Tackling a renovation project is tremendously exciting. You’re probably itching to get started. You have plans, drawings, idea boards, and a pot of money to spend on transforming this wreck of a house into a stunning, stylish property. What could possibly go wrong?
Unfortunately, there is a whole host of things that could wreck your dreams, some of which will not be obvious when you take on a renovation project. Of course, it pays to have thorough surveys completed before you buy a “doer-upper”, but in case your budget won’t stretch to a structural survey, here are some things to watch out for:
If the foundation a property is built on is not up to much, you could be in for a big shock once work begins. The foundation supports the walls and the roof, so it needs to be 100% secure. Any movement or subsidence could lead to catastrophic damage, including the house collapsing around you.
The best way to detect problems with the foundation of a property is to pay an expert to undertake an assessment. However, there are warning signs to look out for. Firstly, stand outside and check whether the walls are “true”. Any suspect tilt or “Leaning Tower of Pisa” vibe, and there is a problem. Large cracks in internal walls, dropped windows, etc. are all cause for concern.
This is not an issue you can tackle alone. You will need engineering work to prop up the foundations, so walk away from the project if your budget won’t stretch that far.
Pests are the bane of many people’s lives. Cockroaches, termites and other nasty little critters can cause a lot of damage. Inspect a property closely before you buy. Look out for signs of pest infestation and if you are not sure, call in the experts to take a look.
Read some pest control reviews before you hire a contractor to fumigate the place. Paying a useless contractor to do nothing more effective than spray a couple of corners is a waste of your time and money.
Damp is all pervasive and difficult to eradicate. If left untreated, damp can lead to mold growth, which is a major health hazard. The last thing you need is to spend time and money decorating your property, only for the paint to begin peeling and flaking and black mold to grow along baseboards.
Be vigilant for signs of damp. Rotting timber and damp drywall emit a pungent musty smell. In a modern home, damp issues are often caused by hidden leaks and poor ventilation. In an older property, the problem could be a rising damp or a leaking roof. It really depends on where the damp is coming in, but in both cases, you will need expert advice to sort the issue out.
Don’t ignore problems. It is easy to get carried away on a wave of excitement when you spot the potential of a property wreck, but if you are not careful, it could turn into a giant money pit.