Home renovations involve many aspects that you may not be familiar with as a new homeowner, from hiring a qualified contractor to obtaining the right planning and building approvals.
So, before you tackle any home improvement project, it’s important to make sure you have a clear idea of what to expect and create a detailed plan that covers everything from your budget to timeline.
Asking yourself the following questions will help you ensure that all bases have been covered.
1. Why are you renovating?
There are many different reasons for renovating, from wanting to increase your home’s value to utilising your space more efficiently. So, if you want your efforts to pay off, it’s important to figure out what your long-term goals are.
For example, if you’re looking to sell your home fairly soon, you’ll want to focus on basic home improvements that add value and increase curb appeal. But if your long-term goal is to stay put, you can consider extras that will make your home more comfortable and suit your personal tastes.
2. Have you set a realistic budget?
The cost of different types of renovations can vary widely depending on the size of the home and the materials used. Research shows that bathroom and kitchen renovations are the most expensive, costing between $10,000 and $45,000, whereas garden and deck projects are a lot more affordable.
Before you begin any home improvement project, it’s important to do your research and get estimates from a few different builders so you can set a realistic budget and create a buffer to cover any unexpected expenses.
3. Should you DIY or not?
Tackling parts of the renovation on your own can be a good way to save money, but before you decide to DIY, you should consider whether you have the skills, tools and time required to do a good job.
A poorly executed DIY job can actually end up costing you more in the long run, because you’ll have to hire a professional to come in, undo your work and start from scratch. Of course, this isn’t to say that DIYers can never do a good job, but unless you have prior experience with tiling or plumbing, you should seriously consider whether it would be worth your time and effort.
4. Will you need to relocate?
Dealing with excess dust, mess and noise can become extremely stressful after a few days, so you may need to relocate until the bulk of the work has been completed.
Find out whether any of your friends or relatives would be able to put you up for a few weeks or look into affordable housing options like Airbnb. Even if you yourself won’t be relocating, you should consider finding a temporary home for your pets, as the noise and confusion can be unsettling for them and they could get in the way or be injured.
5. Has your contractor been vetted?
Before hiring a contractor, you need to be certain that he or she is skilled and experienced enough to do a good job. One of the best ways to find a good contractor is through word of mouth, but if you can’t get a recommendation, take a look at the contractor’s portfolio to get a feel for the quality of their work. You can also call up one or two of their previous clients and check for reviews online.
6. Will you need council approval?
One very important thing to consider beforehand is whether you’ll need council approval. Smaller renovations often fall under exempt development, and those that have a low impact and comply with planning and building controls may qualify for complying development. If in doubt, visit your local council to discuss your proposed renovations or ask your contractor for guidance.
7. How realistic is your timeframe?
Just like with your budget, it’s important to make sure you’ve set a realistic timeframe for your renovation in order to avoid unnecessary stress and hassle.
Of course, the timeframe will depend a lot on the scale of your renovations and whether you’ll first need council approval, so do some research of your own and then talk to your contractor to come up with a realistic plan.
8. Have you considered all the details?
There are countless details involved in any renovation, and before you begin you’ll already need to have chosen your design and decided on smaller details like colour schemes and style.
So if you know you want to renovate your kitchen but aren’t sure what you want it to look like, spend some time reading design magazines and visiting showrooms to collect samples. Pinterest can also be a good source of inspiration and will help you keep track of all your ideas.
Do you have any other renovation tips to share? Let us know in the comments.