If you are remodeling a property in a rural area with farmland, think about whom the potential buyers may be, and the things they may need. Perhaps a more rural aesthetic with some rustic feel to it.

You also want to look at other properties in the area as well.

 

Find the Ceiling Value for the Street

On that topic, look at the ceiling prices for houses in the area, since you are already looking at the location, check out what similar homes in the local area typically sell for, and if your renovations will really be able to add any significant value to the home. If the area has a bad rap and has typically low retail value, then perhaps remodeling the home won’t add much of a value to the property.

However, if the street has a good rap and is already a highly sought after location, then your remodeling may add a significant value to the home. Consider this as it will help to dictate how much you want to remodel the building, based upon the financial impact.

 

Keep an Eye out for Things that can Cost a Lot to Fix

As you look through the house, and what needs to be remodeled to achieve what you desire, think about things that may be pricey to fix. Is the structural integrity of the home an issue? Are there any issues in its inner workings? Issues that may cost a lot to fix may not provide the turn around in purchase value that you are hoping for.

In fact, it is entirely possible that an extremely pricey fix could end up costing you money rather than making you money.

Of course, this is not such an issue if you are remodeling for yourself, and your own comfort. But it is still worth considering this aspect of the remodeling process of the home. So, do a walkthrough and keep a keen eye out for anything that may be pricey to fix up.

 

Is there a Scope to Extend?

It is always worth looking into the potential for extension. Extensions are always a good shout and can improve the resale value of a property. Even if it is a rear or side extension, or just the conversion of an attic, basement or garage.

Obviously you do not want to take a significant amount of space away from the garden area of the property as this is a large part of the property that will put a lot of value into the property. However, if there is much space available, consider adding an extension. If not, is the basement, attic, or garage convertible?

 

Will it need Extensive Remodeling?

Similar to our statement of checking things that may take a lot to fix, you want to look into how much remodeling the building will require. Does the building need renovating and remodeling on a surface level, or does it need to be more structurally remodeled?

Whether extensive remodeling is an issue for you is a personal decision, however, for some it is not worth the effort and costs. This takes us back to one of our original statements about how the area may affect the pricing of the home, and how it can thus make any significant remodeling efforts worth it, or just another expense. This is something that is worth looking into if you are considering remodeling a home to resell.

However, if you are looking to remodel for your own comfort and enjoyment, consider if you can afford this, and if not it is worth looking at saving up to get it done, or even taking out a loan, especially if the extensive remodeling is important to the functionality of the home.

 

How Modern are the Heating and Electrics?

The function of the heating, cooling and electrics of the home are very significant. Get an electrician to have a look at them if you can, find out the age of them and if it is worth updating them to a more modern version. The more modern they are, the better they will work, and more compatible with your remodeling efforts.

Similarly, if you are remodeling anyway, why not replace anything that is a bit aged for the home, and update all you can to get it all fresh in one go. Updating these parts of your home is worth it, as there is less of a chance of them needing any work done on them any time soon. Why not check the plumbing while you’re at it too! 

 

Remodeling Step-by-step

Remodelling step-by-step

So, you want to remodel your home? Great! Now it  is time you get started on that. How do you do that? Well, there are some steps you should take. You cannot just jump in head first. Remodeling takes planning, and it takes time. So, let us talk you through the process now.

 

Research Period Features

Get to know the home and the era in which it was built. Many period homes have been stripped of the things that age them and make them vintage and appealing. Uncover those beams, get original windows put in, chuck out that electric fireplace and install an original.

We hate seeing homes lose all their character to modern redos of old homes. Think about the era in which it was built, the people who would have lived there, and try to repair the existing features from its original build. You can undo any mistakes that could be an issue in the condition of the building, such as breathable stone walls covered by impermeable waterproof coatings that cause dampness, and so on.

Remember that with old homes, it can damage homes' heritage to install things that would not have been there in the first place, so make sure that you do some research first.

 

Work out the Costs of the Remodeling

It might sound a bit obvious, but you should always thoroughly research the house remodeling costs before you do anything. Check that the project is financially viable, and once you have possession of the house (if you do not already) then have a good look around and assess how much work needs to be done, so you can create a detailed financial schedule.

Some mortgage lenders will help you to fund your renovation project and offer the money in staged payments, there are plenty of other loans you can look at too. But make sure the project is financially viable. Perhaps consider adding a 10% contingency to what you expect, just in case you come across any issues.

 

Check Renovation Restrictions

You might be ready to start now, but don’t. Check there are no renovation and remodeling restrictions before you begin. It should have been made apparent to you at the point of sale, however, if you are not certain, do check, as it is a criminal offense to carry out unauthorized work on a listed home.

Many old buildings are listed, however, it also depends on your location, so it is worth always checking to make sure there are no restrictions.

If there are no restrictions then you can start thinking about what you will do and how you will go about it, but it is always worth double-checking that you are not going to be breaking any laws and that there are no restrictions in place for any work that you may do on the property.

 

Apply for Planning Consents

Got your plans? Awesome, now you must identify which aspects of your proposed plan require consent.

Ensure that you understand the different consents that you will need to address. Figure out if you require any permissions to use the building as a dwelling, for any material change of use, if it is in a conservation area, and so on. Check what permissions you require, why, and what for.

If you want to start work as soon as possible, check with your local authorities and take on projects that are classed as permitted developments. If you do need statutory consents for all or part of your suggested remodeling, factor in how much time is needed to determine the application. These decisions can take a few weeks, and so make sure you plan for this time. It could be a good opportunity to start thinking about aspects that may not need permissions while this is in progress

 

Complete a Survey

Be sure to conduct a survey, especially for creatures like bats. If you live in an area with bats, or other wild animals that may take up residence in your attic or basement, this is a requirement. Animals such as bats will love dark, quiet nooks and crannies, especially in old homes.

Check the law in your local area about animals such as bats. It can be illegal to disturb bats if they have taken up residence in your home. So, you require figuring out if you may need to take some special measures with your project.

Bat surveys can be pricey, but fines imposed for not taking the required precautions are even higher. Make sure you look into this before you begin any work.

 

Create a Design for the Remodeling and Schedule it

Next, you want to create a design for your remodeling. Ensure that the finished property will meet your needs through the design. Think about how all the changes will work with the original building, and how you want the finished piece to look and function.

Do you want to restore the original design, or dramatically transform it, consider extensions and so on.

Think carefully about placement as well, think about natural lighting and how it can make a small room look bigger. Take everything into account and create a design that suits what you want to gain from this remodeling project.

 

Find Good Contractors

When seeking out contractors, it is always wise to go off of recommendations from people you know. If you have any friends or family who are familiar with what is needed to renovate and remodel a house, then ask them for recommendations. They may be able to offer you help in finding an architect, builder, and so on.

You need to feel comfortable and confident in the skills of everyone who is working on this project, as their input will impact the final design of the home.

If you are buying a renovation project on the other hand, it is worth talking with an expert, such as a builder or architect, taking them with you on a view to go over costs and so on.

 

Get Good Insurance for the Renovation

Who would forget to insure their property and its contents? However, so many people are totally unaware that home contents or building insurance might not actually cover building work that is being done on the property. If you carry out alterations without addressing this, you might find that your policy is void and claiming against it will be impossible in the event that anything does end up going wrong.

So, remember that a standard insurance policy will only cover a house that is currently being lived in, so if you intend on moving out while the work is being done, ensure that your insurance company knows, and the best thing to do is take out a specialist renovations' insurance The level required for this will depend on the work that is being carried out.

 

Make the Site Safe

Always make sure that the site is safe and secure, and then follow this with any clearance of demolition work. Health and safety is your responsibility as the owner of the building. So a risk assessment and a method statement for demolition, which can include the handling of hazardous waste, is a priority.

You should not rush into any demolition work, people can all foul of listed building consent by stripping out internal fabric that they believed was unimportant only to find out that they have now done something criminal. Always be careful with services like gas and electricity, ensuring they are safely capped off before work may start.

Remember that with any waste, you can try to salvage some things, sell others, recycle some, and then only trash things if they are damaged beyond repair. This also reduces any costs of waste removal.

 

Assess Building Conditions

The first stage of any project where you are renovating or remodeling, is to get a detailed assessment of the current property condition. You need to know what problems you will face down the road.

If the building has been vacant for any more than a few months, it will start to deteriorate. While you finalize your plans, you should ensure that the building is weather tight by covering up missing doors, windows, and sections of roof. You might also have to consider potential expenses in putting urgent temporary structural stabilization in place. This can mean steel ties to stop any lateral spread.

It is worth considering this because it can also add into your expenses for the remodeling.

 

Brief the Neighbors and Cater the Builders

Remember to brief your neighbors on the situation, as living next door to a building site can be just as stressful as living in one. Construction noise, no matter how minor, can be hard, and remember some people who work nights, so it is worth letting people know, so they know what to expect.

You should also be sure that your builders know about things such as shared entryways, and any communal areas, so they do not leave any of these messy or obstructed.

Warning neighbors about things such as delivery vehicles and excessive noise is imperative, as people can be anxious about having lots of strangers around their property. Introducing them to your construction team is a good way to put any anxious minds to rest, and it will ensure you do not have any complaints.

Also make sure that you cater for the needs of your builders, provide them parking, a break area, and hire a portable restroom.

 

Start Main Renovation Works

Now you can start any of the major building work. Any hidden issues should now have been uncovered, and measures should have been taken to protect any vulnerable parts of the building.

This part of the remodeling will likely start with the ground works, in the foundation and the drainage, as well as things such as extensions, conversations, and then floors and walls, and any other structures that may need tempering with or building.

You should also be certain that any damp-proofing measures and new insulation that is required is incorporated into the home at this stage.

 

Make the Building Weathertight Early on

Making the building weathertight is a key step in the chance of success when you are working on a home remodeling project. Adding in weathertight precautions will greatly reduce the need for any additional work in the future. Therefore, none of your money or time is wasted, and if you are reselling it will be very attractive to potential buyers

It is important to get the property sufficiently weathertight as soon as possible, because so many stages after this require a dry building. Get all the roof coverings on, if you are tempering with the roof, and make sure they are secure. Fitting windows and doors is also vital to the long term damp-proofing of the building. If you have scaffolding up then this is also a good opportunity to check chimney stacks if you have one, ensuring they are stable and clear.

 

Start with the First Fix

If you happen to change the internal layout of the property, now is the time. This is the stage where stud walls will be built, staircases, door linings and so on.

Once this is completed, pipes, and cables for hot water, gas, electrics and so on will be installed, or corrected if needed.

Another important fix is underfloor heating, and care must be taken to avoid damaging pipes before floors are laid over them.

This is the stage where you are dressing the skeleton and fixing all the major areas of the home that need the most intense work. The hardcore construction, if you will.

 

Do the Ceilings and Lay the Floor

The ceilings will need to be boarded, don’t forget to make sure the cables are brought through into position as per the lighting plan. Walls can be lined with plasterboard, and floorboards, or screed should be laid as well.

Walls and ceilings can then also be plastered, and for the first time you should start to get a sense of how big the rooms will be. Plaster and screed will need to dry out, remember, and this can take weeks, so you should make sure that you account for this time. The longer that it can be left, the better things will be, as there will be less danger of moisture causing issues with any second fix joinery and wooden floors.

This is the part where you start to flesh out the house a little more, and you start to get a feel for what you are creating, you will get a better feel for the rooms and how it will eventually end up looking.

 

Move to the Second Fix

The second fix literally means everything that follows a successful plastering. This can include everything from fitting fixtures that need wiring, appliances that need plumps, doors, and everything else that starts to bring a house to life. Once you have completed the previous stage, you have a vision of the home you are making, and this stage is where you bring it to life. You will start to install many of the items in your house that you will interact with, especially in terms of things like kitchen appliances, lights, and so on.

This is also the stage in which the heating system gets activated, and the house starts to feel more like a liveable premise.

 

Finish, Decorate, and Tidy up

Lets not lie, this is the bit everyone looks forward to, it's the personalization. It's the part of the whole project where you make the home yours.

You start off with heavy, rough, and loud work at the beginning, and now we are adding in those personal touches that make it our own. Staircases, skirting boards, floor finishes, tiles, paint, wardrobes, and so on. It becomes a real home and starts to feel more like your own.

You choose how you make it look at this point, and it will give you a wonderful, fresh feeling. It's the exciting bit.

 

Summary

A couple doing some modification to the house

Remodeling your home can be a very stressful and time-consuming project to embark on, however, if done right it can be a very rewarding thing to do. Whether you do it to increase property value, make a house more homey to you, or just to take on a challenge, it is something that can really pay off.

Just make sure that you take all the necessary steps to make sure it goes smoothly and that you are doing everything right. As long as you follow the steps we mentioned here, you will soon have remodeled a home into the perfect living space, something to be proud of.

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