Your First Home Renovation – A Beginners Guide

home renovation

Renovating a house can be an exciting, rewarding, and sometimes stressful task.  If it is well managed and successful, it can bring significant financial gain. The success of renovating a house ultimately comes down to good preparation and awareness of what lies ahead. Adopt the mantra, “expect the worst, and you won’t be disappointed.”

Find A Property

You might just be buying an old house that needs a degree of modernizing to bring it up to your standard, or you might be actively seeking a dilapidated shell of a property in need of a full renovation.  Either way, you need to find a suitable property, so look at property websites, newspapers, contact realtors, seek out auctions and drive around the neighborhood to look for vacant homes.

Old properties are probably the most profitable types of properties to renovate as you will reap the rewards of restoring original features such as windows, floors, doors, fireplaces, moldings, roofs, and timber beams.

Old properties home renovation

Check it Over

Before you purchase a building, get a surveyor to check it over. A chartered surveyor will recommend further investigations if they suspect or detect infestation, subsidence, damp, or drainage problems. Always do the calculations to ensure you have sufficient finance to cover costs if work of this nature needs to be done before you even start the rest of the renovation work. It is of utmost importance that these issues are rectified to prevent further decay of the building.


Check for what permits you will need to carry out structural work or work that could affect future occupants’ health and safety. If you need to rewire the building or install devices such as a split system air conditioning unit or a new furnace, you will have to obtain an Electrical Permit. A Plumbing permit will be required for jobs that will alter the property’s existing plumbing, such as installing new central heating, a bathroom or kitchen, and a Gas Permit for work involving gas such as heating systems.


Before you do anything, you must plan what you are going to do to the house. Write a list of tasks that need done and put them into a logical order in which they should be carried out so as to avoid the most disruption and repetition of jobs. An example of the order of tasks could be – drainage, major building work, making it watertight (roof, doors, chimneys, and windows), exterior work, first fix work (such as floorboards, walls, and anything that will be covered with plaster such as ventilation ducts, wiring for heating), plastering, and second fix which includes installing radiators, bathrooms, kitchens, skirting boards, architraves, doors, sockets, and switches.

home design - construction

If you want to add an extension, draw a design of this and, if required, consult a professional such as an architect. A professional designer will be able to talk you through the planning permission process, produce designs based on your brief, advise on what will or won’t be viewed favorably by the local planners and give you a good idea of how far your budget will stretch.

The Work

To save money, it helps to do as much work yourself as you can.  Obviously, for structural and skilled jobs, you may have to hire professionals. Still, for stuff such as painting, tiling, demolishing, sanding, removing wallpaper, etc., you are wise to do this yourself.

Ensure the tradespeople you hire are reliable and carry out their work to a high standard. You do not want to waste time and money on sub-standard contractors who might charge less initially but will cost you dearly in the long run.

Teach yourself new skills by watching YouTube videos, reading books, or even enroll in a college class. If you enjoy this renovation and it is successful, gaining qualifications in areas such as plumbing, decorating, carpet fitting, kitchen installation, tiling, or carpentry will be beneficial in the long term if you wish to start a portfolio of renovations.

DIY home repair

The End

When all the major work is done – your house is floored, plastered, and painted, it is time to think about the fun stuff, such as choosing a kitchen or bathroom suite.  Hopefully, you are still within your budget, and you can reward your hard efforts by buying a few luxuries for your achievement. If you plan to sell the house, consider offering buyers a blank canvas and decorating in neutral tones and a simple, clean bathroom and kitchen design. The buyer will want to put their own stamp on it.

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