Before you start
If you are planning to renovate a property for the first time it is absolutely vital that you pay due diligence to immediate imperatives.
1 Do not take risks with structural integrities unless you have a big enough budget to overcome massive cracks in walls and the associated potential costs of subsidence, like under-pinning. Older properties may have infestations such as wood rot that you cannot immediately identify. A survey is almost always advisable. The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors www.rics.org/uk will have a list of members in your area.
2 It is often difficult, but we all have to try to not get too emotionally attached to a property while out viewing. It might be near to a train station to work, but that’s not a good enough justification to buy it. It may have a beautiful view, but what about the housing estate the local newspaper has just said is going to be built in front of it?
3 Do your sums. Using as much information as you can gather, attempt to come up with approximate costs of renovation. Some suggest that you should then add 10-20% to your guesstimate. We have tried to provide as much guidance as we can on this website.
4 You will need to find out if the renovation will require planning permission, building regulations approval or listed buildings consent for any areas of the works as soon as you can. You do not want weeks of delay cropping up later in the project while waiting to hear back from local authorities.
5 If in doubt, opt out.