Turn a house into a home with these tips

When it comes to taking on a house renovation, there is a lot to think about. More so if it is your first foray into ‘flipping houses,’ or any type of non-stock investment. There are a number of reasons people choose to get into real estate. For some it’s the designing of your idea, seeing them brought to life, others it is purely profit - truth is, it is probably best to be a mix of both of those things. That way you care about the project and will see a testy return on your investment.

But how can you ensure it will be a profitable renovation? Let’s take a look!

Be Selfless
When it comes to dressing the property, remember that what you love not everyone else will. Opting for less controversial and bright colors will allow people to paint and decorate mentally. Your job here is to make a space that someone you have never met can walk into and decorate. And, during the viewing process could picture where they are going to be putting the couch. Think about how limitless a white room is, and build on that.

Work it Out
When you are making your first investments there used to a be a general rule of spend 20% of the property value to accrue 40% profit. However, that isn’t always likely or possible on a lower value property. So, when it comes to how much you want to spend you should aim for around 10%, that way you have more room when it comes to selling or renting the property over a longer term.

Hire Professionals
Yes, DIY will save you money but unless you know how to spot squirrel infestation signs, weakened supporting walls, or wood rot then you’re running the risk of more significant issues down the line. Get in touch with builders and partners and get some quotes together. Ideally, you should get at least three quotes per job that needs doing - and get them in writing. At the end of each conversation be sure to ask how much work they currently have on. Busy firms won’t be in a hurry to get to you. Once you have decided on the companies you're going to work with, get an agreement written up that quotes the price and the how long they say the job will take.

Photo by Laurie Shaw from Pexels

Don’t Be Slow
The property market moves fast. January used to be considered the ‘low’ buying month, but with everyone relaxing and scrolling their iPads over the festive period, plenty of properties are snapped up super quickly. In fact, many people ‘window shop’ properties on places live Rightmove and Zoopla all the time. So if you see something you like, in budget arrange a viewing as soon as you can, because you won’t be the only one on the hunt.

When you hit up some auctions, you don’t want to dilly dally on those bids either. If you make sure there is a cooling off period and have checked out a couple of the listings, then use that paddle freely.

Breath Life Into It
The idea of renovating a building should be more than just putting it back together, or ironing out the kinks. You should be looking to create something fresh and new. Taking a barn and turning it into an open plan house with multiple rooms.  Finding a broken down gem, and fixing it up isn’t going to be a quick process, but it will be rewarding. Grand Designs presenter Kevin McCloud says “Everyone approaching a project like this should spend three years on planning, and six months on the really expensive bit – the building.” - Although that only works out if you have a very big budget, or you don’t mind not seeing any returns for a while.

Value Added
If you manage to purchase a sweet 3 bedroom with loft space, turn that loft into a bedroom. Large garden? Think Annex or conservatory. Ideally, whatever area you started with, you want to build more. A loft conversion will likely cost you between 15-30k, but you will see an increase of around 50k on the asking price, which isn’t to be sniffed at. Once you have the quotes from the builders, you will have a better idea of what will give you the most significant profit.

But, you should always be asking - how can I make this incredible?

Another thing you should consider is the white goods in the kitchen. Showing a completed kitchen is something that most families will swoon at. Dishwasher, oven or aga, fridge, and a decent washing machine. Not only with the promotional pictures look phenomenal, but you will encourage new buyers to put their money down on the table.

Once you have done everything that you want to the property, you should get planning permission for extras. That way you don’t have to do anything personally, but the buyer will be excited at the prospect of what they can do, without all that red tape.

Be Smart
Planning on preparing a 5 bedroom house? How many bathrooms are you going to have? How will you layout the kitchen to maximize space for the right size dining table? Most people won’t be prepared to accept more bedrooms but fewer places to use the toilet or have a morning shower - can you imagine the cues in the morning?  

Walk through the house and try to picture what makes the most sense for each amount on people. Is there anywhere that you could improve?

Not everyone loves gardening, but that doesn't mean you have to compromise on something breathtaking. Working with the right landscape gardening firm will mean that you can create a low maintenance garden, with just the right amount of paving to the green area. With space to grow if they should want to.
It comes down to that old cliche - you can please everyone. But on this occasion, you’re going to try and please as many people as possible.

Hey There Sunshine
Never underestimate the power of good lighting. The more light you can bring into the house the better, but there might be occasions you need to create it. For example in the more significant living areas, swap walls for large windows. Or sliding doors into the garden when possible. Skylights have a glorious way of flooding rooms with light, even when they aren’t particularly significant. Lighter spaces tend to look bigger, so it is worth the time to get a professional in to talk about how to make it work.

Clean Up Your Act
Cleanliness is nice, but gleaming is better. Make sure your windows are shiny and clear. The carpets are plush and clean. No dust in the corners and not a mark on the walls. Once you’ve got the property looking all new and beautiful - you’re ready to show it off.

After every open house, you’re going to need to clean the floor and handles that have been walked on or touched.

Keep the garden swept down, and the path and driveways clear too - because your dream home probably didn’t have a muddy footprint on the carpet.

Knock, Knock
Who's there? A potential buyer! On the walk up to your door, have some neatly trimmed evergreens, in pots. Install some lighting along the paving so that if you have late viewings or are showing the house in the winter months, your visitors will already feel welcome. And it makes sure that they won’t be tripping over on your watch.

Around the door, itself put some seasonal flowers, something bright and welcoming. It is a simple touch, but it is elegant and adds a touch of hominess.

One of the most significant impacts you can make is a floor to ceiling door. They look grand, and often will be something people remember as they aren’t all that common. This is one of those jobs that you could do yourself without too much expense - but as it is the first thing people will see, why risk it?

Throw in something unexpected. A swimming pool, a tree house, a basement conversion into the perfect playroom or office. Throw in something fun, unusual but not too wacky… like a shark sticking out of the roof or anything.

Renovating a house to make a profit isn’t an overnight process, and there aren’t any quick routes to producing something that is safe and beautiful. It is a fine line between putting your personal touches and making it suitable for someone else to walk into and say ‘home.’ Much like other investments, what you put in, you might not get back if you don’t pay attention to the little details. A small piece of you will be in every house that you turn into a forever home or great rental, and hopefully, that will show in the delight of the new owners and those numbers in your bank account. Don’t invest more money than you actually have to use on a project like this that is a quick route into serious debt.

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