Updated: Apr 2, 2019
Taking on any form of home renovation or extension project is a big decision so here are my top 7 things you need to consider before you take those step.
1. What is your goal? Does your house need a refresh or is it just too small for your growing family? Have you seen your friend‘ extension and it’s now on your wish list? Is there a view that just has to captured? Or simply are you thinking of doing it up to sell? Having a goal in mind is important to reach the end game. It is the moral of the story.
2. Budget. If you don’t heed any other advice I give you, heed this one. Take your number and add atleast 20%. Houses are unknown beasts, they hide little horrors in dark corners that will drink your budget in no time. Unless you are a competent self builder you need to be realistic about how much this will cost. And do not scrimp in the beginning on important factors such as a good architect, a Quantity surveyor and reputable builder. It will reap the rewards.
3. Prepare to move out for a bit. If your project is a large one there is a chance for a period of time you will have no bathroom, no kitchen, no electrics and no hot water. It’s painful and stressful. Factor into your budget min two months temporary accomodation. You will not regret it.
4. Dream big but be prepared to compromise. There is nothing wrong with wanting the Taj Mahal. But you have a number of hurdles to jump to get there so be prepared for changes. Think back to your goal and make sure that your goal is the one thing that’s not compromised. Everything else is sacrificial.
5. Prepare for the timeline. I’ve written a whole other blog on how to work out your timeline so do check that out. If you have a critical deadline because baby no. 4 is on the way then approach the build bearing that in mine. If you think this is going to be a year long project, consider phasing it so you can prioritise the nursery and worry about the pool house later.
6. Don’t forget to organise storage. I know it sounds obviously but it’s vital you get the bits that matter most out of the house during the construction phase. Not only will boxing everything up give you a chance to declutter but anything left behind is in danger of getting damaged or at very least a serious covering of dust.
7. Make sure you are properly insured. Whilst the contractor will need to be insured against damage etc for the element he is working on, you will be responsible for everything else. If you have a huge hole at the back of your house for 5 months then the insurance company need to know to insure you against theft as well as fire and any contents you decide to leave in the house.
As I repeatedly say, make sure you get the right architect for the job at the beginning and he or she will guide you through all of the above. If you are trying to do this without an architect then do try and take note of the above and get yourself prepared.