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Restore Your Summer:
8 common home renovation mistakes and how to avoid them

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July 27, 2020
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If not properly thought through, home renovations can and will go wrong. We asked our household insurance experts what the eight most common home renovation mistakes were so you can avoid them the next time you renovate your home.

Underestimating the costs involved

Sometimes, a renovation is undertaken without considering the full costs involved with the project, or something is uncovered during the renovation that will drive up costs. Whichever option occurs, underestimating the costs involved will usually put a stop to the work your contractors do.

Of course, renovators won’t work for free, so often this results in half-finished projects. As a result, this can have an impact on your home insurance. As a general rule, insurers prefer properties to be wind and weather tight. If your house isn’t, you might struggle to get the cover you require while you’re waiting for the project to resume.

Underestimating the time involved

Grey standard colour book near green eraser

If you’re working to a tight deadline and want your home renovation finished before you go away or someone visits your house, this can pose a problem later down the line. All too often, the time involved with finishing a home renovation is underestimated, leading to irate customers and harried builders.

When possible, it’s best to add on an extra 20% onto the estimated amount of time involved in the project as this can temper your expectations. This is especially true for older buildings where there are a lot more unknowns.

DIY projects

Whilst we all like to save money, when it comes to your home it’s often best not to be frugal. Before starting a DIY project, ask yourself if you know what you’re doing and have the skills to pull off the work.

If you hesitate before answering, this says a lot! If anything goes wrong on your DIY project, this might mean you have to put in a claim with your insurer that you’re not actually covered for.

Rogue traders

Make sure you research contractors before choosing one. This can help prevent you from hiring a rogue trader. All too often, individuals hire a contractor without much research. This often ends with the project being left unfinished, or even, in some cases, the contractor completing the work but to such a low standard that there are problems further down the line.

Getting friends to help with the job

Male constructor drawing draft on paper roll
Asking your friend to help you with a job can save money, but it often leads to a liability claim in the event that your mate gets injured while working. Whilst your friend might have some experience with home renovations, it’s usually best to hire a professional contractor.

This will not only help prevent you from being the subject of a liability claim, but it’ll also help ensure that the job gets done correctly. And when you’re thinking about getting work done on such a high-value and important part of your life as the home, it’s important to get this step right.

Not getting planning permission

Whilst you don’t need planning permission for minor home renovations, if you want to add an extension onto your house, alter the building in a major way, or add a building to your property, you will need to get planning permission first.

Trust us, you don’t want to have to do this later in the process. This will hold up work and will cost you more cash.

Jobs that tend to go wrong

There are some jobs that are more likely to go wrong, especially if you don’t hire the right people for the work.

Building an extension

Floor plans on table

Building an extension can cause property issues further down the line if your property isn’t footed properly. For example, we often see issues with subsidence that could have been prevented if the extension was completed by an experienced professional.

Undertaking basement structural work

Like building an extension, basement structural work can cause subsidence issues if the work isn’t carried out correctly. This can, in turn, cause issues with your house and increase your insurance premiums. You might even have to go to a specialist insurance company that specifically deals with subsidence insurance.

How to avoid home renovation issues

Thankfully, there are some measures you can follow to prevent issues when you renovate your home.

Get the correct liability

Make sure that you have the correct liability in place to counteract any issues you may have with a contractor or tradesman.

Research companies and contractors

Researching the companies and contractors you’re thinking of using helps prevent you from hiring a rogue trader or someone who won’t be able to finish the job.

Set a budget

Setting a budget and sticking to it will help you understand what kind of work you can get done when you get quotes from contractors.

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