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Mythbusting tips for would-be renovators creating that holiday home wow factor

After more than a year of remote working in lockdown, some homeowners will have found their property needs have changed requiring a practical renovation e.g., needing more space for a permanent office. On the other hand, some may be weighing up more dramatic renovations to try their hand at AirBnb and tap into the UK staycation frenzy that is already gathering momentum this year. 

 

Whether you’re a would-be renovator planning a small or more drastic change to your home this year, Sundeep Patel, Director of Sales at Together has busted a few myths about the process:

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Sundeep Patel

Myth 1: That you need a plan to begin with

 

True. Given the financial disruption caused by the pandemic, a lot of us may want to pursue property plans but need to keep a close eye on the budgets. One sure-fire way to burn through this is to change your mind mid-renovation – which is a passport for spending twice on something that could've been done once. Decide what you want to achieve before you get started and see it through.

Rethinking things like taps and wallpaper isn't the end of the world (they can always be returned) but when it comes to the layout of kitchens and bathrooms – with all the associated plumbing and electrics – it's a case of 'measure twice, cut once'.

Myth 2: That you can’t get financial aid for self-builds

 

False. The Government recently announced £150million of funding as part of a new Help to Build scheme, available to those wanting to take renovations to the next level and self-build a permanent property in a section of their garden, a summerhouse, or granny annexe to work from or have family and friends stay in.

In fact, we found 10% of homeowners would take advantage of the increased popularity of staycations by renting a self-built property out as a short-term holiday let via Airbnb, and 8% would let long-term.

As well as Help to Build, there are other options of funding your own build, depending on the borrower’s ability to repay the loan. This could be through an advance from an existing lender, a self-build mortgage, or a remortgage, bridging loan or other types of property finance from a specialist lender.

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Image: Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government

Myth 3: That everything needs to be brand new

False. You can save significant amounts by making the most of the things you've inherited or bought second hand. 

A good clean may be all that's needed to return something to its former glory; a high-pressure steam cleaner is a great way to reinvigorate grout and tiling and can also improve the appearance of PVC doors and windows. Equally, a pressure washer can make decking and paving slabs look almost new.

Some things are worth repairing and can make a big difference to how your property is perceived; a blown (misted) pane in double glazing can be replaced for under £100.

Other items can be cheaply given a new lease of life. Replacing a kitchen can cost thousands, and cupboard carcasses can make up a large chunk of the cost. If you're happy with your kitchen's current layout, retain the carcasses and simply replace the doors and work surfaces to give your kitchen an entirely new look.

Myth 4: That you need to check with your lender first

True. For renovators wanting to get their home fit for AirBnB - even if you have a buy-to-let mortgage, it’s best to check with your lender before you set yourself up on the site. Some lenders have started to make rules around letting periods, with some setting a minimum term of 90 days, which is the maximum term Airbnb lets you rent your property out for.

 

 

You may find that even if your lender does say yes, you’ll be faced with higher interest rates or additional fees to change the terms of your mortgage. Thinking of going ahead without telling your bank? Think again. If your terms and conditions forbid short-term lets and your lender finds out, you could be in breach of the terms and, worst case scenario, could be asked to repay your loan in full or move your mortgage to another lender.

Together | Is it too late to buy or inve

Image: Together

Myth 5: That you need to consider your insurance

True. Just as your lender might be wary about short-term lets, so might your home insurer. You’ll need to check the terms of your policy to make sure you’re covered for really short-term lets.

And while longer-term tenants are likely to take care of the property because it’s their home, visitors staying just a few days are unlikely to be so house-proud. So, you could face more repairs and have to replace items more often, which all eats in to any profit you may make – especially as contents insurance may not cover (for instance) theft or damage caused by paying guests.

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