How to Determine Home Renovation Costs When Buying

Home Renovation Costs

Buying a property that needs work is a fantastic way to get a great bargain, and it means putting all of those home renovation skills you learned by watching YouTube and Tough Love with Hillary Farr will finally pay off. Buying a property that needs renovation can be a great way to get a fantastic space that pushes you further up the property ladder than you can ever imagine, but it’s also an excellent way to spend more money than you’d initially imagined. How much does a full home renovation cost? Surveys have shown that the average cost of renovating a property is usually 15.8%, which may mean you’re spending quite a bit of money. How much do home renovations cost, and how do you know when you’re buying so you get the right fixer-upper to meet your needs? This guide can help.

As You Search for the Perfect Property . . .

While there’s no box to check on Rightmove or Zoopla to narrow things down by renovation project, there are a few things that you’ll absolutely want to consider as you look at properties. First, think carefully about how much time and money you want to invest. If you’re looking for a big renovation, you’re looking at big money for renovation costs, too. Understanding the answer to “How much does a full home renovation cost” is nothing short of a must. If you’re looking for something that just needs a little love and care, that’s a different animal entirely. Understand exactly how much you want to undertake, whether you’ll hire contractors to do the job for you, and how much additional money you’d like to spend on the project itself.

In addition to those concerns, you’ll want to think, too, about the big picture. Consider the property’s location for starters. Remember that while you can change many different features of the property, one thing you can never change is the actual location. The answer to “How much does a full home renovation cost” doesn’t really matter if the property is in a bad location. If you plan to live there, or even flip it to sell to other buyers, you’ll want to make sure transportation is accessible. You want something with local schools that are nice, and accessible amenities you care about. If, for example, you want to be within walking distance of shops, but the property you’ve found is at least a half-hour from any shops, it may not be the best choice for you.

Consider parking as well. Understand whether there’s potential to add parking as part of the renovation project or whether off-road parking already exists. It may add up as you consider the answer to “How much does it cost to renovate a home,” but it will be well worth the answer. While many people are happy with parking in front of the home, just as many aren’t, so consider that aspect of things carefully before you choose to buy.

The home’s neighbourhood matters too. Take a careful look at the other properties that might surround you. You’ll want to consider the area’s crime statistics. Safety is a huge factor in buying a home, and just by entering the postcode of the home, you’re considering on Police. UK, you’ll quickly get access to the number of crimes committed in the area. The answer to “How much does it cost to renovate a home” just doesn’t matter if it’s not in a safe neighbourhood. Be sure that you visit the area at different times of the day. That will help you assess how bad the traffic is, whether it feels safe, and how often the neighbours are about. It may also help you better understand noise levels in the area. Finally, look around at the houses that surround your potential property. Understand whether they’ve had major works completed recently. That will give you some sense of whether the local council is fairly amenable to changes in the area.

Property restrictions are another aspect you’ll want to consider. Ask for the details of the property. That should set out any restrictions carefully. Those properties that are in a leasehold or subject to restrictive covenants are fairly limited about what changes can actually be made, so you’ll want to be careful buying those kinds of properties. The answer to “How much does it cost to renovate a home” becomes a moot point if you’re not able to renovate at all.

When You Find the Right Property

Once you’ve located a property you love in the perfect location for you, you’re ready to begin assessing whether it truly has the renovation potential you want most. While many people who are considering a fixer-upper choose to bring in a professional architect at this point, you may want to hang on and do some evaluation on your own before you add extra expenses. If this isn’t the right property for you, you will have saved quite a bit of cash you can leave for the actual renovation.

Begin by looking at how much basic work you need to do to bring the property up to the standard you hope it meets. Would you need to add extra bedrooms or bathrooms? Is the kitchen the right size? Does it have enough overall living space? If the property is holding an open house, you can usually get a pretty good sense to the answer to these questions.

Beyond space concerns, think too about how the property flows. If the rooms seem like they’re in an odd position in the home, which may be a tough one to address without completely redoing the home. Similarly, if the bathrooms are inconvenient or there doesn’t seem to be a master suite, you may not have found the right space for you. Check to see if the property is holding an open house so you can take a look.

You’ll also want to take a hard look at the property’s exterior. If you believe an extension will be necessary, you’ll need to be sure there’s physically enough room for that extension on the lot. Consider whether the roof will need to be replaced, the condition of the windows, and what will have to be done to improve the overall external appearance of the property. If the property is holding an open house, ask if you can see the garden to get a better sense of this.

Once you’re satisfied with those accounts, you’re ready to take a solid look at the structure of the property. You’ll want to pay for a professional survey later, but looking on your own right now is a good move to make before you call in the pros. Begin by searching for damp. It’s an incredibly unpleasant problem, and it leads to structural issues that may create dangerous living conditions. There are many different signs of dampness in a property. If you see yellow or brown stains on the plaster on the ground floor walls, it could have a rising damp issue. Other signs could be rotting plaster, screws or nails on skirting boards that seem rusty and peeling paint or wallpaper. The damp is more than just rising if you notice the plaster bubbling or damage and cracking on the exterior wall of the house. At that point, it penetrated the home. Increased humidity levels inside the home or mould growth is another sign of dampness in a home, as is a lingering, musty scent.

Cracks in the walls often happen as houses age, and the weakest part of the wall, like that over doors and windows, is likely to feel those cracks. If they occur, it may mean the home’s foundation is shifting or sinking. It could mean, too, that the supporting wood is collapsing because of serious underlying problems.

Learn More about Planning Permissions

After you’ve established (with a basic survey) that you’re ready to move forward, your next step is to look into whether you’ll be able to obtain the planning permission you need to make the renovations you think are required for your home. You’ll need to do a bit of research to make this happen. See if the planning authority has a record online of previous planning applications that were rejected. You’ll also want to look at which projects have been allowed on neighbouring properties. You may want to schedule a meeting with a Planning Officer in the area to see if they would be able to help you get your application through so you can make the required changes.

Book the Survey

Once you know you want to buy the property, it’s time to book a full survey so you know exactly what you’ll need to spend on renovations for the property. This is conducted by expert surveyors, and it tells you any issues that you might have with the property. It will list minor issues as well, but the key here is that you’re going to get a close look at serious structural problems. Then you can better understand what you’ll end up spending in the end.

It’s important to note that just calling and asking for a survey isn’t enough. There are a number of different types of surveys. An RICS Home Survey Level 1 is a fairly cheap survey to get, and it’s just a condition report. It just summarises any risks to the building or any safety risks to those who are in the document. Not much detail is added to this report, nor are there any suggestions.

An RICS Home Survey Level 2 is also called a Home Buyer Report, and this is the most popular choice, but probably still isn’t right if you’re trying to get a sense of how much you’re going to spend on home renovations. It includes everything that’s covered in the Level 1 report, but the roof spaces and cellars are included here. Additionally, the surveyor will suggest some further investigations if he or she couldn’t reach a conclusion on some issues. This is a good place to find the answer to the question of “how much do home renovations cost,” as there is usually a budget for repairs listed as well as maintenance tasks that will need to be undertaken.

An RPSA Home Condition Survey is the equivalent of a Level 2 report. This one, though, is provided by the Residential Property Surveyors Association. In addition to the information on the RICS Level 2, you might get a damp assessment, a list of boundary issues, and a sense of the available broadband speed of the property.

An RICS Home Survey Level 3, sometimes known as a full structural survey or an RICS Building Survey, is likely the type of report you want in this situation. It’s the most thorough report you can get from an RICS professional, and it’s key if you think you’re going to want to make renovations. It is fairly expensive, but it describes any identifiable risks or hidden problems in the home. It outlines the scope of work that must be done and discusses potential consequences for work that doesn’t get done. Additionally, this report will tell you how long the needed repairs might take and what those costs might be.

You can obtain a Level 1 survey for somewhere between £300-£900. The problem with that, however, is the fact that it won’t really give you the information you need if you’re planning renovations to the home. Instead, you’ll need to spend a bit more and obtain a Level 3 survey. These usually cost between £630 to £1500, but those costs could increase depending on the size of the property. The survey itself usually takes about a day to complete, and the report could be a couple of weeks out if your surveyor is busy.

The Next Step

By now you’ve seen the house, you’ve gotten a solid look at the potential problems you’ll experience and you know what needs to be done. It’s time to make an offer and buy the house, right? Not quite. Just because you have the list in hand doesn’t mean you’re necessarily ready to undertake the necessary renovations. After all, the house price and the potential value when you’re done may not reflect your overall investment in the property. The next step is to actually price out the renovations so you know what you’ll spend during the course of the project. Once you have that number in mind, you’ll be able to bid on the house.

So, How Much Do Home Renovations Cost?

What changes have you identified that need to be made to the home you’re purchasing? Begin by thinking about the problems that must be tackled before you can move on to anything else.

  • Addressing Subsidence: Subsidence is the problem that occurs when the ground that’s under the home begins to sink. As the ground goes lower in a home, the foundation becomes uneven. This can happen at different rates across the property’s foundation, which is a real problem for your home. Usually when this happens, cracks that are the width of a 10p coin begin to appear in the home both inside and outside. They’re sometimes located close to doors and windows. Additionally, you may notice wallpaper rippling at the wall and ceiling joints. This is a problem that will likely be noted on your home’s survey. It can be repaired, but the cost of the repair will be the most expensive on your list, and if you need to make the most drastic repair – which is underpinning the property – it could cost as much as £50,000. Most homes don’t require that much work, though. Instead, the average cost of treating subsidence in a property is £6,000. You can learn more about whether the home you’re considering purchasing will need a pricey underpinning or whether you can get away with smaller repairs just by looking at the survey you had done.
  • Handling Damp: If the survey revealed dampness, you’ll need to work to learn the exact cause of the problem. It could be that water is leaking in from the outside. It could also be that moisture is present throughout the home because it’s not well ventilated. Cooking, washing, and showering all add moisture to the home, and without adequate ventilation, those activities could easily cause damp in a space. Poor heating and cooling in a home can also be a cause of dampness. The overall cost of treating damp depends extensively on the cause, and it can range from £200 to £5000. Fortunately, though, your survey will have identified the potential cause, so you can get a firm quote from a building contractor fairly quickly.
  • Rewiring a Property: Older properties often need to have the electrics addressed thanks to outdated fuse boxes, old-fashioned light switches, and light fixtures that just don’t look good anymore. The cost to rewire will depend extensively on where the property is located as well as its overall size. Typically you can expect to spend between £3,500 to £6,225.
  • Handling Heating and Cooling Concerns: If the property you’re considering doesn’t have central heating, it’s a must add. Usually new systems cost around £17,000, but if the property you’re considering already has a system, that can drop down to £7,250. At this stage, though, you could always consider a few luxury options like radiant floor heating to help enhance the overall value of the property.
  • Rot Treatment: In older properties that haven’t been well cared for, rot is a serious problem. Your survey would have identified rot if it were an issue for you. There are two main types. Dry rot is a kind of fungus that damages the timbers in a home. It can cost £1,000-£2,000 to address the problem. Wet rot is when the timbers decay because they’re damp. In these situations, the timbers usually have to be completely replaced, which can cost up to £3,000.
  • Treating Woodworm: Older homes can also have woodworm issues. The costs here, though, aren’t huge. You can usually treat it for £450-£800. If woodworm has caused significant structural damage, though, it may cost more to address the problem.

Once you consider those problems, you can begin finding the answer to “How much do home renovations cost?”. Here are some of the most common renovations so you can calculate your true investment in the property.

  • Adding an Extension: In the search for the answer to “How much do home renovations cost,” this is a big part of the picture. Nearly 300,000 permits for extensions have been granted across the UK in the last year, and for good reason. Adding on to a property is a great way to give it the extra space necessary. The price of this renovation is the second largest you’ll encounter (subsidence is the first). It, however, depends extensively on the size of the extension, how much structural work will be involved with adding on, and where you’re located. You’ll need to find an architect to get started on this project, as he or she will be able to give you the professional designs you need to form the outset. Adding an architect may not seem like a necessary step, and it can cost about 15% more than you’d originally intended to spend, but you’ll get a better overall result when you do. Taking their plans to a building contractor will help you better understand exactly what things might cost. Most professionals have suggested that the average size of an extension is 4m x 6m. For that size extension, you can expect to spend around £26,000 to £34,000.
  • Converting a Loft: Understanding the answer to “How much does a complete home renovation cost” sometimes means looking at other spaces outside of extensions. Instead of an extension (or sometimes in addition to an extension) some people look to convert a loft. This is yet another way to improve the home you’re purchasing and add some value space. The cost is on par with that of a home extension, and it won’t work for every home you see. You need to establish whether the loft is a useable space. If the internal height isn’t at least 2,500 mm from ceiling joist to ridgeboard in the apex, you likely don’t have enough space. Additionally, the loft should measure at least 5,500 mm from side to side and 7,500 mm from front to back to get the most out of a loft space. A small loft conversion can cost as little as £20,000, but if you decide to add a bedroom and an ensuite bathroom as well as dormer windows, you could easily see your costs go up as high as £45,000.
  • Converting the Garage: If your loft isn’t suitable and you’re not quite sure you want to undertake the cost of an extension, it may be worth it to take a closer look at converting the garage to usable living space. It can also change the answer to the question of “How much does a complete home renovation cost.” The average conversion on one of these spaces costs £6,000, but that price can increase if you have issues. For example, if the foundation must be reinforced or walls or floors must be repaired during the process, it may cost quite a bit more than you’d initially intended to spend. If this seems like a good renovation, be sure that the garage is structurally sound and that the ceiling is high enough to undertake this project. You’ll also need to make certain that parking won’t be an issue after you’ve converted the garage.
  • Adding a Bathroom: New bathrooms could add as much as 10% to the property price, and they make a great selling point to the home. They can also shift the numbers as you consider the question “How much does a complete home renovation cost.” You can add a simple bathroom for as little as £6,000, but those costs can go up depending on what you decide to do in the space. You’ll need to decide whether you want to add a bath or just go with a shower in the space. You’ll also need to consider luxury options like a bidet or a douche. Additionally, think about what kinds of wall coverings you’ll want to include. Natural stone looks amazing, but can drive up the overall cost of your renovation. You may want to go with standard ceramic tiles, but understand that they won’t offer you the luxury look you want. Finally, think about the time involved with this. A bathroom refurb usually takes one to three weeks to complete. If you intend to live in the house during that time, you’ll want to ensure it has a second bath.
  • Renovating the Kitchen: Many people splurge on the kitchen renovation, and for good reason. It can add thousands to the value of a home, but it can also cost quite a bit. It will usually change the answer to the question of “How much does a complete home renovation cost.” Most people spend between £10,000 to £20,000 on a kitchen renovation, but that number could go as high as £50,000, depending on what you do in the space. As you work to design this project, keep in mind the basics. Every kitchen needs at least a cooker, fridge/freezer, and a sink. Are you happy with those in their current spaces? If not, start there. Then look around at the space. Are there architectural details that could be highlighted that would make the new kitchen really stand out? From there, think about storage space. How much storage space will you need to add to the kitchen? Is the existing storage space suitable? Finally, think about whether you’ll want to add unique features like a breakfast bar with an island or a better eating space for family gatherings. From there, you’re ready to consider the smaller details like cabinet facing, flooring options, lighting, and countertops.

So, how much does a complete home renovation cost? In the end, it will depend a bit on what you want to do with the space. Purchasing an older property for the purpose of renovation can be costly, but it’s certainly worth it in the long run.

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