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Tips to planning a home renovation

Planning a home renovation? 5 tips to help you achieve the best results

Planning a home renovation? I’m sure if you crack this information out at a backyard BBQ with your mates, you are bound to get a whole heap of advice, feedback and no doubt a few horror stories to boot. Houses and house renovations are  one of the top topics that everyone loves to talk about… and do! And everyone loves to throw their two cents in every time a conversation on the topic comes up, don’t we? (You know you love it!).   

As professional renovation builders, we love to throw in our two cents as well, but we like to think the advice is a little more valuable than most. If you are planning a home renovation, these are the top five tips that we know will help you achieve the best results with your project. 

engage a builder early

Tip #1. Engage experts early

We cannot stress this enough. When you are planning a home renovation, particularly a significant structural renovation. It pays to engage experts and engage them early. 

Experts can include an Architect, a Designer, Engineer, Town Planner and of course, a builder. A professional renovation builder will have a team of all these experts working with them on your project. So, it’s particularly important to engage the right builder to work with you.

And let’s not forget the important element of engaging your builder (and other experts). Engage them early on in your renovation journey. 

Imagine if you are already a fair way down the reno path… You’ve got an architect on board, have some plans drawn up, the engineering is being completed and you start looking around for a builder. Things are on track, right? 

But after speaking to the builder, they point out that your plans are going to cost twice as much as your actual budget to build. Or if you had made some minor alterations to the design of your renovation, you could get a much better outcome for your home. 

But the engineering is underway and your ducks are all but lined up ready for council approval and to build. What do you do? 

Do you pay the extra costs to have plans and engineering redone and achieve a much better result within your budget? Or do you continue along the same path knowing that the outcome could have been better and praying every day that the builder was wrong about the costs of the build? 

It’s a dilemma you will never have to face if you engage a professional builder very early on. Just saying.   

Planning home renovations

Tip #2. Invest in quality materials 

When it comes to home renovations, there are good outcomes and there are not so good outcomes and a lot of the time, it can come down to the materials you use on the project. 

Now, this may not be a biggie if you are doing quick cosmetic changes. A new paint job and some new flooring for example. These elements of the home have a limited life span anyway and are relatively easy and pain-free to replace as design trends change. 

However, if you are undergoing a major structural home renovation, the materials and finishes you use can and do make a difference. 

Of course, the products you choose are always going to come down to your budget and personal preference, but as a professional renovation builder, who has seen a few renovations in our time, the quality of the material you use in your home can make an enormous difference. 

Investing in quality material will give you a much longer lifespan for your renovation. Meaning you won’t have to look at replacing finishes after only a few years of wear and tear. 

If in doubt what is quality and not quality, take some time to visit product displays. Look and feel the material in person. Speak to the material suppliers and ask questions about the products. You cannot be an expert in all things so lean on the product reps to give you advice and feedback on your choices. 

Planning a home renovation

Tip #3. Design your home renovation to suit the house

Just like the materials you use; the design of your renovation is going to make a big difference to the overall outcome. A big mistake rookie renovators make is renovating their home to incorporate all the modern design trends without considering the style and character of the existing structure. 

This is important particularly around Sydney and Newcastle where there are so many gorgeous period and heritage homes that can look stunning when renovated to maintain the character of the home. 

One thing to remember is that design trends don’t last but character does. If you add all the modern trends to your renovation, your home is going to look dated very quickly… guaranteed! And your renovations will be obvious. Meaning that what is renovated will stick out and what is not renovated will also stick out, and neither of these areas will look good together. 

If on the other hand, you design your renovation to complement the style and structure of the existing home, your renovation is going to not date as quickly or even at all. Classic homes with timeless classic features can look amazing today and in 20 years. And this is what you want to achieve. 

Planning a home renovation budget

Tip #4. Be realistic about your budget 

All renovators have grand plans for their homes. It’s natural. Unfortunately, most renovators don’t have a grand budget to match. So, we highly recommend you keep your budget at the forefront of your mind at all times to avoid renovation disappointment. 

One thing we have found is most homeowners simply have no idea about how much renovations will cost. And that’s okay. Unless you work in the building industry, you are not expected to know. 

In our experience, homeowners will often underestimate the cost of products and materials or simply forget to include items in the budget that are necessary to complete the project. For example, have you included the cost of hiring skip bins for rubbish removal in your renovation budget? Costs such as these can add significantly to your budget. 

The best way to set a realistic budget and avoid budget pain throughout your project is to engage a professional renovation builder very early in the process. Yes, we harp on about this, not because we ARE professional renovation builders but because we want as many homeowners as possible to avoid the pitfall of renovating (pitfalls that can easily be avoided).

All good builders will provide you with an extensive itemised renovation quote for your project outlining all the costs associated with your build. If you don’t have all elements of your renovation project outlined clearly in your proposal, you need to go back and ask questions.  

Tips to planning a home renovation

Tip #5. Plan ahead

Where do most renovations go wrong? In the planning. Planning your renovation is the single most crucial element to a successful outcome. And to be honest, most people don’t plan at all, let alone plan effectively. 

It can be a little boring at the beginning and feel like the planning stage is taking forever when you are simply itching to get started. But we strongly advise you don’t skip this stage or even cut a few corners. Why? Because it can have significant implications down the track. 

We get it, you’re excited and you’re confident it’ll be right if you just figure it out as you go along. But in our experience (and we have a lot), lack of planning can ultimately make or break a renovation project. 

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again… Remember the 6 Ps…

“Proper Planning and Preparation Prevents Poor Performance” 

By taking the time to plan your home renovation, you can: 

  • Stick to your budget
  • Even save money – To the tune of tens of thousands of dollars
  • Get the most out of your home with fewer regrets or ‘should haves’ at the end
  • Stick to your renovation timeline or even shorten the time frame
  • Enjoy the journey without the extra stress and headaches that come with ‘winging it’

Why would you want to rush the planning stage of what could potentially be the biggest investment you make in your home… Other than buying it initially. 
And there you have it. Five super handy tips you can take on board when planning a home renovation. If you have questions or would like more tips,  Give us a call today and let’s talk. Or book in for a renovation consultation today.