Renovating an Empty Property: Where to Begin

17th April 2014 posted in Home Lifestyle Buyers

Buying an empty house that needs a bit of renovation and restoration can be very exciting. You are presented with a blank canvas that allows you to change anything you like and design the house of your dreams from scratch.

Taking on a property that needs a big make over can have two great benefits; firstly, they are likely to be cheaper than the other houses in the area and secondly they provide you with the potential to create whatever you want.

However, choosing a house that needs more than just a lick of paint can be quite challenging and isn’t without its hardships. Check out our guide on renovating an empty property from square one:

Planning

With any project it is important that you have a detailed plan in place before you start. One of the first things you need to decide is whether you are going to take charge and manage the renovation yourself, or whether you want to hire a professional to manage the entire project from start to finish.

If you are going to undertake the project yourself, then make sure you have planned for a large enough time scale and have organised all contractors and suppliers in advance. You need to make sure everything is going to come together seamlessly once the project begins.

Another thing to think about is whether there is a reason no one has renovated this property before. Have you checked that you can get planning permission for the house? Have you looked to see if it is listed? If it is listed, then there will be legal restrictions on what exactly you can do to it.

It may also be an idea to consider some building security if you know that your project won’t be starting straight away, as often empty buildings can be bigger targets for vandalism and squatters. Keep everything locked and secure and install a good alarm system in the house and some CCTV cameras outside. This should keep the building safe until your workforce is there.

Budgeting

You are always going to need a big budget if you are planning on renovating a house and it is important to remember how much you will be paying for the house before you even begin to restore it.

Get a range of quotes for contractors and materials to check that your budget is actually going to cover the renovation you want to do. If the contractors you choose are VAT-registered, then they will actually qualify for the reduced rate of just 5% VAT. This mainly applies if you are renovating an empty property, but you can find all the details on the HMRC website.

The renovation will be a big cost in itself, but you also need to think of all the other costs that will be related to your new house, such as deposits, legal fees, insurance and mortgage costs. It is easy to get caught up with all the big plans and forget about the smaller costs and extras that you might end up needing, so make sure you don’t end up in a position where you are over budget.

If you can, keep a few hundred pounds budgeted for when the project is finally completed. It will never be an easy process and the best thing about completing a large renovation is knowing that at the end you have a little bit of the budget to buy something new for your restored home, such as a big TV or maybe a new furniture set.

Be Realistic

Renovating a new home is a very exciting prospect, but it is not one to rush into. The reality of home restoration is that it is likely to take longer than you originally thought and will potentially cost more than you budgeted.

Many unforeseen circumstances can crop up and it will take both time and money to make sure these can be sorted so they don’t affect the final project. From the very start of your project be sure to add a “cushion” for both your time scale and budget so that you don’t end up running out of either.

Be patient throughout the process, as very rarely things are as straightforward as they first seem. The entire renovation may feel like a long process, but actually it is all relative when you think about the fantastic years to come that you will spend in your lovely new home.

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