According to research carried out by Aviva Insurance Ireland, 1.5 million homeowners across the country spent over €11 billion over the past year making improvements to their properties.
While this trend was likely driven by the lockdown, we’ve got no doubt it’s set to continue, meaning it’s possible that thousands of Roscommon homeowners, driven by a desire for comfort and to increase the value of their homes are, this summer, planning to renovate, upgrade, restore and modernise their residences. Fair play to them because carrying out home improvements can be a real tension-builder; I’m still suffering from stress-fatigue following last week’s decision regarding what colour I’d paint the outside windowsills and frames! (Slate grey if anyone’s interested).
Therefore, if you’re planning to embark on carrying out some home improvements, even if it’s only freshening up the exterior walls and window frames and sills, because I know how essential it is to get everything right, I’ve put together my own seven stress-busting tips; I hope you’ll find them useful.
- If you’re on a budget, why not begin by carrying out a ‘quick fix’. We all know that older properties tend to lack storage space, therefore, turning tricky cavities or sloped alcoves into usable areas by simply decluttering them, painting them, and adding shelving, you could create a customised wardrobe, a reading area, a den for you when you’re working from home, or a TV room for the kids.
- Perhaps your bathroom is looking tired? If so, (while still on that tight budget), maybe replacing taps and shower systems, or replacing the toilet bowl and brightening up the walls, are all that this room needs to make it Insta-worthy!
- If money’s no object, then, as this could be one of the largest spends of your adult life, I suggest you consult the experts. A designer or an architect etc., will not simply help you to prepare and plan, they’ll also help you to budget, as in, they’ll soon give you advice around what is and what isn’t realistic when you begin eating into that generous home improvement loan from your credit union or bank.
- If you plan to hire a builder, make sure they’re registered with the Construction Industry Register Ireland at ciri.ie. This is an online register of competent builders and trades-persons and it’s supported by the government. When you’ve chosen your builder, ask for references, then follow up by speaking to their referees in person and ask if you can pop in to view their work.
- If you plan to hire a particular builder, ask if they’ll be ‘on site’ every day and if not, then meet with their foreperson and ask what his/her day-to-day timetable/list of tasks will consist of when dealing with your renovations.
- Call me pedantic, but I’d also insist on seeing your builder’s public liability insurance to make sure it’s sufficient and up to date, and I’d ask him/her for a full warranty.
- Wait until your major renovations are fully completed before committing to buying items such as sofas or beds, curtains or shower rails, etc. I suggest you focus on the fixtures and fittings like new windows, doors, floors or wall tiling, etc., because if these are wrong, it’s going to cost you to put them right; so keep the soft furnishings and the accessories’ budget until the very end… then splurge!
To see if you may be eligible for a home improvement grant or individual home energy upgrade grant, log onto citizensinformation.ie.