Thinking of doing a refurb on your house? Think again

Our needs for our homes are always changing, so it is vital that we think long-term

It’s essential you plan correctly and consider what the knock-on effect of refurbishment will be.

The number of skips popping up on city streets is growing by the week. Almost every road around the city has at least one house being refurbished. Such progress is fantastic, but it can also have an unsettling effect for some homeowners, urging them to make similar changes to their homes. But before you jump in, all guns blazing, take a moment to consider what exactly you are trying to achieve. You may need to ask yourself a few questions before you order that skip.

What is my motivation for getting work done?

Don’t allow yourself to fall into the trap of keeping up with the Joneses. The work you intend to do should significantly improve your quality of life. Fixing something that isn’t working or creating a solution to a problem that disrupts your day-to-day life is worth investing in. Things such as creating a better family living space, improving insulation or replacing badly performing windows are all worthwhile investments.

Bear in mind that whatever work you do will have an impact on other areas of your home, so it’s essential you plan correctly and consider what the knock-on effect will be. Otherwise you may well find that any satisfaction will be short-lived and regret may soon follow.

Have you explored all of the options available?

Never rush into any project, no matter how small. Don’t allow yourself to be pressured into starting work or purchasing something by a tradesperson, contractor or supplier. Shop around and get quotes from as many suppliers and tradespeople as possible.


Improving or updating one area of your home is going to highlight other areas that need work. Without a plan, you risk starting a snowball effect of work needing to be done. Separate works are unlikely to complement each other; you’ll waste money and won’t be adding value to your home. All this will have a negative effect on your day-to-day life.

Having a plan to work to is especially important where you want to phase the work. This way you won’t risk having to undo anything when you tackle the next stage in the future. Or worse having to design around things merely because they still feel new and they cost you a lot of money.

Could the work be part of a larger project in the future?

It may well be worth postponing any small jobs and getting everything done together when you have the budget to do the bigger project. Not only will you have more buying power, but you will only have to go through the disruption of having tradespeople in your home once.

The number of skips popping up on city streets is growing by the week. Resist the urge to keep up with the Joneses

Bear in mind, too, that because of the abundance of work at the moment tradespeople and contractors are extremely busy – so you could find it difficult to get someone to commit to a small project. If you are lucky enough to get someone to do the work, there’s a risk they won’t prioritise your job, meaning it will take longer than planned. I met someone recently who was refurbishing a utility room. Because of constant delays by the plumber, the job, which should have taken three days, took four weeks.

Is the work merely solving a current problem and will it still work long term?

It’s easy to get frustrated by certain things, but are these frustrations only temporary? Be careful of want versus need. Our needs for our homes are always changing, so it’s vital you plan for the future when doing any work and resist the temptation to make changes based on what you want right now. You might want to go ahead and turn the box room into an en suite, but actually, you also intend converting your attic into a large bedroom at a later date. In this scenario, the box room will need to go anyway to make way for the stairs . While you could salvage the sanitaryware, the other costs will never be recouped. Always keep the big picture in mind.

Are you sure what you need to do is within your budget?

Costs are rising all the time, and your expectations might be unrealistic for what you are trying to do. Without planning, you may find that once you start, you will need to compromise to the extent the job is not all you’d hoped it would be. It’s vital you get a handle on the costs before you start the work. When budgeting, it’s crucial you include a contingency of at least 10 per cent for any unforeseen items. A financial safety net isn’t just something for large jobs, even something as small as a bathroom refurbishment can unearth hidden costs you hadn’t initially factored in.