Be Thorough: Plan and Prepare for Renovating

couple renovating

Avoid the Renovating Pitfalls

Renovating your home can be a very exciting time, but only if you’ve already done your homework and you’re prepared for every stage of the project. Below we’ve listed some common renovation pitfalls, and how best to avoid them –

Lack of Prior Preparation

Like many things in life, a successful renovation starts with good planning. Start by having specific contracts drawn up for each tradesperson and contractor who’ll be involved in the project; with the price, timing, and scope of works all very clearly outlined. Next, have your solicitor check the contracts to ensure that every agreement is worded with proper legal terminology.

Wait until all the planning has been finalised before purchasing any materials. Ensure that you’re 100% happy with the building plans before commencing work, because if you want to change them at a later date it will be more expensive; plus, these alterations could affect the written contracts you have with your tradespeople.

Underestimating Costs

Don’t start your project by determining how much money you have to spend: start with your goals. An example might be one bedroom with four downlights and three power-points. Then, get detailed quotes from a minimum of three contractors so you can compare prices. Don’t ever try to estimate the costings, because it won’t work!

Remember also that you need to factor in additional costs, like permits, levies, council application fees, and increased insurance. In addition, will you be able to live in the home while it’s being renovated? If you’ll be renting elsewhere, then these costs must also be factored in.

Ignoring Market Trends

You can’t ignore market trends, because if you let your creatively rule your decisions it could well backfire when the time comes to sell your home. Consider other homes on your street and whether being the best (over the top) house might affect the property’s resale value. What might future homebuyers in your area be looking for? Would it be a swimming pool, or perhaps an outdoor entertaining area? If you’re still determining which rooms to renovate, then stick with those that you know will increase the value of your property – like the kitchen, bathroom, or even an additional bedroom.

It’s also important that the renovations you undertake will support and add value to your current lifestyle: if you have a house full of children and pets it doesn’t make sense to add delicate glass features!

Spending Too Much Money on Too Little

Items such as fittings and fixtures (door handles, taps, tiles, and so on) can certainly be a lovely touch to your home; however, spending too much of your budget on these items could well leave you out of pocket, with future owners not being prepared to pay a higher price for them.

One of the biggest costs of renovating is labour, so make sure you get a number of quotes so you know what’s reasonable and what’s over-the-top.

Building Un-Approved Extensions

Your extensions must comply with all council rules and regulations. If they don’t and you’re caught (which you will be when you try to sell your home) you’ll probably have to pay a hefty fine, and perhaps be forced to remove the extensions.

Of course it’s illegal to attempt your own wiring and plumbing, besides being extremely dangerous, so always hire qualified, licensed tradespeople to complete these jobs – better for safety reasons, and better for your own peace of mind!

Renovating an Already-Unsafe Building

If your home isn’t structurally sound to begin with, carrying out renovations can cause cracks and other issues that might be very expensive to fix, in addition to reducing the value of your home. Before commencing the renovations, have qualified experts compete both a Building and Pest inspection, just to ensure that your property is suitable for renovating.

Ignoring Potentially Serious Issues

Issues can arise during a renovation, so even though an issue may seem small, don’t ignore it. Make sure you attend to this straight away, because it will always be cheaper and easier doing it now than down the track when these types of issues can create even bigger and more expensive problems.

Cutting Corners

Don’t try to cut corners when renovating your home. Use the best quality labour, materials, and tools you can afford. Cutting corners almost always leads to increased repairs and maintenance in the future; so it’s cheapest and easiest to get it right the first time! Employ only qualified and licensed contractors who are members of industry associations, and it’s always a great idea to speak with past clients to hear what they have to say about these contractors.

Not Knowing Your Budget Limits

Know your budget and stick to it! If this is a project you’re handling yourself, then keep all your receipts and maintain good accounting records. It’s important that you don’t over-capitalise on your property (meaning to spend more on the home than you can sell it for) – so your goal should be to not spend more than 5% of the purchase price on renovations.

When it comes to larger projects, make sure your finance is in order before you start spending money. Renovations usually go over budget, so allow for an additional 30% in costs just in case, and make sure your contractors are aware of your budget and stay on track.

Council Rules and Regulations

Don’t make the mistake of ignoring your local council’s regulations for your particular area, and this includes permits. Your contractor may be able to help you manage this, but ideally you’ll still make yourself aware of what’s required and personally make sure everything conforms to local council regulations.

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