3 Essential Mistakes to Avoid When Renovating

3 Essential Mistakes to Avoid When Renovating

Home Addition Being Built

This is the third article in our “3 Essential” series about major home renovations. You can find all the other articles here.

A second story addition or home extension is a great way to add space and value to your home, but it’s a major financial undertaking that requires careful planning and research.

Without a considered approach, your major renovation could go from being an exciting project to a costly and stressful headache.

Using our 40 plus years of experience in the Sydney renovation industry, we’ve identified the three serious mistakes that you must avoid:

1. Failure to Plan

Failing to put in the time to plan your renovation is a potentially costly mistake that is easily avoided with patience and willingness to do thorough research.

If you start thinking “we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it” please banish that thought now!

To start with, make sure you are crystal clear on your goals, and that the whole family is familiar with your thinking. These goals become the foundation of all subsequent choices.

We’ve seen how confused thinking at this early stage can create problems down the road leading to costly changes after the building work has started.

Making changes mid-project may at times be unavoidable, but this is best minimised because the more revisions you make to your project after you’ve received building plans and quotes, the higher the likelihood that you will blow your budget, even if you have a built-in contingency.

Planning ahead — thinking about everything from start to finish — will enable you to have a more accurate design, be more in sync with your builder, create a more accurate budget, and ultimately execute a project that most closely matches the home you want.

2. Spending on the Wrong Rooms / Items

Every budget has its limitations, so it’s important not only to have a full list of ‘needs’ and ‘wants’, but also to clearly prioritise what is most to least important to you.

That list of priorities should take into account the most impactful items and rooms whether that is to satisfy your prospective buyer (if renovating for profit), or your family if you are looking to live with the changes for many years.

The most used rooms, like the kitchen and living room, should be a priority over bedrooms and studies, and the most used appliances or flooring over the ones that are peripheral.

You should also be mindful of the overall impact your changes will have on the value of your property. Any renovation should increase that value, but knowing the potential sale price of your home before and after your renovation is the best way to assess whether you might be over-capitalising.

Whilst this is most important when renovating for profit, it should also be a consideration even if you don’t think you’ll be selling your property for many years.

3. Choosing the Wrong Builder

It is vital that you thoroughly research the background of the design and construct companies you’re thinking of approaching.

The competence and suitability of your builder will have a huge impact on your project, so it’s a choice that you don’t want to get wrong.

Recommendations from family and friends are good, but they won’t always have completed a similar build to the one you are planning.

So, whether you are approaching personally recommended companies or others you have found via research, you should ask them:

  • How long have they been in the home renovation industry?
  • Do they specialise in the type of home alterations you are considering?
  • Do they charge substantial upfront fees to prepare concept designs, or is it an obligation free service?
  • Can they provide previous clients as positive references for the quality of the service and work performed by the builder?
  • Do they have any “black marks” with key bodies such as the Office of Fair Trading?
  • Do they have the right insurance cover?

Always get multiple quotes, but don’t just choose the lowest price, make sure you get all the detail behind what is included, and how variations are treated.

We have several articles that go into even more depth about finding the right builder, including a longer list of the questions to ask, and how to compare the quotes you receive.

Further Help

If you are thinking about your own major renovation, we believe these are the three most important mistakes to avoid.

Renovating your home is likely to be the second most expensive ‘purchase’ of your life, so it’s vital that you take your time to establish your priorities and thoroughly research your options.

As one of Sydney’s leading renovation builders with over 40 years of experience, we’re happy to share our knowledge to help homeowners design, plan and build their major renovation.

If you are looking to renovate, and want to take advantage of our expertise, please call us on (02) 8765 1555 or send us a message using our contact form if outside of office hours.

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