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From 20 March to 27 March 2021

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How to succeed in your renovations?

Rénovation image 2

What are we talking about? 

Renovation can be as simple as repainting the walls or replacing old flooring or tile. But it can also be more ambitious when you decide to redo your entire kitchen or change the roof of a house. Sometimes you want to create a new space. For example, a family with a child will want to create an extra bedroom in their house by adding a partition wall.

Some homeowners choose to improve the energy efficiency of their home by equipping it with solar panels or a more energy-efficient boiler. Re-insulating your home can reduce your heating bill by up to 30%, according to Suisse Energie.

When should it be done?

Each structure has a certain lifespan at the end of which it should be replaced. For example, a window lasts on average 20 to 40 years and the exterior paint must be repainted every 15 to 25 years. A boiler, on the other hand, will need to replaced after 25 to 30 years. When buying a home that requires renovation work, there is no need to rush. It's better to take the time to soak in the space for a few months and get an idea of how you want to use each room. The renovations will be more successful this way.

Are there any limits to the work one is allowed to do?

There are very few rules regarding renovations in general, except if you are in an agricultural zone or if you own a property classified as a historical monument. As long as the exterior appearance is not altered, such as adding a verandah, no building permit is required. In the case of a condominium, however, care must be taken to inform other members of the condominium that renovations are being considered. And in an apartment, certain structures are intangible. One of our client who had a wall knocked down after buying an apartment to create an open kitchen, had to rebuild it because it was a load-bearing wall. Its destruction threatened the stability of the entire building.

What about the cost?

The price of a renovation can be extremely difficult to evaluate and varies widely depending on the surface area involved, the age of the structure and the desired final standing. For example, the cost of replacing a kitchen ranges from CHF 15,000 to CHF 50,000. It is estimated that repainting the interior of a villa costs between CHF 8,000 and CHF 10,000, renovating a bathroom costs between 20,000 and 25,000 francs, renewing windows costs between CHF 30,000 and CHF 50,000, and repainting a roof costs CHF 100,000. In addition, it is better to have a reserve of 10% of the total cost of the work to cover any unforeseen costs.

It is best to call upon the various trades involved (painter, electrician, etc.) and ask for a quote. This will be calculated according to the surface area concerned and the scope of the work. If it is a simple renovation, such as repairing a floor covering for example, the owner can also use the various online calculators offering free cost estimates.

For larger or more complex renovations, however, it is recommended to hire the services of an architect or an independent contractor who can plan and coordinate the entire renovation. In all cases, we recommend going through a professional rather than trying to do the work yourself.

How can I finance the work?

Homeowners can apply for a credit from their bank to finance renovation work. The bank will probably ask for a certain amount of equity in the order of 20%. You can also use your 2nd pillar, as long as the money invested increases the value of the property.

However, most owners prefer to use their savings. In this sense, they are reluctant to go into debt to carry out renovations, even if they have to wait a few years to put enough money aside and finance them themselves. If the goal of the work is to improve the energy efficiency of the dwelling, there is also a range of federal programs available to obtain subsidies. Do not hesitate to contact an expert from Cardis Sotheby's International Realty for more information on this subject.

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