Property: How to renovate your home without going over budget – experts share advice


Whether you’re selling your home now or later, homeowners will be hoping to get the highest price possible for their property. However renovations can set sellers back hundreds of thousands of pounds, with many known to seek credit to pay for changes to their home. But renovations don’t have to break the bank. Specialists at the Institution of Structural Engineers have shared their tips on how to go about renovating your property and stay in budget.

“To keep costs down, carefully research how much different structural transformation options will cost you. You may end up going for a more expensive option but you’ll know it is good quality or will add more value to the property,” Jeremy Wiggins, technical director revealed.

“You should also include some ‘space’ in your budget for surprises. Whenever you start opening up an existing building, there is a chance you find things that need your attention and cash, such as leaks, services in need of replacing or structures that need enhanced support.”

When it comes to making home renovations, homeowners often opt for an extension.

Not only do extensions increase the square footage of a property, but they also add more value.

But with extensions comes high price tags, with estimating a two-storey extension in London at approximately £77,000.

So if you’re on a tight budget, an extension could push you well over your limit.

There are ways around this, however, with Jeremy Wiggins advising homeowners to consider other ways to make their home appear ‘bigger.’

He continued: “Creating an extension is exciting but can get costly quickly, so it’s important to think carefully about what you want to extend for. Is there something the house is lacking that you’d like to add?

“Tweaking the existing floor plan can be a more cost-effective way to achieve similar results. With any exterior work, you also need to check whether you need planning approval, which can cause delays.

“If you’d like structural work done to a wall shared with a neighbour, you will need a Party Wall Agreement. Negotiating one can be a complicated and time-consuming process.”

Instead, he advises homeowners to look into changing the lighting and colour schemes in their home, which like an extension will add value, but should keep you well within budget.

He said: “If your top consideration is to make the property feel more spacious, improving the flow and making your living space open plan with ‘zones’ instead of rooms can save you money yet add value to your property by making it more liveable. Choosing a pared-back colour scheme and material palette will add to this, as well as ensuring there is plenty of natural light.

“It’s a good idea to involve an architect and a structural engineer, as it can be daunting for a non-professional to visualise how a space can work best. For example, when you get down to the construction phase, you’ll need guidance on technical aspects such as fire regulations, acoustics, or how steep the stairs should be.”

Often, homeowners end up going over their budget when renovating their home due to a lack of knowledge.

Vice President of the Institution of Structural Engineers, John M Staves, warns homeowners to do their research in order to avoiding making “costly mistakes.”

“After you’ve worked out your motivation behind your renovation, the second step would be to know the ‘who and what’,” he explained.

“Choosing the right suppliers is crucial, and clearly understanding their roles and responsibilities in the process is essential. In my experience, this is where many would-be renovators come unstuck. Do you know your chartered surveyor from your structural engineer?”

Urging homeowners to take their time with renovations so they don’t waste money, he added: “A little research prior to the construction journey can pay dividends later on, and avoid costly mistakes.”

Homeowners could also add value to their homes without spending too much by doing small DIY jobs around the house, such as fixing a damaged roof.

it was recently reported that such renovations could add a value of up to £126,000 to UK homes.


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