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Essential Tips For Tackling Home Repairs For Your Property Abroad

Home Repairs
Do you have a second home abroad you want to renovate, or have you bought a fixer-upper property, and now you want to revamp it?  Buying a Fixer-Upper is one excellent way to afford a property that could have otherwise been extremely expensive to buy in its prime condition. It’s also much cheaper than starting to build one from scratch.


Written exclusively for Expat Network by Victoria Berman of AvocadoPesto


However, renovating a fixer-upper abroad can be a nightmare, especially if you don’t plan for it adequately. The process has many challenges from finding the right person for the job, keeping track of the job progress, to getting planning permissions to renovate it.

Before you commence with the project, do your homework well to avoid any unanticipated issues. Here are essential tips for handling a home repair abroad:


Set up a Budget

The cost of renovation depends on a lots of things. These can range from the reason for the improvement, extent of the ruins, and the structures used to build among others.

Create a budget for the cost of the contractors, materials, consultancy, and miscellaneous expenses. Keep 10% to 20% of the entire project cost as a reserve to handle any eventualities. Moreover, consider the effect of the currency exchange rate.

Cost estimation is better if done before buying a fixer-upper house if you plan to resell. If you want to make a reasonable profit after resale, then search for properties that will have a higher resale value than the combined buying and restoration costs.


Hire Reputable Contractors

Finding the right craftsmen that specialize in home restoration is vital. Consider hiring local tradespeople, from the country where you have the home, to do the job.

Local contractors can help you quickly get the architect’s plans as well as the local-authority permissions to complete the entire renovation. Also, this can save you tons of money and time.

You can find local house renovators from online resources like YourJobCost. Choose two or three contractors that possess the kind of experience the project will require. Compare their estimates of how much the renovation will cost. The quote may include charges for other services like labour, planning permission, and materials.

The good thing about seeking contractors online is that you can do it from anywhere and at any time. You don’t have to fly abroad to look for contractors. Most online resources reveal contractors’ rating reviews as well as feedback from previous clients. This can help you examine their capability from where you are.

Once you settle on the right people, you can agree on an expected completion date and include it in the contract. The contract must be signed by both parties. Make sure that you read the fine print before you sign.

Finally, discuss your plans with them in detail. When they buy the materials, ask to see the receipts for accountability and transparency.


Check for Structural Issues

When renovating any house, it’s vital to study the architectural plan to understand how renovation in one area will affect the other. For example, a bathroom renovation may affect the entire house plumbing.

Home repairs

When dealing with a fixer-upper, it’s good to note that structural issues are rampant in older homes or places with adverse weather conditions. Consulting with a structural engineer can help spot the property structural issues. It’s essential to understand how to alter the property while retaining its character.

Since older homes have more structural problems, they cost more to renovate. If you buy a ruined aged property, then you may have to spend more to refurbish it.

It’s vital to search for the history of the house before you even purchase it. Find out when and why it was abandoned (better before purchasing it). Some buildings may have been abandoned due to structural issues like buildings in swampy regions, or the place was too dry.

Buildings located in places that experience extreme climatic conditions experience more structural problems. For example, dry weather causes cracks as the soil below the walls and floors shrink, due to lack of water. This leads to wall instability, which in turn causes movements that crack the fabric of the building.

If the roofing leaks due to heavy rains or aging roofs, they decay the interiors of the timber, leading to collapse.


The Role you can Play in the Project

Do you plan flying abroad to supervise the renovation project?  Are you going to outsource the work to someone else?

When renovating a home abroad, there are many roles that you can play as the owner. Some homeowners prefer to supervise the work to completion.

Examine the impact of your role on the project. Supervision may be interpreted as control and micromanagement. Some contractors prefer to do their work unsupervised for better results. This means that it requires less time spent on the site. The most efficient way to determine what the contractors prefer is by talking to them.

If you still would love to be around to assess the progress, make sure that you do it sparingly. You can show up occasionally, avoiding unnecessary visits. This will give the contractors the freedom they desire, as well as offer you insights into the project without you appearing to be a micromanager.


Key Takeaway

Renovating a house abroad is both expensive and time-consuming. While most investors purchase upper fixer houses overseas for resale, or to rent out, when renovating, always consider the value it will offer in the end. You want to make sure that you can get back your return on investment. These tips can come in handy when planning for a renovation overseas.



Vicky is a Food & Lifestyle Blogger at AvocadoPesto.com, where she specializes in healthy living and health cooking. She is also a world traveler and has visited over 60 countries.