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tips for renovating a period property in central London

7 tips for renovating a period property

By Maurice Shasha  //  Thu 2nd January 2020
For major home renovations involving structural alterations, commissioning an architect would be a good move, they might have ideas you’d never thought of for improving your living space
Whether you’ve found your dream home, but it needs serious work, or you fancy the challenge of doing up a wreck, you need to do your homework first. Read our guide to seven crucial things to think about before you start work.

For decades people have been renovating their London homes, knocking down walls to create modern living space and peeling back mid-century additions to reveal original features, such as period doors and fireplaces.

This intense interest in home improvements means you might struggle to find a property that you can really go to town on, but unmodernised homes do exist if you look carefully.

The benefits of buying a property to renovate include cost. You may find a bargain as not everyone has the time, skills or inclination to commit to the work involved. It is also the chance to truly put your stamp on the property, designing every room and feature to your tastes and needs.

But, before you set your heart on a property, it’s important to do your research and be clear about what makes a good renovation project – and what doesn’t. Our experience of buying and selling property in central London, means we have a good idea – here are seven things you should consider first.

1: Think location

Location is always a key consideration, so think about this carefully before you start looking. If you are investing time and money in a property to live in, will this location make a good long-term home? If you want to start a family, think about schools and other facilities, for example. If you are doing the property up to sell on, have your target market in mind and really think about whether you’ll be able to find the right buyers to make a profit.

2: Is it listed?

Grade i or Grade ii listed period buildings are considered of national importance and are given extra legal protection within the planning system. Whether the building is listed is an important consideration as it will have an impact on the type of home renovations you can do. You should find out whether the property is within a conservation area, as this may affect your plans too.

3: Budget carefully

Be meticulous in planning the finances of your project and be realistic about what you can afford. Building works invariably ends up costing more than you anticipated, so allow an extra 15 to 20% to cover any unseen extras. Keep an eye on your spending at every stage to make sure it doesn’t spiral out of control.

4: Don’t cut corners

Employ tradespeople who are specialists in period renovation work and familiar with the issues, which affect older homes – damp, rickety sash windows and leaky roofs, for example. Using such specialists may cost slightly more but will mean you retain the character of your home. They can help you choose the right doors and windows for the period of the property, for example. This may be beneficial when you come to sell.

5: Be clear about what you want

Give all the information you can when you’re asking for quotes. This will help make sure your costings are accurate; that the project turns out how you want it and that there is no confusion further down the line.

6: Consult your local planning department

Depending on the type of work you are undertaking, it would be wise to check with the local planning authority. Renovating a house won’t necessarily require planning permission, but it's worth checking first, especially if you’re looking at major works. You should check with your local authority about building regulations too.

7: .. and an architect

Again, this really depends on the scale of your plans, but for major home renovations involving structural alterations, commissioning an architect would be a good move. They might have ideas you’d never thought of for improving your living space, plus they may deal with the planning authorities on your behalf.

Call Plaza Estates

These are just a few of the things you need to think about when planning renovation projects. For more advice or to discuss one of our central London properties, please do give us call us today.

Offices at

Marble Arch
29 Edgware Road
London
W2 2JE
f: 020-7258-3090
Knightsbridge
34 Beauchamp Place
London
SW3 1NU
f: 020-7581-7005