When you’re looking to buy a property, you may not always want to buy a pristine, ready to move into home. A lot of people actually prefer finding a ‘fixer upper’ and renovating it so that it’s liveable again. This strategy means you can get a great price on a property, because a lot of work needs to go into it, and you have the chance to turn that ‘shell’ into whatever you want it to be. So short of building your own, it’s the best way to customise your home. But it also means you need to do that work, and for that you will need a builder who understands renovations. To help you out a little, we wanted to share some of our experience and insight about renovations, how they work and what you need to look out for.


Is a Property Worth Renovating?

The first question you need to ask yourself, even while you’re still viewing properties, is ‘is this worth renovating?’ this doesn’t just mean that the property isn’t completely falling apart. It also means you should look at the potential for the property, whether it’s for you or to sell on. A few things to look out for when deciding if a property is worth the investment include:

  • What is the potential for renovating the property? What value could you add?
  • Is there space to extend the property? Look for rear and side extension potential, as well as whether you could convert a loft, basement or garage.
  • Look at the neighbouring houses, specifically at any planning permission applications they’ve made. Have they been successful? This will help you figure out if you would be able to get permission for things like extensions.
  • Is the house in the right location? It might be a steal, but if it’s in the wrong place, then it’s useless.
  • How much of the work needed will be structural, vs surface level?
  • What sort of prices are properties in the area selling for? Will you actually be able to add enough value to the property?

You see, renovating is all about looking beyond what you have and seeing what you could do. If you’re looking to sell (or ‘flip) the house once the work has done, then your focus should be entirely on how to maximise the value of the property. If you want to live in it, then you need to consider how much the property could meet your needs and wants with renovation work. Regardless of which route you’re going down, your best bet is to have a survey done on the property to catch any issues before you buy.


Schedule of Works

In any renovation, you will have a series of things that need doing. Some of those things will be time sensitive. Some will need to be done before others, and some will need approval from various authorities in order to start. To keep track of all of this, you need a schedule of works. This is usually drawn up by the builder once you have the plans done. A good schedule of works will outline every single job that’s required as part of the renovation process, laid out in the right order for the most efficient job – including who does what, when, and for how much. Every schedule will look different, but a typical schedule of works for a renovation might look like this:

  • Assess current condition of property
  • Stop any further decay
  • Grant applications & tax concessions
  • Statutory consents
  • Structural stability
  • Demolition work
  • Dealing with damp
  • Drains
  • Site access
  • Major building work
  • Weathertight
  • Exterior
  • External works
  • First fix
  • Plastering
  • Drying out
  • Fixed flooring
  • Second fix
  • Decorating
  • Final clean
  • Move in
  • Snagging


This last point is one of the most important, as it highlights any little issues that might have been missed, or caused by the renovations, so that it can be fixed before it creates a major issue. This way you can be sure your newly renovated home is just right.

If you’re thinking of renovating a property, we highly recommend you talk to an experienced builder as soon as you can. They will be able to explain the process and guide you through each step, managing the whole renovation for you in some cases. At DNA Brickwork and Builders, we want to make sure you end up with your dream home – which is why we take special care with all of our renovation projects. If you would like to know more, please just get in touch with the team today, and we’d be happy to answer any questions.