First-time buyer - Episode three

Three things to know when you come across the unexpected

In episode one of our first-time buyer series we met Shannon from Dublin, who recently bought a house with her boyfriend Dan. They found their new place in Dun Laoghaire, in the same town where they had their first date seven years ago! Their home needed a lot of work, so the pair decided to do a complete renovation. Shannon sat down with us to share three things to know before you start your home renovation.

Episode two showed us Shannon’s three tips for when you’re knee deep in construction.

In this episode, we hear Shannon’s top three pieces of advice she would give to anyone who comes across the unexpected in their renovation journey.

Watch episode three of Shannon’s story

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00:00:00 Shannon speaking
I’m my name is Shannon and I recently brought a fixer upper in Dun Laoghaire with my boyfriend Dan. When buying the fixer upper we had our fair share of surprises. Some good, some not so good.

Here’s three things I want you to know when you come across the unexpected during a renovation.

00:00:14 On screen: Tip one – If it’s not right, change it

00:00:14 Shannon continues

One piece of advice I would give is if it’s not right change it. At the end of the day, you have to live here. My mum had advised me don’t do something to ultimately undo it further down the line.

We had a window under the stairs and I absolutely hated it. There was too much frame and not enough light. The window hadn’t been plastered in yet, so it was best to take it out now rather than later.

We had to take a hit on replacing the window but now we have a window that is letting in a lot more light and we’re really happy that we did it.

00:00:45 On screen: Tip two – You can turn a negative into a positive

00:00:45 Shannon continues

The second thing to know is you can always turn a negative into a positive. At the top of our stairs we had a really weird little cupboard and when we looked inside the cold water tank was in it. We put the cold water tank on the roof as it is a flat roof and by taking out the cupboard we gained extra ceiling height as well as a lot more light.

Plus, not we don’t have to duck going up the stairs. When it comes to your home you always need to prepare for the unexpected.

00:01:09 On screen: Tip three – Don’t panic if you have to make changes

00:01:09 Shannon continues

The third thing is don’t panic if you have to make unexpected drastic changes. We had a fireplace in our bedroom that we had to take out to gain more space. It was a lovely feature but at the end of the day we needed a lot more space and it was well worth it in the end.

00:01:27 Video ends

Tip one - Admit when it’s not right and change it 

When the glass and frame for the window under the stairs arrived, Shannon immediately felt it wouldn’t provide the amount of light she wanted. Because the window wasn’t plastered in yet, she and Dan quickly decided to take the financial hit and change it. Although it cost them money, Shannon knew that it was better to make this decision now rather than a few years down the line. Being able to admit when something isn’t right, and changing it before the decision is final, is often significantly easier and cheaper than needing to re-do it in the future.

The amount of light in your home is a big factor to consider when carrying out any renovations. Having sufficient natural light can transform how it looks entirely. Our article on ways to maximise natural light in your home will give you the perfect tips and tricks to make your home feel bigger and brighter.

Tip two - A negative can become a positive

Shannon and Dan initially had a small cupboard at the top of their stairs, which made their ceiling seem a lot lower in height. When they looked into the cupboard, they discovered their cold-water tank was inside, and decided to move this onto their flat roof. When the tank was removed, they discovered a sash window – which gave them a lot more light. That cupboard turned out to be hiding a great additional feature in their home!

Renovating your home makes you aware of how each and every inch of space matters. Whether it’s gaining a window or a few extra square feet, utilising every bit of your space is key. From using patterns to clearing out clutter, making your home feel bigger without breaking the bank is a game-changer.

Tip three - Don’t panic

Shannon’s last piece of advice is not to panic – even if it means changing your plans. They both loved the look of the old fireplace in their bedroom, but knew it was taking up a lot of space. They made the decision to get rid of it in order to gain the floor space they needed. While they hadn’t initially planned on getting rid of the fireplace, it ultimately proved to be the right decision for them, and they now enjoy the extra space.

Unexpected changes can be untimely but having a solid amount of savings means you’ll be ready for anything. Although your renovation might be your main focus at the moment, there are simple ways to save money to help build up your rainy day fund.

Keep an eye on our Facebook and Instagram pages, where Shannon will be revealing more tips and advice from her buying journey.

We know that when you’re a first-time buyer, you try to make smart savings wherever you can. One way you might make savings is by shopping around for mortgage protection. Why not get a quote and see how we compare? If you’re switching from your current provider, don’t worry, we’re at hand to help guide you through every step of the process.

At Aviva, we understand just how much work goes into making a house a home. That’s why we’re committed to protecting yours. Buy Aviva home insurance online and get 20% off. Get your quote today.1

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