in Business, Investing, Property

HMO Renovation cost for large victorian terrace house

Converting a 6-bed HMO in 2018

We wanted to take on this project because the house had already been converted to some extent and some other work recently completed:

  • Fire system in place with fire doors
  • Recently re-wired with modern RCD breaker box
  • Inside of the property in reasonable condition
  • Upto 6 large bedrooms without doing any house re-arranging or building stud walls
  • External walls recently re-pointed
  • Existing HMO licence recently inspected and approved by the local council

The previous owner had run it without success, we partnered with a local agency with the aim to provide contractor only tenancy, for this we would need to make the standard of the accommodation much higher.

As we lived quite far away from the property we also needed it to be low maintenance the main aim here was for at least 5 years low maintenance. Some letting agents we spoke to said it could be letted out as is, but we opted not to fall into the trap of constant maintenance issues and unhappy tenants.

Before we purchased the property we spent a lot of time researching some of the costs involved in renovating a large property to HMO standard. I came across a few posts with actual costs, here’s a breakdown of what to expect and some of the problems you might need to overcome.

This was a large 6 bed stone built victorian terraced house with high ceilings, and across 3 floors, based in Cumbria in the North West.

Roofing/Chimney – £9000

There was a number of damp issues starting to appear in the house largely down to the roof, we had to get new tiling front/back and on the rear kitchen extension along with new guttering/fixing throughout. Initially we where expecting to pay £900 to put the roof right, from previous examination in the summer, but it came clear after the purchase went through in December that much more work was needed including replacing two velux windows which where rotten.

Finding the right roofer who was able to understand our low maintenance goals and give an honest view of what was needed to meet them was a challenge, we finally came across Richard at Richard and his team where extremely helpful in taking the time to explain the work that was needed, and clearly has a passion for the craft that he does.

The roofer also explained the huge chimney stack was tilting, whilst probably not urgently needed there’s little point getting a new roof to have the chimney stack collapse at a later date on top of it, so we opted to get this taken down whilst the scaffolding was up, again think about your long term goals for maintenance.

Kitchen – £7000

We opted for an Ikea kitchen personally love their stuff, some of it can be a bit breakable but their kitchens are better than Wren and others especially from the look and feel for the price.

The kitchen itself came in at around £3000 but there was a lot to do in the kitchen stripping it out to the brick and applying some tanking to some of the rear walls. Overall for the amount of work done and getting a new kitchen the cost is pretty reasonable.

Bathrooms – £13000

A lot of work was needed here, the house had two existing bathrooms one small and large, after exploring lots of options including en-suite the most sensible option was to drop one of the bedrooms and convert it into a bathroom. Much larger investment would be needed to add extra soil pipes, water tanks etc. Each was completely stripped out with some re-skimming and patchwork. Fitting new larger showers and suite.

A major mistake here was that the contractor quoted on a labour only basis, this not only created headaches with the supplier where wrong items where delivered, but aside from the obvious bathroom costs, the materials like plaster,plumbing etc came to many thousands, doing this again I would opt for an all-inclusive fee, it also puts the responsibility of dealing with the suppliers on the contractor.

Carpets – £3000

It’s a large house and we fitted new carpet to every room and landing.

Furniture – £5000

Again opting for Ikea, it made sense because we can get a consistent look across the house by getting everything in one place, it’s also cheap for a reasonable quality. We looked at fusion furniture and others who claim their furniture is unbreakable etc.. Some of that stuff isn’t the most inspiring furniture. I always believe in creating a home you would like to live in rather than buying the most basic of basics.

For under a £1000 each room that included:

  • full length mirror
  • large wardrobe
  • 3 set drawers
  • bedside cabinet
  • bedframe with mattress,pillows and throw
  • standing lamp
  • ceiling lamp
  • 3 of the larger rooms had a desk and chair

It took around 2 days per room to build all the furniture.

Other costs

Some other costs that came in that might get overlooked

  • Skips £1000
  • Kitchen appliances £1300
  • HMO licence £450
  • Painting/Materials and tools £700
  • TV’s and wall mounts £1300
  • Boiler move £800
  • Fire certificate £250

Total for the conversion came in around £50,000 this was without having to install fire doors, alarms or re-wire, re-plumb it would have been a whole lot more had those things not been done already.

As part of the project I made a simple excel calculator to work out all sorts of figures to check that I had the capital available and that the project was viable, see my BTL calculator

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