Renovations Advice for Your New Purchase

After Chancellor Rishi Sunak introduced the stamp duty holiday to stimulate movement in the property market back in July, we’ve seen a huge boom in sales across the UK. Head of residential research at Savills, Lucian Cook, states that sales agreed in March this year in comparison to February last year were up by over 50% for houses priced between £500,000 and £1m. Naturally, many buyers will have taken on an investment project, a property to renovate with the money saved on stamp duty tax. Checkatrade figures support this, claiming that 14% of Brits are now looking to purchase a property with 59% inclined to take on a ‘do-er upper’. With the end of the stamp duty holiday close, we look at buyers next steps in renovating their new homes.

Where to start

It may sound obvious, but planning is everything. If many of you didn’t have time to have your property properly surveyed in the race to beat the stamp duty holiday deadline, it’s vital you get this done to avoid any unwanted surprises later after you begin renovating, such as damp. In the same way, we can’t stress the importance of creating a detailed schedule. It’s easier to break a project down into phases, for instance ‘the kitchen phase’, this will ensure projects get done on time and the necessary areas of your house are available to you when you need them. The last thing you want to do is to be forced to go stay elsewhere as projects have all overlapped.

When you do start renovating, a golden rule is to start work from the top of the property down to the bottom, and from the outside in. It’s key you build a solid exterior to your home if you want it to hold up, and this will avoid creating more mess. Home Building UK also advises to never take out a ground floor bathroom. Most old homes typically have ground floor bathrooms so the plumbing is already in place, meaning creating a bathroom elsewhere is not only expensive but you’re likely to lose a bedroom which naturally adds value to any home.

Saving money

Don’t be afraid to bring experts in - a professional project manager can make sure you get it right first time and on time means any other potential contractors aren’t blocked from carrying out renovations and work gets carried out in a timely manner to avoid additional costs - your schedule should help facilitate this. Having said this, even with correct planning the amount of variables when renovating a home means that you can fall slightly behind schedule and unavailable materials can also lead to unforeseen expenses. It is crucial that you don’t underestimate costs and if you need to borrow you find the right loan for your project. 

There are many factors to take into account when seeking a loan for renovations, for example some mortgage lenders will want to apply a ‘retention’ to borrowing - they’re happy to lend based on the value of the house but won’t lend any more until renovations are done. Thankfully, there are many lending options available to you outside of mortgage loans which don’t traditionally support ‘fixer-uppers’. It’s key you explore all options available to avoid restrictions, for example with an unsecured line of credit you’ll only pay interest on what you owe. Freedom within a loan is of primary importance for a big project dependent on so many variables.

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