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.
Following Shannon and Dan’s story is sure to inspire families or couples buying their first home. In this episode we get Shannon’s top three pieces of advice for anyone who’s in the middle of construction.
Watch episode two of Shannon’s story
I’m Shannon and I’m from Dublin. Myself and my boyfriend Dan have just finished renovating our first home in Dun Laoghaire. We had loads of ups and downs along the way.
Here’s three things I want you to know when you’re knee deep in construction.
00:00:10 On screen: Tip one – Ask for advice and do your research
First thing is to ask for advice and do your research. It took us a long time to get our key, so we had plenty of time to plan and really think about the space. We were lucky that we had family in the building trade, so we could turn to them to ask them for advice first.
00:00:26 On screen: Tip two – Know when to leave things to the pros
The second thing is you’re not a builder, so know when to leave things to the pros. The first day we got the keys we started to gut it. We were really excited to start and Dan got a bit carried away with the crowbar and decided he was going to whack into the ceiling.
I said alright, hang on, just wait. We really thought we had to take down the whole ceiling just to do the rewiring and do the re-insulation of it. It turned out once we got professional advice that we didn’t have to do that and that saved us an awful lot of money, and if Dan would’ve been left there with the crowbar the whole ceiling would’ve been down around us, so, it was great that we actually got proper advice.
00:01:02 On screen: Tip three – Get professionals when you need them
Finally, while it is satisfying to do everything yourself, it is important to get professionals when you need them. We had to get professionals in to do the concrete floor as well as putting in support beams for the walls and doors. We had to take a lot of risks but we had the right people behind us.
That’s an area you don’t want to skimp on because you want to have a safe home.
00:01:22 Video ends
Tip one - Ask for advice and do your research
Before starting their renovation, Shannon and Dan researched online, and asked family members and friends for advice before making a plan of action. The vital knowledge they compiled meant they knew what to look out for and could avoid making mistakes, such as not budgeting enough for the cost of materials and labour.
Having the right information and advice before you get started can save you a lot of time and money. If you don’t know where to begin, we’ve compiled a list of the eight most common home improvement blunders to avoid before starting your renovation.
Tip two - Realise you’re not a builder!
Shannon advises anyone who is undergoing renovation to resign themselves to the fact that not everything can be a DIY job. Taking a back seat saved Shannon and Dan from making massive mistakes in their home. When they initially started to gut the house, Dan thought they’d have to take the ceiling down and took it upon himself to start the job. When they took a step back and got professional advice, they realised there was nothing wrong with the ceiling, saving a lot of money, time, and effort in the process!
Find yourself dying to get your hands dirty? Shannon advises to leave the hard stuff to the experts, but that doesn’t mean you can’t help turn your house into a home. Check out our top tips for DIY flatpacks at home so you can roll up your sleeves and get to work!
Tip three - Don’t cut corners
While Shannon admits that it’s satisfying doing things yourself, she and Dan definitely learned the added benefits of getting outside help. They had professionals come in to lay their concrete floor and add support beams, among other jobs. Calling on professional help meant they knew their home was safer – which is something they didn’t want to hold back on. Turning to the right people doesn’t just mean getting the job done, but getting it done well.
The safety of your property, and your belongings, is at the heart of what makes your house a home. Home insurance not only protects the things most valuable to you, but it also guarantees you peace of mind. Our Aviva insurance policies can be tailored to suit your lifestyle and cover more than you might think. Check out our list of twelve surprising things covered by home insurance.