Rehabilitating your home without going bust | Part 1

The crisis has stalled the housing market, but instead has revitalized the reforms sector of the industry. To have some building works, plumbing, carpentry or decoration is consolidated as the perfect alternative for those who want to change house without moving from home.


In the past three years, the demands for these services have increased as much as their offers, whose ads have multiplied in mailboxes, lampposts and bus stops.


The protagonists of this dynamic boom are on the one hand, people who thought changing houses and cannot do it; secondly, the construction professionals who have lost their jobs and have opted to work independently. So, with so much choice, who can you trust? When is the best time to initiate reforms? Where to start? In short, what things must be taken into account before undertaking a home rehab?


Caution is essential.

To improve the structure or appearance of home is a project that excites many at the beginning and could exasperate many more during and after the process. Beyond the drawbacks such as noise or dirt, a brand new kitchen or bathroom, providing more space to the living room or have more sun light in a bedroom makes it worth demolishing a partition wall or installing a new plumbing installation could be worth the effort. It is normally thought that the end result will compensate all the inconveniences, but ... what if not?


And if the works are being sloppy or worse, remain unfinished after months and months? What if the builder or plumber disappears in the middle of the job? or if the reforms are too protracted? How should we act when the neighbours are affected or there is a serious accident?


Selecting the right budget.

These questions draw the worst possible scenarios, but one should ask these questions since they are inscribed within reality. Any of these situations can occur. And, in fact, they do occur belief me. It is therefore essential to take certain precautions before starting that dreamed home transformation.


First thing first.

The first step before calling a professional is to decide what changes are to be undertaken and when is the best time to make them. To wish an improvement just because it has been seen in a decorating magazine is fine, but do not forget the rational and methodical aspect of the matter. The planning is very important, as it helps to avoid unnecessary costs, setbacks and disappointments.


For example, changing the bathroom tiles and sanitary equipment without first taking care of the old pipes that in the medium term will give problems and perhaps will need to be done sooner or later is not to have the priorities right. In terms of priorities, the order must be the structure first, and then comes appearance or aesthetics.


When should works starts?

Summer months are most suitable, especially for large reforms. These works, which are very invasive with noise, debris, dust and movement of people and material almost always require the family to leave the house temporarily; hence June, July and August are the best months since coincide, at least in part, with the holiday period and vice versa for Expats living permanently in Spain.


Budgets and guarantees.

Once you have decided what it is needed to be done and when, the following is to search for options. Obtain several estimates, check materials, ask about deadlines and above all, to obtain referrals are the key actions before choosing a professional to carry out a project or company to do work at home.


Having five or six options on hand allows to know what the average market price is and rule out any proposal that depart too much of it, being too expensive or too cheap.


Do not rely on budgets that are too expensive (expensive do not always translate into quality, not in the construction industry), but trust still less those that are too cheap, though at first glance they can be very tempting. One thing is for companies to cut their profit margins to be more competitive, and another is to pass the scissors on the quality of materials, the work itself or the finishes. Cheap could be expensive in the long run.


It can also be very expensive to engage a company or professional that do not offer any guarantees. In addition to the references from friends or acquaintances, it is important that the professional should offer a particular work schedule, guarantees materials and the work to be performed. And, of course, obtain everything in writing.


The crisis has made numerous construction related workers unemployed, whose only option to remain in the labour market has been to start as self-employed. However, others take a shortcut by either paying taxes or even signing up as self-employed they want to be paid in cash and provide no receipts. If you choose to employ one of these professionals should exercise a lot of caution. The savings can be significant but should keep a constant check on amount spent on materials, the process of building permit, the use of containers, scaffolding on public roads etc. as these items are reflected in the final price.


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Al ser imposible conocer en profundidad cada caso, todos los consejos y contestaciones a la preguntas realizadas en este blog, los consejos dados son propiciado en términos generales por lo que se deberá contrastar con el asesoramiento privado de un abogado  y/o un arquitecto para estudiar en profundidad su caso.

As it is impossible to know in detail every case asked in this blog all our replies are given in good faith but we strongly suggest that you obtain private advice from a solicitor /and /or  architect who will be able to study in depth your own particular case.