Coming up with ways to breathe new life into your home is always fun – and it’s always going to be tempting to do some of the work yourself… but it’s important to remember that you do actually need to finish what you start when it comes to home improvements, so make sure you have the time, money, skills and necessary experience in place before you begin, or you could find yourself regretting it.
New research from Sainsbury’s Bank Loans has just revealed that ten per cent of all home renovations started in the last 12 months are still not completed, with 18 per cent saying money issues were the reason for the project overrunning and 36 per cent saying that their renovation project remained unfinished because of insufficient finances.
Making sure that you prepare properly and plan for as many eventualities as you can is perhaps the key to getting home renovations finished on time. The study also found that projects took on average six weeks to complete, with 56 per cent hitting the intended deadline.
Work taking longer can certainly have an impact on your overall sense of health and wellbeing, with 17 per cent of those asked saying that the length of the project left them feeling stressed. Others reported feeling annoyed, worried, depressed and as if it would never be finished.
The most common improvement projects undertaken in the last year were found to be redecorating living areas, gardening or landscaping, redecorating the bedroom, adding new flooring or carpets, renovating the bathroom, work on the exterior and renovating the kitchen.
Customer director at Sainsbury’s Bank Jason King said: “Home renovations are a great way of making better use of space, changing your home to fit your needs or adding value to the property. But, as our research shows, all too often these projects can bring stress and worry due to the time and money needed to complete them.
“Making a project plan and setting a budget in advance are two ways of trying to keep on top of the work, but when things change or problems happen it’s important to look in the right place for advice or financial support.”
Top tips for home improvement project success
If you have big renovation plans over the next few months, it’s important to prepare as much as you can, no matter what the job is. You’ll want to know exactly what you’re doing and what to expect, so here are a few handy hints to help you get your project off the ground.
Take your time
Never rush the process, or it’s likely that you won’t be as happy with the end result as you would be if you really deliberated and made sure it looks as it does in your mind’s eye. Rushing also means you’re more likely to make mistakes, especially if you’re doing some DIY.
Set a budget – and stick to it
It’s essential that you have a realistic budget in mind when doing up the house or you could end up spending thousands more than necessary – and thousands more than you actually have.
It’s easy to get carried away when you’re excited about a project, but a budget will keep you in check. Just remember to include a contingency of at least ten per cent so you know you’re covered if and when something goes wrong.
Carry out checks on traders
You want to make sure that you’re hiring reputable tradespeople who can get the job done, so always do background checks on companies and always get at least three quotes for various jobs so you know you’re getting a fair price.
Read online reviews to see what other homeowners have to say about the work carried out and perhaps use search tools like Trusted Trader. Word of mouth is also an excellent way to find good companies, so ask those you know for recommendations.
Know your limits
Of course, you’re going to want to do some of the work on your house yourself but it’s vital that you’re realistic about what you can and can’t achieve. You have to know what you’re doing in order to be able to carry out work effectively and safely, and if you don’t know what you’re doing you could find yourself with big – and expensive – problems at home.
Tell your insurance company
You must remember to get in touch with your insurer to let them know you’re having work done at home, or you could find that your policy is invalid if something happens that you need cover for.
Check for planning permission
Projects like loft conversions and extensions may well need planning permission and it’s always best to check with your local planning authority before you even get in touch with building firms so you know you’re not going to tread on any toes.
If you do press ahead with building work and find out that you need to have planning permission in place afterwards, you may have to tear down what you’ve put up and you could find yourself well out of pocket as a result.
Consider party wall agreements
Party walls are the shared wall that divides the properties of two separate owners, typically between a terrace or a semi-detached home. It also includes garden walls that have been built over a boundary.
Agreements are typically needed for building work such as a loft conversion, the digging of new foundations and the installation of damp proof courses. You will need to have a written agreement in place from all affected neighbours before you can start party wall building work.
If you’d like any further help or advice, or are thinking about having new sash windows installed in your London home, get in touch with us today.