You have bought a new home abroad. Congratulations! That really was a big step to make. However, before you move in, first, you have to dive into some remodeling waters. It is important to get rid of the previous owners' traces and make this home truly yours. Even if the house is completely new, there are always specific renovation projects to do before moving in. If you agree and if you are ready to renovate, well, pack your bags and tools and let's get started.
However, if you cannot physically be there to run and supervise the renovation project, do not worry; you are not the only one. Many people who buy their homes abroad face the same problem. Luckily, we are here to help you out. So, if you need some advice on how to pull off a renovation project in another country, keep on reading.
Find a Long-Distance-Friendly Contractor
Unless you are a contractor, you need one. A contractor is the only person who can be responsible for handling a more significant renovation project, whether it is a kitchen renovation, a roof installment, or something else. Simply said, the success of your renovation project depends on your contractor. Thus, before you do anything, make sure you find one. It would be best to ask for recommendations from the people you trust.
But, if none of your trusted folks have renovated recently, go online. The Internet is where you can find anything, so yes, you can also find contractors there. When doing your research, focus on contractors who have experience not only with renovation projects and managing a team of workers but also focus on those who have experience working with owners who cannot be there physically all the time. You need to make sure your home is in safe hands!
Set up a Communication System and a Communication Schedule
Once you find an experienced and reliable contractor, it would be good to set up a communication system. Do this beforehand as it will save you a lot of time and energy later on. Luckily, as we live in the age of technology, setting up a communication system has never been easier. You can communicate via texts and pictures. You can also talk over the phone or write e-mails. But, our recommendation is to interact via video chats. You can also use Skype, the Viber app, on even those video chats on Facebook or Instagram apps. That way, you will always be able to see what is happening on the site.
Moreover, besides setting up a communication system, it would also be a good idea to set up a communication schedule. Just think about it - it would be rude to call your contractor while he is resting or working. So, to avoid that, set up a suitable day and time for chats.
Hire Extra Help If Necessary
If your project is bigger, that is, if the home you bought abroad requires a lot of work, it might be a good idea to hire extra help. For example, that help can come in the form of an architect and a decorator. After the completion of the works, you will need someone to assist you with transport and other related things that must arrive at your new address in another country. Therefore, hiring reliable international movers is more than recommended.
Think about this 'help' on time. Finding movers, architects, decorators, or even some other workers (like carpenters, welders, demolition workers, etc.), at the last minute is very hard. Even if you manage to find them so late, they will either cost a fortune or ruin your project. Thus, during those scheduled meetings with your contractor, discuss this topic. If he/she thinks that there will be a need for more workers, look for them on time.
Schedule Your Visits As Well
When trying to pull off a renovation project in another country, it would be ideal if you could schedule 4 visits - (1) when you hire the contractor, (2) when you walk through the home with him/her and discuss the details of the project, (3) in the case when there is demolition to be done, (4) before adding finishing touches. However, if going back and forth these four times is not an option, at least schedule two visits. The first one is to meet and hire a contractor and to explain what needs to be done. The second one when the renovation project is 90% complete.
Scheduling these visits is essential even if you trust your contractor. You need to make sure that things are going the way you want them to. Seeing every detail of the renovation projects will not be possible over the phone.
Go For Local Materials and Methods
If you lived your entire life in a particular type of home, you probably want to recreate that in the foreign country you are moving to. It is understandable; that type of home makes you feel comfortable and safe. But, you will have to be careful with this. Maybe the place you are moving to has an entirely different vibe. If you do not try to fit in with the neighbors, they might not like you there. Thus, try to stick to the local methods as much as you can.
The same goes for using local materials. For example, if you used slate roofing back home, but tile roofing is more common in the country you are moving to now, you better opt for the second option. You may not like it initially, but you will soon realize that there is a reason why all of your neighbors used it.
To pull off a renovation project in another country, finding a reliable, experienced, and trustworthy contractor is key. Discuss with them everything you are not sure about. They will be able to guide you and help you make the right choices.