Step By Step On How To Renovate A House

First off, congratulations is in order, you’re planning to renovate a house! But where to start??

You’re undoubtedly about to take on one of the most transformational projects in your lifetime. Renovation planning is up there with planning a wedding, or starting a family. It doesn’t come without its stresses but you’ll never regret it and you’ll build memories (and a home) for a lifetime.

We know because we did it!

Well, not the wedding part (we’re one of those couples who has been engaged for 5+ years!) No, we bought a disgusting, dated 1930s fixer upper and renovated it to be our perfect, Modern Country inspired home.

…we know all about the dust, sweat, and tears involved in a home renovation. Believe us.

We also coach other renovators with their projects, through 1-on-1 layout and design advice, helpful articles, free informative guides, and a life-changing online course called How to Renovate a House.

And if you’ve not yet bought your renovation property, check out our post about what to look for when buying a fixer upper.

how to renovate a house

Renovating a house step by step

Back when we first started out in the world of interiors and home renovations, one thing we wish we found was a step-by-step renovation guide to explain how a renovation typically evolved.

There was just no support for renovators out there at the time, which is why we’ve created everything you need to smoothly renovate a house right here on this website.

Having a timeline, step by step to renovating a house is something the renovators we work with get such huge clarity from. It helps them to understand what’s required, how long it might take, and it’s useful for costing up projects.

You might be at different stages to others so we’ve split this timeline of a renovation up 4 phases:

Phase 1: Considering a renovation – you might be looking for a property to renovate currently, assessing options

Phase 2: Purchasing a renovation – you might have an accepted offer on a property, starting to plan your home renovation

Phase 3: Planning a renovation – you might already have the keys to your home renovation, either living there or not, and you’re planning which order to do work in

Phase 4: Renovating – maybe you’ve got contractors and builders already working on areas of your home renovation and you’re keen to clarify the order of events

No matter what stage you’re at, the first thing we must tell you is – no home renovation is the same. Houses and projects are all different, so with this, timelines will vary. But there is an ‘ideal’ or ‘typical’ step by step to planning a renovation which we’ll share below.


Phase 1

Considering a renovation

This is an exciting phase. You’ve made your decision, and you are looking for the ideal property to renovate. For many, the increase in house prices make buying a property to renovate a more attractive proposition. You get a property in the location you want, at a more reasonable price than you would a completed property, plus you get to put your stamp on it.

This phase usually comprises of the following:

  1. Sell your existing property (if applicable)

  2. Secure a mortgage

  3. Calculate the sum you’ll need to renovate a property

  4. Secure/allocate the funds to renovate a property

  5. Organise house viewings

  6. Place an offer, get it accepted

We’ve written some articles and guides you may wish to read if you’re planning to buy a property to renovate.

renovating a house where to start

Phase 2

Purchasing a renovation

Here’s where things start to get exciting. You’ve got an offer accepted on a house that has all the potential to be the home you’ve been looking for.

It’s exciting but it is a crucial phase in terms of budgeting and ensuring the sale goes through smoothly.

Ensure you have the right funds in place to bring the property up to date, as well as conduct imperative surveys to understand the building – and the potential house renovation costs lurking – before you buy it.

7. Appoint a solicitor to undergo conveyancing

8. Conduct a building survey and instruct any detailed surveys (asbestos survey, drainage survey, etc)

9. Start thinking about layout possibilities and potential structural changes (to inform potential costs)

10. Start thinking about design possibilities (to inform potential costs)

11. Begin drawing up detailed budgets (look at Module 1 of the How to Renovate a House Online Course if you don’t know where to start with budgeting)

12. Exchange contracts + complete the sale

Again, we’ve got some helpful information to help you cost up your renovation including:

You might also be getting excited for the style of house you’re renovating, say if you’re about to purchase a 1930s house renovation, or an Edwardian house renovation, or even a bungalow renovation. We have lots of guides on this website to help you learn how to renovate the era house you’re buying and get the inspiration you need to make it a home you love.

home renovation

Phase 3

Planning your renovation – where to start?

At this stage, you’ve got the keys to your renovation. Hooray!

We remember the day we moved into our home renovation. We looked around at the floral wallpaper, the giant storage heaters, and the cracked walls and thought… Sh*t! Where do we start?

Some days we even thought… Sh*t! Have we made a massive error doing this?!

No doubt you’re scared costs will spiral, you feel a little lost in the headlights about what to do first. But the key to a successful renovation is planning well, and you’ve found our website now – we won’t let you fail!

13. Get the keys

14. Appoint an architect/technician/designer (if applicable) – our online course shares alternative methods to obtaining drawings that can be more cost effective

15. Firm up layout ideas

16. Confirm calculations with a structural engineer (if you’re adding or removing walls)

17. Submit final drawings for planning permission (if applicable) and building approval – don’t be phased by the complexity of this – we go into detail and demystify the whole process in our online course

16. Mood board your designs

17. Select kitchen/bathroom supplier or interior designer and work with them on design/layout

18. Get quotes in and choose a contractor

19. Confirm Lighting, Electrical, Heating design

19. Obtain home renovation insurance cover for the work

20. Prepare the site for work

Guys, renovating a house is TOUGH and there is a lot of moving parts to line up – especially in this planning phase.

Looking back, we wish we had more guidance as it would have prevented a lot of expensive mistakes.

You might wish to work with an Interior Designer who will be able to give you 1-on-1 support for every point of your renovation journey. (Take a look at our Interior Design service to see if it suits you) However if your total renovation costs will be below £100,000 – a more cost effective route for you would be to join an online course like ours which gives you the tools you need to save ££’s on hiring project managers, designers – and you’ll be left with stunning results within budget.

A designer or architect won’t help you budget, whereas an online course like ours will support you with Budgeting, Layouts, Design, Planning, Shopping and coping with the Build.

renovating a house

Phase 4

Let the Renovation commence!

Here’s where you see all of your hard work start to become a reality. It’s the dustiest phase of renovating with a lot of ups and downs. Crucial in this stage, is to hold tightly onto your design vision and costs being paid out, to assure you end up with an excellent finish within budget.

21. Build the foundations (if applicable)

22. Build/remove structural elements (Brickwork, roof, framing, removal of walls, installation of RSJs)

23. Install windows & external doors

renovating a house where to start

24. Building control inspect the work

25. First fix – Electrics, heating and plumbing

26. Insulation + Plasterboard get installed

27. Install kitchen/bathroom units

28. Plaster walls and ceiling – or install wall panelling (if applicable)

29. Mist coat plaster once thoroughly dried out, then decorate walls

30. Second fix: Electrics, heating and plumbing (sockets, switches and lighting are fitted)

31. Lay flooring

32. Begin carpentry work (fit internal doors, skirting, architrave, built in cupboards, shelving)

33. Paint carpentry work (if applicable)

34. Style & dress the room! The part you’ve been dreaming about!