After months of house hunting, you finally get a townhouse that you love. However, there are some aspects that you want to change. Perhaps the light fixtures, bathroom tiles, kitchen placement, and some exterior aspects do not appeal to the townhouse design that you had in mind. But can you renovate a townhouse?

Townhouse renovations can be complex. While some aspects can be changed, some things cannot be altered. This is because townhouses share walls with other houses. As such, any renovation must comply with the building codes and local rules. 

What are townhouses? 

Townhouses are multi-floor houses that share walls with adjacent properties. However, they have their own entrances. Townhouse owners also own the land that the property sits on, including the backyard and front area. Townhouses are a popular housing choice given the low cost compared to detached houses, the low maintenance costs, proximity to amenities, and the availability of outdoor space.

Here’s what you need to know before you renovate a townhouse.

Prior approval is required for some renovations

Since townhouses share one or two walls with adjacent houses, prior approval is mandatory for some renovations. And since most townhouses are governed by a townhouse owner’s association board, renovation restrictions may differ. 

Most renovation restrictions apply to what owners can do in public areas, such as where trash bins should be placed. Also, when it comes to changing the exterior appearance of a townhouse, owners must seek prior authorization. 

That being said, interior renovations are not restricted, provided the changes do not affect the exterior appearance or interfere with vital features. 

What are some renovations that may require prior approval? 

  • Structural changes such as removing interior or exterior walls, adding or changing rooms, moving plumbing structures, and major kitchen and bathroom renovations. 
  • Flooring overhauls
  • Adding electrical structures and rewiring
  • Exterior changes such as painting, changing the roof, changing gutters, and putting up a new front door.

What renovations can townhouse owners undertake without prior authorization? 

  • Interior decorations
  • Shower, sink, and bath fixtures
  • Changing light fixtures
  • Changing kitchen counters or appliances 

If you are trying to renovate a townhouse, you should note that townhouses have different renovation rules. Changes that can be done in one townhouse may be restricted in another. 

What are some of the mistakes that homeowners make when remodelling their townhouses? 

Failing to obtain renovation permits

Permits are a necessary part of major renovations. Renovation permits ensure that the house remodel meets fire safety and structural requirements. It is always important to think ahead and plan on getting the necessary renovation permits before starting any project. 

Adding too many fixtures

Fancy fixtures are nice. And they add life to a home. However, homeowners often make the mistake of adding too many fixtures in the house, making it crowded. Even when approved, renovations that include too many upgrades can lower the home’s value.

Not working with licensed contractors

As we mentioned, major renovations in townhouses require prior authorization. Once authorized, some homeowners may go ahead and choose to DIY or use unlicensed contractors to save costs. But some renovations, such as changing roofs or major plumbing renovations, should be done by licensed professionals. 

Working with unlicensed persons may attract fines or cause damage to the property. Luckily, most home improvements require permits, which cannot be acquired by unlicensed contractors.  

Failing to budget for renovations

However small or large the townhouse renovation project is, it is vital to set a workable budget and stick to it. For instance, when renovating townhouse outdoor structures, you may be required to provide a timeframe for the completion of the project. One of the most common reasons why townhouse renovation projects can stall is insufficient budget. 

Focusing on cosmetic repairs and overlooking vital fixes

Home renovations are not everyone’s cup of tea. Even if you have a good eye for home design, it is better to have a professional handle some changes. For instance, focusing on cosmetic repairs and putting off vital repairs can translate to higher expenses in the long run.

Not having an end goal

Before you decide to renovate the townhouse, there is a need to have a clear end goal. While one homeowner is may be renovating the house to raise the value of the house, another one may be renovating just to switch up the entire look.

As such, the renovation results will differ based on the end goal. A homeowner who is renovating to increase the value of a home will ignore their preferences and focus more on market trends. 

Know your limits with DIY townhouse renovations

DIY renovations are a great way to save money. If taking no simple projects in the interior, such as painting, you can opt to DIY. However, homeowners need to know their limits. 

Even if simple interior townhouse renovations do not require approvals, they can turn disastrous. 

Here are three more tips for a successful townhouse renovation:

Set up enough time for the renovation

You may be working with limited time. However, not setting up enough time for the renovation project is a sure way to disappoint yourself. While this depends on the complexity of the renovation project, being organized can minimize delays. 

Discuss design models with your contractor

To avoid getting different results than what you expected, ensure to effectively communicate the remodelling specifics with your contractor. Providing a clear picture can help ensure that the contractor is well aware of what you want to be done. 

Do your research

The process of home renovations can be a time-consuming and expensive venture. Doing sufficient research from landscapers, architects, interior designers, and contractors can help bring your dream to reality.