First Time Home Renovator? What To Know

Home renovation is an exhilarating, frustrating, emotional, challenging, and often addictive process. The journey of seeing a house go from unloved wreck to home of your dreams is a feeling quite unlike anything else. Getting there can be quite the ride, but you may find that you love the end result so much you’re soon itching for your next big project. There are many reasons to renovate an older home. Generally speaking, you can get much more for your money and it may enable you to buy a bigger plot or in a nicer area that would normally have been just out of your budget.

If the property is liveable, you can then give yourself some extra time to save up the money needed for construction work. It can also prove a good investment – if you buy at the right price and are able to make the renovation budget work, and you don’t overdevelop the property when it comes time to sell hopefully you will have made a profit. It’s also a chance to design and develop a home exactly as you want it, specific to all your own needs and preferences. There are a lot of plus points to renovating your first home. On the other hand, being prepared is everything, or first-time renovation projects can be quite a shock. The expense, noise, mess, unexpected problems, and missed deadlines can be enough to put some people off for life. So how do you get ready for renovation if you’ve never done it before? And what do more experienced home renovators wish they had known before their first project?

Photo by Rene Asmussen on

It may not be very romantic to hear, but everything within your project is driven by one factor: budget. There’s no denying the extensively redeveloping property is hugely expensive, so understanding from the outset exactly what your renovation budget is, and estimating realistically are vital. After all, no one wants to run out of cash part way through a building project. It’s quite likely you may have to scale back some of your expectations, especially on a first project, when you’re unlikely to have huge cash reserves to fall back on. Plan out the projects you want to do in phases, in order of how urgent they are. You may have to wait a while between phases if you need to save up more money or secure a loan for the building works. Keep a close eye on the budget during the project and remember that the small things can be expensive and quickly add up.

Decide in advance what features of the renovation are an absolute deal-breaker for you, and what you will be prepared to compromise on if you have to. Always create a contingency fund. It’s likely that there may be unforeseen issues that pop up during the course of the project – especially with older properties – that you haven’t budgeted for, so this margin could save you. You may find yourself having to pay for additional structural work, new electrics, or even things like local pest control. And if by some miracle, you don’t spend it, it can be spare cash to spend on the final decorative touches. Remember that it is possible to save money on a home renovation. Learning to DIY some of the slightly easier bits yourself can be very cost-effective, so jobs such as painting, adding skirting, etc are all easy wins. Shop around for everything, from equipment hire to kitchens, to get the best price, and consider what preloved elements you could either reuse from the original property or source elsewhere.

The key to a successful renovation is to find a new layout that works. You will either be working within the original floorplan of the house, but with the option to remove and add walls and reconfigure the space – or you may be extending your home to add on additional space. You’ll be surprised what the right layout change can do to transform both the feel and the usability of a property – for example, opening up a maze of little rooms to form a free-flowing, open-plan space. If you do want to keep smaller rooms, there are lots of tricks to make them appear more spacious, from the clever placement of mirrors to dressing the windows so that they look taller and choosing paint techniques that make the room look bigger. 

It’s a time in your life you will always remember, so be prepared, do your research and embrace the chaos – your ideal home is now within reach.

This is a collaborative post.


One comment

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s