Mastering Home Renovations: Your Step-by-Step Guide for 2023

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The Insider @ Houst
Last updated on
September 6, 2023

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Mastering Home Renovations: Your Step-by-Step Guide for 2023

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Whether you embark on a basement makeover, revamp your bathroom, or take on a full-scale home renovation, the journey is like a rollercoaster ride. As you envision the impending transformation, there's an electrifying surge of excitement and boundless inspiration in the initial stages. And upon the renovation's completion, that enthusiasm remains intact, now coupled with deep satisfaction in the results. It's a joy to relish knowing you've enhanced your living space and added value to your home.

However, the challenging core is nestled within this exhilarating journey, marked by the demolition and construction phases. This juncture demands careful consideration right from the project's outset. Your success hinges on diligent research, asking pertinent questions, and enlisting top-notch contractors who can navigate the complexities with finesse. In this article, we’ll help you start planning your home renovation.

Table of Contents

Make Sure the Renovation Is Worth the Time and Cost

If you're embarking on a home renovation before relocating, particularly when you live some distance away, it's wise to contemplate investing in a key lockbox. Given that substantial projects may be on your checklist, necessitating the expertise of a contractor, it's essential to remember that contractors often kickstart their day early. Unless you relish the idea of navigating morning rush-hour traffic just to grant them access, having a lockbox or installing smart door hardware that enables you to enter via a secure code is prudent. This simple step can spare you numerous hours and gallons of fuel and rescue you from those dreaded early morning wake-up calls.

Secure Key Lockbox for Convenient Home Renovation Contractor Access

Research and Create a Game Plan

If you're new to home renovations, it's important to understand what you're getting into. Talk to friends and family who have done it before and learn from their experiences. Read up on best practices and tips to navigate the process effectively. While the contractor you select will be a valuable resource, it's advantageous to possess a solid grasp of the renovation intricacies before reaching that stage.

Once you've resolved to proceed with the renovation, allocate dedicated time to research various facets, including the overall cost, the expected timeline from initiation to completion, and potential unforeseen challenges. When making decisions that align with your goals and lead you down the right path, meticulous planning and thoughtful consideration are crucial. It's important to consult with numerous experts to gather a wide range of feedback and information. This will help you make informed decisions.

Your research can also illuminate whether the present moment is conducive for embarking on the renovation or if it would be prudent to wait. Perhaps additional months are necessary to ensure your financial resources are in order. You might discover that the projected costs exceed your budget or the proposed timeline clashes with your needs, such as a bustling sports season or the return to school.

Establish a Budget and Account for Hidden Costs 

As you dive into your research, one of the critical steps is to arrive at a rough estimate for your renovation costs. While online searches can provide a general sense, it's essential to recognise that figures can vary considerably, and relying solely on Google may not yield a dependable estimation. To get a more accurate sense of your project's costs, it's advisable to contact local contractors and solicit estimates. Accumulating three to five estimates will give you a foundation for your expectations.

Furthermore, contacting contractors for bids serves another valuable purpose: it helps identify potential surprises that often arise during construction—commonly called 'slippage.' For instance, a kitchen renovation might unveil plumbing issues, or window replacements might necessitate trim replacements.

In anticipation of such unforeseen costs, it's prudent to allocate an additional 15 to 30% on top of the initial quote, factoring this into your budget. Should you not need these funds, that's excellent. However, should they prove necessary, you'll be well-prepared and avoid being caught off guard. The last thing you want in a project is to feel compelled to cut corners or make hasty decisions that could remind you of rushed choices whenever you gaze upon the completed work.

If the prospect of this supplementary expense exceeds your desired budget, it might be wise to delay until your financial situation aligns more comfortably with your renovation aspirations.

Homeowner Engaging in a Productive Meeting with a Renovation Contractor to Discuss Home Renovation Plans

Find the Right Contractor for the Job 

When it comes to contractors, the foremost tip is the importance of finding a qualified professional capable of turning your renovation dreams into reality. Unfortunately, this realisation often dawns upon homeowners after they've indulged in envisioning the possibilities. 

If you have ideas for a project, a good contractor can help bring them to life and offer new perspectives and possibilities you may not have considered. To choose the right contractor, read reviews and feedback from previous clients to learn about their work quality and reputation. It's also smart to schedule a meeting to discuss your project in detail and ask the contractor any questions you have. You'll want your chosen professional to be a collaborative partner throughout the journey, adept at devising creative solutions that align with your vision while staying within your budget.

A reputable contractor goes beyond executing the task at hand; they can also identify structural enhancements that enhance long-term energy efficiency and the overall functionality of your home. 

To ensure a seamless remodelling experience, select an exceptional contractor who exhibits transparency, respect for your time, punctuality, a high regard for your property, and a track record of delivering impressive results. Drawing upon their wealth of experience, they can provide valuable suggestions to address any issues your home may have, making them an invaluable asset in the renovation process.

To figure out if a contractor is a good fit for your renovation needs, you might want to ask them these questions:

  • What licensing and insurance do you possess? (They should be both bonded and insured.)
  • Do you collaborate with project managers? (Project management can enhance efficiency and organisation.)
  • How frequently do you provide project updates? (Regular communication is vital.)
  • What is your billing process like? (Understanding how and when you'll be billed is crucial.)
  • How do you track billing? (Clear billing records ensure transparency.)
  • When can you commence work? (Aligning start dates with your schedule is essential.)
  • Can you provide an estimated timeline for this type of project and your availability? (Clarity on project duration is important.)
  • Are you open to obtaining bids from multiple subcontractors to secure the best pricing? (This can be a cost-saving strategy.)
  • What is the procedure if issues arise with the completed project a year later? (A warranty or follow-up process can offer peace of mind.)

Sign a Contract

A well-crafted contract is crucial to a smooth renovation process, offering assurance and clarity in various scenarios. It should include essential details such as your name and address, projected start dates, warranty terms, a comprehensive scope of work, and payment arrangements. Caution is advised when confronted with generic contracts requiring no updates, as they can lead to complications later. It's imperative to thoroughly review the entire document and seek clarification from the contractor if any uncertainties arise. Contracts protect contractors and homeowners, ensuring a mutual understanding of project expectations and parameters.

Vibrant Image of a Home Renovation Work in Progress, Demonstrating the Transformation Process

Prepare for the Job to Begin 

Once the contract is signed, it marks the official beginning of the preparation phase, both for your home and your mental readiness, as embarking on a renovation can be emotionally challenging. Renovating a home is no easy feat. There's so much to consider, from budget to scope to timeline. It can be overwhelming, especially when you consider the high costs associated with such a project. But with proper preparation and a solid understanding of the project at hand, it's possible to tackle any unexpected issues that may arise during the renovation process with greater confidence.

Learning from Common Home Renovation Mistakes

Learning from common mistakes homeowners make during renovations is a wise approach to ensure a smoother and more successful project. Here are some key takeaways to avoid these pitfalls:

  • Under-budgeting: Allocate a budget for your renovation that covers the expected costs and includes a buffer of around 20-25% for unforeseen expenses or changes in plans.
  • Communication: Don't hesitate to ask questions or seek clarification when you're unsure, especially regarding design choices. Effective communication with contractors and designers is essential to achieve the results you desire.
  • DIY Limitations: While DIY can be rewarding, acknowledge your limitations. For complex tasks or those requiring specialised skills, it's often best to hire professionals to ensure the highest quality work.
  • Choosing the Cheapest Workers: Opting for the lowest-cost workers may seem budget-friendly, but it can lead to subpar results that ultimately cost more to fix. Prioritise quality and reputation when selecting contractors.
  • Timing and Stress: Prepare for the renovation to take longer than initially planned. Accept that living in a construction zone can be stressful, and plan accordingly to manage the disruption.
  • Furniture Selection: When choosing furniture, consider the dimensions and layout of your space to ensure that it fits comfortably without blocking access or overwhelming the room.

Types of Home Renovation 

There's a wide range of home renovation projects to consider, each catering to different needs and preferences:

Whole Property Renovation

A comprehensive overhaul of the entire home often involves structural changes, remodelling, and upgrades throughout.

Single-Storey Extension 

Expanding the ground floor of your home to add more living space is commonly used for expanding kitchens or creating larger living areas.

Multi-Storey Extension

Similar to a single-storey extension, but expanding vertically to add extra rooms or living space on multiple floors.

Conservatory Build

Building a glass or partially enclosed structure typically used as a sunroom or additional living space connected to the outdoors.

Loft Conversion

Transforming an attic or loft space into usable living areas, such as bedrooms, offices, or recreational rooms.

Kitchen Remodelling

Updating and redesigning the kitchen to improve functionality and aesthetics.

Bathroom Remodelling

Renovating and modernising bathrooms to enhance comfort and style.

Basement Conversion

Transforming an unfinished basement into usable living space, like a home theatre, gym, or guest suite.

Garage Conversion

Converting a garage into a living space, including a bedroom, office, or additional living area.

Garden Landscaping 

Enhancing outdoor spaces with landscaping, hardscaping, and garden design to create beautiful and functional outdoor areas.

How Long Does It Take to Renovate a House?

The duration of a house renovation can vary significantly based on several factors, including the project's scope and unforeseen complications. However, here are general timeframes for some common renovation types:

  • Kitchen Renovation: Typically takes 4 to 10 weeks.
  • Bathroom Renovation: Usually completed in 3 to 6 weeks.
  • Loft Conversion: A loft conversion can span 7 to 12 weeks.
  • 1-2 Storey Extension: Extending your home can range from 8 to 16 weeks.

Remember that these estimates are approximate and can be influenced by project complexity, permits, weather conditions, and contractor availability. It's advisable to work closely with your contractor to establish a more accurate timeline for your specific renovation project.

How Much Does It Cost to Renovate a House?

The total cost of a house renovation project can vary widely based on multiple factors, including the scope of work, choice of builder or contractor, involvement of an architect, necessity of planning permissions, project duration, and any unforeseen circumstances. However, here are estimated average costs for common renovation projects:

  • Extension: Typically ranges from £25,000 to £50,000.
  • Loft Conversion: An approximate cost of around £40,000.
  • Bathroom Renovation: Costs can fall between £6,000 to £10,000.
  • Kitchen Renovation: Budgets often range from £7,000 to £15,000.
  • New Windows: Around £400 to £600 per window, depending on materials and features.
  • New Heating System: An estimated cost of £4,000 for a heating system upgrade.

How to Plan Home Renovation on Budget?

Planning home renovations on a budget is prudent to ensure your project stays within financial constraints while achieving your goals. Here are some essential tips for budget-conscious renovation planning:

Set Realistic Expectations

The first step in budget-conscious renovation planning is to set realistic goals based on your financial situation. Understand that a limited budget may not stretch to cover a total home makeover. Make a list of priorities, focusing on areas that require urgent attention or will add the most value to your home. It's easier to make informed decisions when you know what you can afford.

Seek Multiple Quotes

Don't just go with the first contractor who gives you a quote. Gather quotes from multiple contractors to get a comprehensive view of your cost options. Make sure to also consider online reviews or recommendations when choosing. This approach ensures you find the best value for your money—a contractor who offers quality work at a competitive price.

Consider Hiring a Designer

While it may seem counterintuitive when you're on a budget, hiring a designer can actually save you money in the long run. A designer can offer innovative solutions that maximize your budget's potential, suggest cost-effective materials, and help avoid costly mistakes. Think of it as an investment in ensuring your project goes smoothly and meets your financial and aesthetic criteria.

Invest in a Survey

Before diving into the renovation, it's wise to pay for a professional property survey. This survey can identify potential structural issues, such as faulty wiring or plumbing, that might require unexpected expenditures. Knowing these pitfalls in advance enables you to allocate your budget more effectively.

Hone DIY Skills 

If labor costs are a concern, consider taking on some tasks yourself. The internet is a treasure trove of DIY guides and video tutorials that can teach you basic home improvement skills. Painting, simple carpentry, or even basic tiling are things you might be able to handle yourself, thus reducing your overall labor costs.

Prioritise and Phase 

If money is tight, think about phasing your renovation project. Tackle the most crucial aspects first, such as urgent repairs or the rooms you use most frequently. Once those are completed, you can plan and save for less critical renovations, allowing you to keep the project moving without overspending.

Repurpose and Reuse

Instead of buying everything new, look at what you can repurpose or reuse. Vintage fixtures, reclaimed wood, or even old furniture can give your renovation character while saving you money. Not only is this approach budget-friendly, but it's also eco-friendly.

Shop Smart

When you do need to buy new items, be a savvy shopper. Keep an eye out for sales, discounts, and clearance items. Don't underestimate the value of second-hand items, which can often be upcycled or refurbished to look brand new.

Contingency Fund

Regardless of how well you plan, unexpected expenses are almost a given in any renovation project. That’s why you should always set aside a contingency fund, ideally 10–20% of your overall budget, to cover unforeseen circumstances or emergencies.

Regularly Review and Adjust

Lastly, make sure to monitor your budget carefully throughout the renovation process. Keep tabs on all expenses, compare them to your budget, and make necessary adjustments. This constant vigilance ensures that you'll finish your project without any unpleasant financial surprises.

Newly Renovated Modern Kitchen as an Example of a Successful Home Renovation Project

Home to Maximise Rental Property Renovations

Renovations have this magical ability to transform a property, making it more enticing and functional. It's like giving your place a makeover that can attract new tenants and make your current ones want to stay put for the long haul. And let's not forget renovations can be your secret weapon for boosting your property's overall value.

But, and it's a big but, renovations can also dent your wallet if you're not careful. So, when diving into this home improvement world, you want to make sure every penny counts, especially when it comes to your rental property. The key to ensuring your renovations are a smart investment is understanding what your tenants really want.

You wouldn't redecorate your living room without considering your family's needs and preferences, right? Well, the same goes for your rental property. To get the most bang for your buck, you've got to get inside your tenants' heads and figure out what makes them tick. That way, you'll be making renovations that jazz up your place and make your tenants go, "Wow, this is exactly what I needed!"

Transforming Your Rental Property with a Fresh Coat

Repainting is a timeless, cost-effective renovation idea that works wonders for any property. It's no secret that a space with old and chipping paint can be a major turn-off for potential tenants. Consider repainting whenever a tenant moves out to ensure your rental space always shines. You'll be pleasantly surprised by the remarkable transformation a fresh coat of paint can bring to any room.

Sticking with neutral colours when embarking on a repainting project is wise. Neutrals have universal appeal, seamlessly complement other hues, and are generally well-received by most people. Avoid being bold with bright and loud colours, as they might not resonate with everyone. Additionally, for a flawless finish, it's essential to entrust the painting job to a professional. This ensures you won't have to contend with unsightly bumps or uneven lines on the walls.

In essence, repainting is a budget-friendly renovation option that can breathe new life into your rental spaces, making them visually appealing and more inviting to prospective tenants.

Elevating Curb Appeal

Curb appeal is something special that sets your property apart from the rest of the neighbourhood. You know, it's like the age-old wisdom about first impressions. The fantastic part is that boosting your property's curb appeal doesn't have to be a bank-draining endeavour. It often boils down to good old-fashioned maintenance and a keen eye for detail.

So, how do you ensure that your property and its surroundings always exude a welcoming vibe? Well, it can be as simple as planting vibrant flowers in the garden, keeping that fence neatly trimmed, and giving the grass a well-deserved mow. Consider adding a postcard-worthy touch, like a charming mailbox or a cosy area with shade, comfortable seats, and a quaint table.

Enhancing your property's curb appeal is like putting your best foot forward, creating an inviting atmosphere that makes tenants and passersby feel right at home. And the best part? It doesn't have to cost a fortune.

Update Appliances 

In renovation ideas, consider the allure of incorporating sleek, modern appliances into your rental space. Think dishwashers, washing machines, and more. These contemporary conveniences not only captivate potential tenants but also have the potential to elevate the rental value of your property.

When considering upgrading your rental property's appliances, it's important to remember that it can be a significant investment. That's why it's crucial to approach this project with a carefully planned budget and seek expert advice. By doing so, you can ensure that you're sticking with trustworthy brands and avoiding any financial setbacks that could negatively impact your profits. Upgrading appliances can add a touch of luxury and convenience to your rental space, making it more appealing to potential tenants. It's also a strategic move that can increase the property's overall value and demonstrate your dedication to providing tenants with a modern and comfortable living experience.

Update the Kitchen

The past year has seen a significant shift in priorities, with the kitchen area climbing to the top of the checklist. Thanks to the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent restrictions on dining out, more and more people are preparing their meals at home.

This newfound emphasis on the kitchen space drives tenant preferences in the current market. What renters appreciate most are kitchens equipped with convenient amenities. To transform your kitchen into a tenant magnet, consider upgrades such as replacing faulty taps and sinks, installing brand-new countertops, revamping kitchen cabinets, or even giving the entire kitchen a sleek, modern makeover.

A thorough cleaning can work wonders if the appliances are still in great shape with no visible wear and tear. A pristine kitchen, after all, is the heart of a home and can be a major selling point for prospective tenants.

In essence, modernising your kitchen is like adding a touch of culinary luxury to your rental property. It reflects changing times and tenant preferences, offering a comfortable and stylish space for cooking and enjoying meals at home—a trend that's here to stay.

Update the Furniture 

For landlords in the furnished apartment niche, the condition of your furniture is non-negotiable. If those sofas, chairs, and tables are starting to look worse for wear, it might be time for an upgrade. A visit to your nearest furniture outlet could turn out to be a smart investment that pays off handsomely.

Of course, you can also give your existing furniture a little TLC. Sometimes, a fresh coat of polish or some minor repairs can breathe new life into pieces that are just slightly worn out. Remember, first impressions matter, so always ensure your appliances and furniture are impeccable before showing the property to prospective tenants.

Refreshing your furniture is like giving your furnished rental property a makeover. It's an investment that enhances the space's visual appeal and makes tenants feel like they're stepping into a welcoming and well-cared-for home.

Stick to the Modern Design 

Add some contemporary flair into your rental property to captivate the modern sensibilities of today's tenants. Staying in tune with the latest design trends can make a significant difference. Think spacious rooms adorned with large windows that flood the space with natural light, open kitchens that encourage a sense of connectivity, and sleek bathroom shower screens that exude luxury.

In essence, embracing a modern design is like giving your rental property a makeover that speaks to the tastes and preferences of contemporary renters. It's a step towards creating a space that looks appealing and feels in tune with the times, making it all the more attractive to those seeking a stylish and comfortable home.

Uplift the Bathroom 

When it comes to renovations, the bathroom is a hidden gem just waiting to shine. Transforming this space can work wonders for your rental property's appeal. Here are some fantastic ideas to breathe new life into your bathrooms:

  • Retiling: Consider giving those tired old tiles a makeover with fresh, stylish ones. Tile patterns, colours, and textures can completely transform the look and feel of a bathroom.
  • Storage Units: Adding smart storage solutions can make a big difference. Consider installing modern cabinets, shelves, or vanity units to keep the bathroom organised and clutter-free.
  • Replacing Fixtures: Outdated fixtures can bring down the overall appeal of a bathroom. Swap them out for sleek, modern alternatives to create a more contemporary and inviting space.

Elevate Your Rental Property Management with Houst

When managing your rental property with precision and finesse, Houst emerges as your trusted ally. Think of them as your backstage crew, working tirelessly to ensure every aspect of your property runs like a well-oiled machine. Houst is committed to your property's success with experts who know the rental market.

So, why settle for ordinary when you can partner with Houst for extraordinary property rental management? With them by your side, you're not just investing in a service; you're investing in peace of mind, exceptional returns, and a rental property that stands out from the crowd. 

The Insider @ Houst

The Insider @ Houst

The Insider team at Houst is dedicated to providing up-to-date and relevant information on short-term rentals. If you have hosting inquiries, please write to us at expert@houst.com. For guest inquiries, reach out at guest@houst.com. We are here to help you navigate the world of short lets and look forward to assisting you with your needs.

The Insider @ Houst

The Insider @ Houst

The Insider team at Houst is dedicated to providing up-to-date and relevant information on short-term rentals. If you have hosting inquiries, please write to us at expert@houst.com. For guest inquiries, reach out at guest@houst.com. We are here to help you navigate the world of short lets and look forward to assisting you with your needs.

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