The ultimate home renovation guide

Monday 19th July 2021

Renovating your property is a great way to create your dream house for a fraction of the cost when compared to selling up and moving.

However, it can be tricky to know where to start and what potential pitfalls might come your way.

Here at Hitachi Personal Finance, we’ve put together this handy renovation guide to help you through the planning, execution, and financial obstacles that you might face with your home improvement project.


Decide what improvements you want to make

Before you start calling the builders, start your home renovation project by putting down all your ideas in one place e.g. mood-board. This will help visualise the changes you want to make to your home.

Start by looking through magazine, checking our social media or even having a chat to friends and neighbours who have undertaken similar projects. Once you have an idea of what you want to achieve, you can move onto planning.


Write out a plan (and stick to it)

To keep your project on track, a well thought out plan should be at the top of your priority list when taking on any home renovation project.

Take into consideration what jobs needs to be done, how long they will take, how much they will cost and in what order they need to be completed. This will help to make the process as time efficient and stress free as possible.

When planning your schedule of work, make sure to consider and plan for:

  • Possible Delays
  • Council Planning Permissions
  • Weather disruption
  • Money Shortage/Overbudget
  • Structural Issues
  • Snagging

It’s important to set realistic deadlines as well as factoring in for possible delays which are out of your control.


Budget, budget, budget

Knowing how much you can afford to spend from the beginning will prevent overspending and any disappointments. Be realistic with your budget and factor in an emergency fund in case of any unexpected expenses.

Getting a couple of rough estimates for the work you’re planning on carrying out will help with planning your budget as well as understanding if you will need to enlist professional help from an architect or project manager.


Finding the right tradespeople

The internet has made finding the right person or company for the job much easier with websites such as FMB, Trustatrader and MyBuilder offering a review-based selection of tradespeople in your local area.

It’s also recommended to do a quick check through the industry regulatory body such as the Federation of Master Builders, the Association of Plumbers and Heating Contractors, and the National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting.


Get multiple quotes and compare

When it comes to getting quote, try to get a minimum of three quotes as well as references from previous clients if possible.

This will help you get an average cost for the job as well as meeting the person/team who will be conducting the work. The references will provide added peace of mind when parting with a large chunk of cash.

Top tip – ask for your quotes to be itemised so you can see the break down of costs from materials to labour to VAT.


Get permission

For those larger renovations such as adding an extension, loft conversion or building a one-story building in your garden, check with your local planning officer first as they will be able to advise what permissions you will need.

If you’re building near a boundary, always check your deeds or lease for restrictions as well the Party Wall Act in case it could affect your plans.

Also, try to let your neighbours knows as a courtesy so that they are aware of any potential disruption.


Decide if you need a project manager

If you're undertaking a full home renovation, then getting a project manager on board will help make the whole experience less stressful.

They will be on site every day, be able to understand the technical plans and take responsibility of legal requirements such as health and safety.

For smaller jobs such as a loft conversion, this will be easy to manage yourself and may even save you some money.


Get your home ready

There’s no point starting any building work if you have issues with your property. Issues such as damp, damaged walls and floors, structural cracks etc can put you behind on your renovation as well as being more costly if they're not addressed straight away.


Low cost home improvement loan

Whether you’re finally ready to convert your loft into an additional bedroom or create that fabulous outdoor space to relax, our low cost Home Improvement Loan can help you turn your dream into a reality. Our rates start from as low as 3.2% APR Representative between £7,500 and £25,000