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TOP SEVEN HOME IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS, THAT WILL ADD THE MOST VALUE!!!

Are you trying to add value to your home? This can often be a lot easier said than done. Throwing a load of cash at various renovation projects is all good and well, but if you’re not improving the right areas of your home, the return on investment may not be as much as you expect.

So what are the most valuable home improvements you can undertake in order to ensure the best return on investment? Here are the top seven projects, that we believe will add the most value to your home…

 

Lighting

By adding/letting in extra light into certain rooms, your home will feel more warm and welcoming. There’s nothing more depressing than a dark, dingy living space; and this is something that buyers will tend to pick up on when viewing your home. Both natural and electrical light can easily be enhanced to boost appeal of a room: Skylights and sun tubes are typically great additions to funnel in natural light, whereas increasing the wattage of your bulbs and adding a dimmer function will allow for brighter spaces that can be controlled to create mood.
 

Fix structural defects

Repairing structural problems can be one of the most costly renovation projects, but if you want to add high value to your home, it’s absolutely crucial you action them. Sellers are often naïve to the importance of fixing the structural defects of a house and will tend to focus on decorating instead. Don’t make this mistake, and do the basics first. Ensure you check the functioning of your roofing and guttering, then assess your walls, ceilings, (are they cracked or damp?), floors, the plumbing, and anywhere you can think of that might need that extra bit of attention. It may be worth hiring the services of a builder or surveyor to get an experienced observation of the structural state of your property.

 

Windows

Windows can make a big difference to the look of a house, especially in terms of first impressions before you actually enter the property. It’s important, therefore, that you ensure that what you install matches the style of your house, whether it be modern or traditional. Doing so will really improve the exterior aesthetics and consequently, add value

 

Flooring

You’ll be surprised at how much a new floor can enhance the overall look of a living space. Instead of sticking with your old, worn carpet, install something with a more modern feel. Modern laminate, solid wood, and engineered hardwood flooring are both great choices if you’re after a floor that holds value and looks fantastic at the same time. Quality hardwood flooring doesn’t have to break the bank, and if you shop around, you should be able to find yourself a bargain.

 

Extend into the loft

Loft conversions are considered as one of the most valuable projects you can undertake; and with the vast amount of extra space it creates, it’s not hard to understand why. Extending into the loft is the easiest way to add an extra bathroom or bedroom to your home, which will definitely add a few £’s on to your home value. In 2014, Nationwide Building Society claimed that a loft conversion can, on average, increase the value of your property by up to 21% – so it may be costly, but it’s worth it. Alternatively, you could extend into your basement, or even do both!
 

 

Renovating your kitchen

Kitchens have become a real focal point of a house and now, more than ever, nice looking kitchen areas are seen as a huge selling point for buyers. If there’s one room you want to priories in terms of renovation, it should be the kitchen. New units, surfaces, appliances and general interior redecoration will go a long way in improving both the look of your kitchen and value of your home. A new kitchen project will typically add around 5% to property value, but watch how much you spend and make sure its relative to the overall value of your house.

 

Treating your garden like another room

A well-groomed garden often sits highly on the buyer’s preference list – no one wants to open their back doors to the Amazon rainforest. This is why it is important to landscape your outdoor space well; e.g. by planting, pruning, cutting back hedges, removing weeds, clearing debris and general clutter etc. Depending on the size of your garden, you could potentially install decking or a patio to really optimise your space and boost value. We also recommend that you ensure your garden is accessible and visible from the house – glass doors can be implemented to really open up your garden and create a portal from your own backdoor. Lighting, furniture etc. can also help bring your back yard to life.

So there you have it, a few DIY/renovation project recommendations for all you homeowners that wish to optimise your position on the property ladder and add
significant value to your homes. A final tip from us: renovate to achieve a standard of property that you would be more than happy to live in, and don’t go overboard.

If you wish to book a FREE consultation & quotation meeting with us, then call us TODAY on 02083632403 !!!

Renovating - 16 top tips to be successful

Planning a renovation? From budgeting to working with contractors, follow these top tips to make sure your project is a success

 

1. Clear vision

Before you even think about approaching a designer or choosing your perfect paint shade, you need to know what look you want to create in your home. Successful renovators spend time looking to other people’s houses, magazines, architecture websites and design books to create a moodboard.

You can add to this when you come across new ideas and hone others that might not work so well. Keep it as a ‘bible’ for your design vision and share what you’ve found with a designer once you’re ready.

 

2. Feasibility

Once you’ve got well-rounded ideas for the design, you need to know what you can actually do to your property, legally speaking. This includes finding out if you’ll need planning permission or whether you can achieve the new look under permitted development.

You’ll also need to ensure your ideas will meet with Building Regulations. If you live in a listed building or Conservation Area, now is the time to find out as strict guidelines may apply. You can start your research online at websites such as planningportal.gov.

 

3. Experts

For large-scale projects, such as extensions, conversions or whole house renovations, successful renovators will consult an architect or architectural designer. They’ll have both the design and planning knowledge and be able to let you know if it can be achieved and if not, what can be done.

For smaller projects or internal reconfigurations, ask a trusted builder – such as us at London Builders - to offer guidance, plus consult a structural engineer to ensure any wall movements are safe. Similarly, plumbers, joiners, kitchen fitters and electricians can offer expert advice on specific areas of the project.

 

Seek expert advice before you apply for planning permission

 

4. Check in with the council

Keeping in touch with the council throughout a project is always a good idea. Any planning applications will have to go to the local authority, but you can get in touch before this stage to seek rough guidance on what will be accepted.

Remember though, this doesn’t constitute any guarantees of approval and certainly doesn’t mean you don’t need to formally apply for permission. The council can also deal with building regulations approval, so can organise a building control officer to visit your property before, during and after the renovation at various stages.

 

5. Set a realistic budget, plus a little extra just in case

Working out how much you can afford to spend and what you can realistically achieve within that budget is key to any successful project. It’s a good idea to discuss this with your designer or builder, as they may be able to advise on where savings can be made. Decide early how much you’ll spend on the fixtures, fittings and finishing touches and try to stick to your allocated amounts, as changes to a design later on can be costly.

It’s always wise to have a contingency budget, too. A 10 per cent buffer should be sufficient, but work out if you can afford more than that. If you’re planning an extension and want to find out how to save money, click here for our 10 top tips on cutting extension costs.

 

6. Employs the right team

Successful renovators know that having the best team on board is key. You should start by putting together a tender document outlining exactly what work needs to be done and which trades are needed. Then, search locally for the people you need; ask friends and family for recommendations; look out for reviews online and search via trade associations, such as RIBAThe Federation of Master Builders, Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (CIAT) or The British Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom and Bathroom Installers (BiKBBI).

Get at least three quotes and compare price, previous work, reviews and responsiveness, plus whether you get on, before making a decision on which to hire.

will work to your timescale and budget

 

7. Asks friends and family for help

Know anyone who’s a builder, plumber, electrician or keen interior designer? Ask them for some free advice on your project, or if they can offer their services for a reduced rate. Even if they’re not in a trade, they may be able to recommend someone who is.

Don’t be shy to ask friends and family to help out when it comes to removing furniture, stripping walls or decorating, so long as you can make a good cuppa and have a tasty stock of biscuits. You can always repay the favour.

 

If you’re investing in a home transformation, you better invest in a decent kettle to keep the workers watered

8. DIY?

If you’re asking friends and family to help, you sure better be prepared to do your bit, too. From clearing rooms, sanding skirting boards to ripping out old furniture and carpets, you’ll be able to get involved, no matter your skill level. And the more projects you take on, the more skills you’ll gain.

 

9. Set a realistic timeframe

Just as Rome wasn’t built in a day, a successful renovation takes time. Do plenty of research, finalise the design, gain the correct permissions and find the right trades. And then ask the professionals for an as-close-to-accurate timescale as possible. Keep a calendar to mark key stages in the project and keep track of who’s doing what each week.

A well-managed project will always run more smoothly, but don’t be surprised if some unforeseen occurrences happen to delay proceedings. When this happens, work out the best plan to move forward. Rushing a renovation could result in sub-standard finishes, while dragging it on could incur more expense. Work with your team and be honest about your expectations.

 

10. Be honest about time and money

As well as setting a realistic budget, successful renovators are totally up front about what they have to spend. This will stop your designer and trades providing you with ideas that are out of your reach. Be open and you’ll get the best results for you.

 

11. Decide on living arrangements

Savvy renovators know when to live on site and when to find temporary accommodation for part of the build. If living on a building site is your idea of hell, look around at local rental properties, so you can be close by to keep an eye on proceedings, or ask nearby family or friends if they can put you up.

Make sure they have enough room, though – you don’t want the stress of two families crammed in one house on top of that of managing a project. Take a look at 22 things you only know if you’ve lived on site during a renovation to find out what you might expect.

 

Two families under one roof likely to feel a bit cramped? Figure out the best living arrangements for you if you have to live off site

 

12. Stay in touch with the builders

Once the project is up and running, successful renovators will set up a weekly meeting with your main contractor or project manager to find out what’s been done and what’s planned for the coming week. This will not only mean your trades are meeting deadlines for tasks to be completed on time and within budget, but you’ll also feel fully informed and in the loop.

 

13. Ask lots of questions

Just because you’re renovating your home doesn’t mean you have to become an expert in construction methods or architectural design. Although it pays to have a basic understanding of the modes and materials used so you know exactly how a space is designed, there are bound to be technical terms, jargon and practices that are complex – this is why you hire the experts, after all.

Take every opportunity to ask questions, whether to your designer, builder, plumber or glazing specialist. If there’s something you don’t understand, ask.

 

14. Is prepared for quick decision making

Not to throw in too many clichés, but you need to expect the unexpected and remember that time is money. Unforeseen occurrences are annoying and can cause delays in a schedule or mean you have to dip into your contingency budget. But if something goes wrong, the quicker you make a decision on how to rectify it, the better.

As a build progresses, you may be asked about anything from the gaps in grouting, the depth of door frames or whether you want the paint in the hallway to carry into the living room, so be clear from the outset on exactly what you want – and stick to it.

 

15. Maintain a clear vision

Experienced renovators know that changes to the design once work has started, especially structural, will cost money. While changes can be unavoidable, try to iron out any issues before construction begins. With a clear idea of how you want your home to look from the very start, you should remain confident that it will be exactly how you envisaged it.

 

16. Watch it all come together with pride

After months of planning, making decisions, debating design choices, weighing up costs, possibly moving out of your home, and keeping track of progress, you’ll soon realise all the effort and time spent was worth it as your dream home or room begins to take shape.

Remember, if it seems like those last stages take an age (mostly because you’re dying to move in and use the new space), keep thinking about how great it will feel when you can finally put your feet up and relax at the end of your successful renovation project.

Low Maintenance Gardens

For those who have difficulty finding the time or enthusiasm for gardening, or for those who are older or have disabilities which mean that they simply do not have the physical ability to look after a traditional garden, one of the first things that springs to mind is to simply pave the whole thing over! However, there are better ways to have a neat and tidy garden that requires very little maintenance. Keeping it simple is always a good rule of thumb for the reluctant gardener, avoid clutter and ensure easy access to reduce time spent on maintenance. Obviously exotic topiary sculptures and fine lawns are out, but this does not mean a low maintenance garden has to be a bland or dreary garden. You can design a garden to keep gardening tasks to a manageable level by deciding on which features or functions are most important to you. If you find a part of the garden is not terribly important to you but requires frequent maintenance, then you can think about getting rid of it! On the other side of the coin you don’t need to get rid of everything that requires work, for example if growing your own vegetables is a high priority, then even though growing veg can be labour intensive, it is possible have a smaller veg patch that will meet your needs, perhaps using a raised bed or even container gardening on a maintenance free patio!

We love our lawns in the UK, but there is no getting around the fact that they need a lot of looking after. There are steps you can take to minimise the upkeep, for example replacing fine turf with a turf mix to reduce the aerating, scarifying, feeding and mowing required, using permanent edging that will reduce the need for hand edging, hiring a professional lawn maintenance company, laying artificial turf, plus you can remove any small fiddly areas which are difficult for manoeuvring mowers. However, for some, lawns will be too labour intensive so there may be no choice but to replace some or all of your lawn with an easier alternative such as gravel, decking, paving or bark.

Another labour intensive and unpopular garden job is weeding. Much of the routine garden work will involve weed control so it makes sense to replace some or all perennial beds with shrubs which can be planted through a weed-suppressing membrane covered with an attractive mulch. Once established and covered, it may be several seasons before weeding is required in these shrub beds and even then weed seedlings are unlikely to get a hold in the mulching material and any hardy weeds that do can be easily be removed. If you love plants but really hate weeding, then potted plants on decking or paving could be the answer. Also when choosing plants avoid those which require regular or intensive pruning. Fast growing plants are best but beware of plants which will outgrow their place and swamp your garden without regular pruning. Popular low maintenance plants include the potato vine and passion flower, both of which are climbers that will keep some of their leaves over winter. Large, distinctive plants such as New Zealand flax, ornamental grasses or bamboos in containers can create stunning focal points with little maintenance required.

Quality Builders vs Budget Builders

Finding a reliable building company to build a property is vital and is one of the many important things that investors will need to do when getting a brand new property built. When it comes to knowing how much to pay, this will vary depending on the location, the size of the building job and the company that is employed and also on what materials are used during the building process but foregoing quality to get a cheap deal is never a good idea.

Many building companies will offer reasonable rates but any building company that promises rock bottom deals and really low rates in comparison to other companies will likely provide poor workmanship and use low quality building materials. It is important to use reliable and reputable builders to build a brand new home and it is easy to find quality builders in Perth or any other big city anywhere in the world by looking online. Look at social media feeds, check out testimonials and read online reviews to get a good idea about what the company has to offer and never sacrifice quality building work just to get a low price, as it will inevitably just cost more in the long run.

 

Good Quality Building Work

There are a few qualities that any investor should look out for when choosing a building company, including the following:

·         Reliability

·         Competitive rates

·         Experience

·         Communication and project management skills

Always ask to see client references and look through a portfolio of work to see what level of service you can expect. Investors should never take a risk and employ a building company that offers cheap prices and budget deals, as this will nearly always be reflected in their level of professionalism, their ability to do the work and the quality of the building materials used.

 

Popular Services

Here are a few examples of the types of services that you can expect from a reputable building company:

  • A reliable building company will work to budget and on time
  • The management and obtainment of all approvals and inspections should be handled by the builders
  • In-house floor plans will be provided throughout each stage of the building process
  • A number of initial meetings will be conducted to ensure that the building company understands exactly what the customer wants

 

Quality builders such as London Builders will cost slightly more money to hire than those who are not experienced, who don’t know what they are doing and who work with ineffective materials and this is always money well spent, as it will only cost more money down the line when more building work needs to be done to fix the problems that have only occurred through hiring a less capable company in the first place.

Always compare rates from different companies before employing anyone but also think about the quality of the work being provided, as a good value for money deal is far better than a cheap deal.

Making a Building Regulations Application

Making a Building Regulations Application

It is not possible to just build or create changes to a building without securing an approval from your local authority. Building regulation is not the same as planning permission although it is possible that you will be required to do both. If you are planning on undertaking some building work, you will need to know what building regulations to follow and the steps in which to do it.

Understanding building regulations

Altering or creating changes to a building requires building regulations approval. Commonly, changes that can be done in a building are providing extensions, underpinning, cavity wall insulation, material alterations, and so on.

Bathroom installations may also be included that will create changes in installing air conditioning, heating and roof coverings, changing electricals that are close to a bath, adding new windows and doors, adding a few extra radiators, and the likes.

If your still uncertain whether your building requires building regulations approval, call your local authority.

 

What happens if I skip getting approval?

If in the case that you fail or skip gaining building regulations approval, you may have to pay for faulty work. This could also result in a hefty fine in court if you cannot procure the proper documents for your house especially if you intend to sell.

What work does not need approval?

Not everything requires approval, since our homes will from time to time require minor repairs. Other types of building work that does not require approval are maintenance work and electrical and installation of new bathroom facilities. It is also good to remember that even if the following do not require building regulations approval, it is necessary to follow energy efficiency and safety standards when constructing.

Can another person apply instead of me?

If you are not able to apply for the building regulations application, you may ask a registered tradesman to do it for you. Your builder, installer or plumber can do it on your behalf and they will notify the council that their work will be on the set required standards. After they have applied, you will be issued a certificate within eight weeks of completing the job.

 

 

How to apply?

Through a building control body which can be your local council or privately approved inspector. You may need to apply directly to both of them. Your local authority will be contacted at the beginning.

To apply, you will be compelled to select one type of application. A comprehensive or full plan will require 5 weeks resulting in a decision or 2 months with your permission. This will be followed by handing you a certificate 8 weeks after the project is completed. For smaller developments, a building notice will be needed. The building will commence. two days after you have completely notified the right authorities.

Prices may vary with these applications and will depend on the project that is involved. However, local authorities give special considerations to people with disabilities as they may not require payment.

http://www.thebuildingcompany.co.uk/building-regulations-application/

When is the best time to add an extension to your home?

There are a number of reasons to consider an extension to your home. While adding an extension is always about increasing living space, the best time varies according to individual circumstances.

What are your reasons? Has your kitchen become too small for the needs of your growing family? Has an elderly parent begun to show signs that they will soon need some extra care? Or maybe you purchased your home on a lower income and now want to upgrade some of your home’s amenities like the living or dining room or to add en-suite facilities to the master bedroom. Adding extra space to your home makes a number of new things possible in your home. Undoubtedly you have been told that it will add value to your home, but that can be in more ways than one. An extra bedroom could mean the space to rent a room for some added income or to set up a home office to turn a hobby into a business or give you more options around remote and flexible working.

If you are considering an extension because you intend to sell and want to add value to your property, there are several things to consider. There are some extensions that automatically add value like a bigger kitchen, extra bathroom or improved bathroom facilities, whereas garages are area-dependent and conservatories will need to be useful and usable throughout the year.

Some things you will need to consider: Planning permission: Depending on the size of your project you might need planning permission. Many homes have Permitted Development (PD) rights that cover improvements like a loft conversion or modest extension. Even if you don’t need planning permission, you will still need building regulation approval to verify that your extension meets the minimum requirements for aspects like fire safety, energy efficiency, ventilation and damp proofing. A home extension for a kitchen, bathroom or room that will require the installation of new heating appliances, for instance, all need approval.

Site insurance: Your home insurance is unlikely to cover the structural changes that you are making to your home and although certified builders are insured, it is often only liability insurance, which will not cover natural occurrences like floods or fire. If you intend to live away from your home during the extension build, you will also require unoccupied building insurance.

Timing your home extension A single storey extension can take an estimated 14 weeks to complete and if you intend to live in the property while the work is being undertaken, the project can take a little longer. It makes sense not to plan an extension around any of the major family events or holidays like Christmas, Easter, weddings or planned family visits and to be realistic about how long it might take, so you reduce your stress and frustration. Another important thing to consider is your budget and rule of thumb is to have at least a 10% contingency fund, even if you have been provided with fixed quotes. Ensuring that you have the time and money are key considerations, as are getting clear about how you will manage the foot traffic through your home and dispose of builder’s waste on a regular basis.

 

Why choose a loft conversion rather than moving home?

For most properties having a loft conversion doesn’t require planning permission. From 1st October 2011, new regulations came into force that meant permission from your local council was no longer required saving on average £1,000 per project for each homeowner looking at embarking on the work.

Because of this and the current uncertainty around our economy, many homeowners are choosing to opt for home improvements rather than move. This is not only helping to save them money on legal fees, estate agent fees and removals as well as, the stress encountered when moving home. Home improvement can also increase your home value by approximately 10%.

One of the main reasons people want to move is to gain additional space, this could be due to a growing family, change in working circumstances or simply an improvement in their financial situation.

 

How to convert your loft for maximum usable space

Once you’ve made the decision to stay put rather than move and before you engage with a building company, you need to have a clear idea of how you want to use the space. There’s not point investing in a new room if it doesn’t get used much.

Think about how you and your family currently use your home and how best to utilise the space available. If you are unsure or have a few different ideas a good architect or project manager will be able to talk through all of the options with you.

It can be difficult to visualise the finished space and so having it drawn out for you is not only vital in terms of planning and construction, but it can help you to see how you will use the room.

 

Some popular loft conversions:

Office Space

Extra bedrooms for the children

Master bedroom and en-suite bathroom

Play room or den for the kids to hang out in

You can pretty much use the space for whatever you want to!