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How to Plan a Major Home Renovation

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A major home renovation is no small undertaking, so you need a plan. Whether it’s a loft conversion, kitchen extension or bathroom upgrade, we’ve got you covered. Check out this step-by-step renovation guide. 

How to plan a home renovation project

  1. Be clear on what you want
  2. Set a budget
  3. Work out how to pay for it
  4. Get a professional assessment 
  5. Submit a planning application
  6. Anticipate potential problems 
  7. Create a schedule of works
  8. Get quotes

Step-by-step guide 

Renovating can add value to your home, increase internal space and improve your quality of life. Being prepared can help save you both time and money.

#1 – Work out what you want

It sounds so simple, but many homeowners go into a project blind without a clear brief of what they want to achieve. 

So, speak to friends, and look around at what neighbours in similar properties to yours have had done. Or, there’s plenty of online blogs and social media posts where you take inspiration from.

It’s also good to be clear on what you want the outcome of any renovation work to be. For example, is it to add more living space, a guest bedroom, create more storage space or create more of a live/work environment? Are you renovating your kitchen? Are you thinking longer-term so when the time comes to sell your home appeals to a wider pool of buyers? Whatever is the driving force, it’s worth being clear on the above. Consider this against your budget.

#2 – Set a budget

Budget, budget and budget some more. Renovation costs can go wildly over if you’re not careful. Think bigger than the project itself, for example:

  • Renting costs (if you have to temporarily move out)
  • New furniture 
  • Professional fees
  • Any finishing touches
  • A contingency fund 

A good rule is to anticipate overspending by around 10-15%, and factor this in accordingly. Speak to a professional about the estimated cost of your project; it will be dependent on your individual project and can also be impacted by the age of your property – you never know what’s behind walls or above ceilings. For example, the cost of house extensions can vary widely home to home. Having a clearly organised plan will help you cut costs on home renovation.

#3 – Work out how to pay for it

There are many options available when it comes to financing home improvement. This includes credit cards, savings or loans. 

For bigger projects, a home improvement loan is an option many take, as it offers flexibility and is easy to submit an application. Get a quote in minutes, without affecting your credit score. 

Homeowner Loan Quotes

#4 – Get an assessment

Ensure building work is allowed to go ahead. For example, if you live in a listed building or have any restrictive covenants, you may be prevented from going any further. 

Outside of this, you should also ensure your property can take the necessary changes. Load-bearing walls, damp, cracks etc. should all be looked at by a specialist. 

#5 – Apply for planning permission

In some cases, you can extend your house without planning permission, for example if it’s not higher than the highest part of the roof. However, it’s essential you check.

Many major structural changes will require you to apply for planning permission. Each local authority has its own guides and rules, and you don’t want to have to remove any work you carry out. 

Applying for planning permission can also increase property value on its own, if it’s granted, without any work needing to be undertaken. Remember that planning applications only last a certain amount of time (usually 3 years), so make sure you check this, each council will have different terms.

Discuss this with your neighbours is advisable here; it helps reduce the chance of them objecting to planning if they’re given the heads up. Get them onside, offer to show them the plans if needed.

#6 – Anticipate potential problems 

Renovating a house isn’t always smooth sailing, so it can be helpful to anticipate problems so that you can mitigate them. 

  1. How will you cover any unanticipated costs?
  2. What happens if the project runs over schedule?
  3. What happens if you have to move out briefly?
  4. What if you need to replace doors and windows?

The more prepared you are, the better. Remember, seasons can make a difference too, which is something to consider. Consider the best time of do home renovation when planning.

#7 – Create a schedule of works

Many choose to manage a project, and the individual tradespeople, themselves to save money. While it’s true this can save 5-15%, project management can be tough, as there are different building regulations to follow and plenty to get your head around.

Creating a schedule of works is essential when renovating a house, as it will create a sense of order and help keep things on track. A good schedule should outline every single job, including:

  • Structural stability
  • Demolition work
  • Dealing with damp
  • Drains
  • Site access
  • Snagging
  • Decorating

Alternatively, appoint an architect. Having a professional oversee your project will save you time, and can help remove some of the risks.

#8 – Get quotes

What tradespeople do you need for the job? You should find local tradespeople who specialise in the job you need doing. Experience and knowledge will be invaluable to your project. Ask for references from previous clients, and ensure you look at reviews.

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Last Updated: January 22nd, 2024