Refurbishing your properties can always be a beneficial investment, especially when you need to attract new tenants and are competing in a tight market. However, there are a lot of things that need to be considered if you’re thinking about doing up your property. Below we provide the top five questions to consider if one of your properties is in need of a makeover!
Before you begin, ask yourself:
- How big is the refurbishment going to be?
If you need to replace a window or even a shower, this can probably be done with your tenants in situ. However, if you need to replace the entire bathroom then it’s best to wait until your tenants have moved out as this can be both time consuming and stressful for all involved. If you are doing work with the tenants in situ, try to do it when they’re on holiday so you don’t have to rebate the rent or find somewhere for them to stay while the work is completed. Normal maintenance works, such as fixing a leak or damp proofing one wall, should be done as soon as possible after you’re alerted to the problem.
2. How much is it going to cost?
Do your research on costs before you start looking at anything else. You can find comparisons for fittings and fixtures through a quick Google search. You may be able to negotiate special deals with local suppliers and NLA recognised suppliers will have special deals for NLA members.
Don’t be afraid to ask people you know who have recently had work done on their property about cost expectations for builders and other tradespeople. But keep in mind that it’s better to spend more to ensure a high quality job. There are generally two pricing methods with builders: fixed or flexible. Fixed pricing may seem more expensive initially, but the builder will have added contingencies and you won’t be faced with any unexpected costs. With flexible pricing, the builder will provide you with an estimate which is then adjusted depending on what they end up doing. This may work out being as cheap as the estimate, but there is potential for the work to cost well over your initial budget.
3. Are you getting the right people involved?
Have you used the builder and tradespeople before? If not, have they done any work for friends, family or neighbours? Make sure you get people you can trust to be professional and ensure the work is completed to high standards.
4. Who is going to be the project manager?
Will you do this yourself or will you get the builder to do it? If you haven’t had any experience project managing a building project, then it may be best to leave it to the experts. However, it is your property, so you need to be satisfied with the work that’s being done.
5. What design considerations do you need to make?
This can vary depending on the type of tenants you’re trying to attract, however it will need to have a user-friendly layout regardless. If possible, make your property accessible for those living with a disability or mobility issues as this will open up a wider market. If you let to students or families, there could be a greater level of wear and tear than if you let to professionals, so keep this in mind if you’re doing any decorative work. If you need to re-carpet, look at getting one with stain-resistant properties as it will mean less cleaning and you probably won’t need to replace it as often.
Once you’ve thought about these questions, getting started should be easy. Be sure to keep an eye on the project to prevent things that might add costs and time to your refurb.
Our latest podcast is on this topic and is now available on insideproperty.org.uk.
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