If you’ve recently bought a property in need of some major renovations, the chances are that you will need to hire equipment to carry out the work, as well as seeking out professionals to help with the renovation. Here is everything that you need to know about safely carrying out a property renovation as a landlord.
Before You Buy
Before you purchase a home to renovate, there are a couple of things to look out for to ensure that you don’t encounter any surprises along the way. You should check if you need to get planning permission – it’s usually required if you plan to make structural changes or change the function of the building, and you will need permission from your local Building Control Body. In most cases, you shouldn’t need permission to make internal changes. You should also check the deeds to the house to see the property boundaries if you are planning on an extension. Lastly, you’ll need to get a surveyor in to see the structure of the house – if you need to replace any walls or the roof; the surveyor should be able to tell you how much this will cost.
Preparation: Hiring Professionals and Budgeting
You’ll almost certainly need to hire an architect and a builder, so use recommendations from your friends and family to find the best one in your area. Depending on the scale of the project, you may also wish to hire a project manager to oversee every aspect of the renovation. Your architect and builder will help you work out the overall cost of the renovation, which will help when it comes to setting your budget. You should look at the needs of each room individually and add them up (taking into account everything from structural changes to decoration). When you have your finished budget, add on 10% to account for emergencies – you’ll be grateful further down the line.
Assessing the Building
If you haven’t invested in a fully measured survey upon purchasing the property, you should invest in one before you start the renovations. It will help you know what you’re working with, and you should also purchase a condition survey which will help you find any issues with damp or infestation. If the building has been empty for a while, it will have naturally started to deteriorate, so you might need to put up scaffolding or replace windows and doors.
As the building’s owner, health and safety is your responsibility, so it’s really important to make sure you do a full risk assessment before embarking on any demolition work. You also need to do a hazardous waste survey, which will state how you will dispose of any hazardous waste – this will look for asbestos and other hazardous materials. You’ll need site insurance, and public/employer’s liability insurance if you are your own project manager. The key is to not rush into demolition, as this is when things will start to go wrong.
Major Building Work
Once the building’s structure is stabilised, you can make a start on the building work. Make sure to protect anything that could be damaged during the building work. You should generally start with any groundwork, such as laying foundations and drainage. You can then complete new structures like extensions, walls and floors. It is at this stage that you should look into insulation and damp-proofing the home – this is essential if you’re planning to have tenants, as the right insulation can save you a lot of money on your energy bills.
A lot of stages of the renovation need a completely dry building, such as electrics and plastering, so weatherproofing the property is very important. You’ll need to hire a professional who is trained to use an access platform to fit your roof coverings, or you could risk invalidating your insurance. If you can fit doors and windows during this process, that is incredibly beneficial to creating a dry environment for the rest of your renovation.
Changing the Internal Layout
If you plan to change the property’s internal layout, you can do this after you have completed all of the groundwork and weatherproofed the property. It’s at this stage when you will build stud walls, as well as staircases and door linings. You can put in any pipes and cables, and you’ll want to set up your gas, electricity, telephone line and internet. You will leave cables sticking out, ready for switches, and pipes will be placed in position ready for the fitting of toilets and basins.
Floors and Ceilings
After the internal structure is as you would like it, you can board the ceilings and line the walls with plasterboard. Plastering the walls will help you get a sense of how the room is going to look, but allow it time to dry out before you move on to decoration.
The second stage of fixing is when the house really starts to come together, as you install appliances, fixtures and fittings such as light switches and power points. Make sure that you hire qualified professionals for any work with electrical fittings and your gas and heating system.
Don’t borrow more money for the renovation than you can afford, regardless of how much money you think you will be able to make from the rent.
Make your builders sign a fixed price contract to avoid them fleecing you for more money than you first agreed to.
Don’t go overboard – stick to a clean finish rather than forcing your personal style on the property.
Don’t put in too many bedrooms – space and quality is more important than quantity.
Never rush into a project without first effectively planning – the more you plan, the more money and time you will save further down the line.