Many people harbour dreams of finding a property in need of renovation and transforming it into a perfect home. It is easy to get carried away with the dream of that charming period home restored to its former glory but such projects shouldn’t be undertaken lightly. Property renovation is hard work, it is fraught with difficulties and it will often produce nasty surprises. Your dream could quickly turn into a nightmare when your project becomes a money pit or you discover that it is impossible to fulfil your vision.
If you are used to the convenience of a modern home then you should be especially wary. Older properties have their difficulties which may prove impossible to change and which can be hard to get used to. Quirky layouts could be too costly to alter. High ceilings can make a house expensive to heat. Low ceilings with beams can be restricting and small windows can make rooms feel dark.
If the property is a listed building or in a conservation area then there will be restrictions on what you can do when you renovate and you could easily find that you are forced to keep some of the awkward features that you were planning to remove. Even if you are able to change certain aspects of the house you could ruin its character and charm in doing so and that will seriously affect its future value.
The Problem with Windows
Windows can be a particularly thorny issue. If your dream home is near a main road, under a flight path or subject to any form of noise pollution then you will want double glazing and the insulating properties of sealed units. You might also be attracted to the low maintenance qualities of contemporary units. However, if you have a listed building or are in a conservation area then you may be forced to stick with the original windows or to replace them with replicas.
Windows are such a common issue that manufacturers are rising to the challenge. There are now sealed unit replacement windows available which offer the benefits of contemporary windows but with period styling. These can be acceptable for use in conservation areas and would certainly be a good compromise for an older property wherever it is. Ranges like Residence 9 are made to order and so will also overcome the issue of size. The windows of older properties may not neatly conform to the standard sizes that are available off the shelf.
Rising energy costs and concerns for the environment are leading many home owners to rethink the way that they heat their homes and supply power to their properties. Wood burning stoves are a great option and suitable for most period homes but solar panels may not be appropriate. If your vision for the future is generating your own power then choose your renovation project wisely. Planning committees may not share your enthusiasm for banks of solar panels and a wind turbine!
Renovating a property can be a fulfilling endeavour which results in the house of your dreams but only if it is the right property. That chocolate box cottage might have curb appeal but the realities of living there and the costs of maintaining it might mean it is more of a nightmare.
Article By Sally Stacey