Homeowners can save a lot of money by staying put and choosing to renovate instead of moving home. But only if they’re smart with their renovation plans.
The last five years have seen a surge in homeowners choosing to stay and renovate their existing accommodation rather than move to a different property.
A survey conducted by insurance company Hiscox revealed that back in 2013, just 3% chose to stay put and make alterations such as adding an extension to their living space instead of relocating elsewhere. But this year has seen as many as 15% of homeowners opting to do the same.
One of the main reasons for doing so is to avoid spending large amounts of money on moving costs such as stamp duty, estate agents and solicitors’ fees. Home renovation is seen as a more affordable alternative, particularly if you know how to avoid some typical pitfalls.
It’s absolutely essential to plan out the finances of your project before you begin. Get accurate quotes from a range of builders and be aware of any ‘extras’ that may come up along the way and always ensure your home is covered should any accidents or mishaps happen during your renovation project.
It’s always a good idea to save or secure additional funding for an emergency scenario, as you wouldn’t want your works to come to a standstill due to lack of finance.
One area of concern can be the condition of your property framework, particularly in older accommodation. The foundations or structure may not have been built using modern techniques or materials, and with decades of being subjected to wear and tear, it may be necessary to carry out timber treatment and damp-proofing before proceeding with your planned works.
Such work can be quite costly, so you will need to get a quote and add the expense to your budget before the renovation begins.
If you’re extending your home, then take care to consider how any additional space will affect the look and feel of your existing layout. If you’re adding on extra living space downstairs, then it’s important that the rooms feel in proportion with the rest of the home.
It’s also important, from a fire safety perspective as much as convenience, that your new space is easily accessible from central hallways and landings. Try to avoid adding on rooms that are difficult to get to – your home needs to have a sensible flow to it.
Building regulations must be taken into consideration in all renovation work. Whilst there are plenty of projects that fall within the rights of permitted development for homeowners, it’s still essential that all rules are adhered to.
Don’t be tempted to just get the work done anyway, even if you have willing contacts who are happy to help you out. If you carry out renovations that are not fully permitted, then this will be an enormous problem when you come to sell your property years down the line.
Any potential buyers may struggle to convince a mortgage company to lend due to the unauthorised works, which will leave you stuck. But the impact on your selling ability is not the only problem if you fail to meet regulations; the local authority can also prosecute in the Magistrates Court, and serve an enforcement notice to remove the unauthorised work.
Staying in your existing home can be a cheaper and more convenient solution than moving home, but only if you’re sensible with how you approach your project. So, make sure you have a clear plan in place before you begin.
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