It’s important to record the condition of any renovation project before you start. In fact it’s well worthwhile recording progress all along the way and not just so that you have an interesting scrapbook to look back on. Of course, there is that aspect to it as well, you can look back on your achievements with pride.
For a start the record comes into it’s own as a reference tool. If you have to dismantle a wall, for example, you can refer to your record later to help rebuild it as it should be. For this purpose a photographic record is the best option, and now video can be used too, but make sure you get some decent lighting on the subject so that you can ensure accurate colours and visible details. When showing it to tradesmen who are about to start work they can see exactly what needs to be done.
Scraps Help Too
For interior work you might also keep scraps of wallpaper and materials that have had to be taken down for replacement, and keep a diary of the major jobs done each day along with all the relevant invoices. These details will be invaluable if you are unfortunate enough to suffer some accident that results in major damage, such as a fire or a wall collapsing during the renovation. To be able to point to a record of the exact original condition will go a long way to making sure you are suitably recompensed.
Complying With Regulations
If your property is listed or under some other protective order then the record of original condition may help if there are disagreements between you and the relevant authority on the correct treatment of the property. In some cases, the council may insist that a record is made of the original condition of the property before any work starts, though in practice this usually where a building is to be demolished rather than renovated.
The process can also be used for valuation purposes. If you are embarking on a major project and are on a development loan of the kind that releases money after each stage is complete, then the initial condition report can act as a baseline. The mortgage company can assess the value of the property before the renovation has begun and then lend each stage when they can see the progression from the initial report to the next one that is submitted. Although it might not be your intention to sell the property after putting all that hard work into it, the record will act as a valuable document for future owners, showing them exactly what you took on.
Just In Case
You just never know when it’s going to be useful. One renovation project in the Cotswolds was nearly at completion when the owner discovered that they could have obtained a grant, but the council would not approve grants retrospectively. With the help of the photographic record they were able to prove the original condition and all the work that had been done in the previous six months. Faced with this, the council made an exception and granted them £25,000!