5 Things to Consider Before Starting A Home Reno
Whether you’re wanting to upgrade a dated bathroom or add a whole second level onto your house, there are a few key things to consider before committing to a home renovation.
Here are five questions you need to ask yourself before kicking off any home improvement project to ensure it runs smoothly and that you achieve a good result.
1. What do you want?
Before getting out the sledgehammer and getting stuck into those ugly bathroom tiles, it’s so important to have concrete goals and a clear outlook on exactly what you desire from the renovation. Write these down so you stay on track when planning and to refer to throughout the project.
Use home magazines, interior design blogs and websites like Pinterest, Houzz and Instagram to search for inspiration. Keep an eye out for recurring themes and then settle on up to three key styles or looks you want to emulate in your new spaces.
Next, draw up plans of each room you want to refurbish to make sure you have a vision of exactly how you want each area to be transformed and what needs to be done. Do this yourself using a design app such as Home Design 3D, Room Planner LE or MagicPlan. Alternatively, an architect or contractor will draw up detailed plans for you.
2. Can we afford it?
Once you’ve decided what you want to achieve, you need to figure out if you can afford to do everything you want all at once or whether you’ll have to renovate in several stages.
To figure this out you’ll need to obtain quotes from a builder, engineer, architect, quantity surveyor, plumber, electrician, tiler etc. to see what you’re in for. Get several estimates before settling on any trades to make sure you get the best deal.
It’s smart to add a contingency fund (approx. 20 per cent of your total budget) to your caddy for those unexpected issues that are bound to arise. Also, don’t forget if you’re planning to move out during the reno to factor the cost of rental accommodation into your budget.
You also need to think about the time commitment involved in doing a renovation. Will you be able to continue to work full time throughout the reno or will you need take leave to oversee the project? Will you outsource your project managing to a trusted friend or hire a builder to do it for you?
3. Should I stay or should I go?
On one hand, renovating is messy, noisy and sometimes it’s just too inconvenient and dangerous to continue living in a home undergoing construction, especially with kids and pets running around. If this is the case moving out temporarily is probably for the best.
Ask to move in with a friend or family member for a while to save on hotel or short term rental accommodation costs, so you can put that money back into the reno.
On the other hand, if you plan on project managing or getting hands on with your renovation you may prefer to live on site to make decisions, receive deliveries and oversee the project more easily, even if it means using a portaloo in your backyard until the bathroom is complete.
4. How secure is our stuff?
This is an especially important one if you intend to continue living on site during the reno. You need to think about how you’ll keep your home and belongings safe and secure with so many trades coming and going through your home daily.
Would you be comfortable giving your tradesmen a set of keys? Will you set up a motion sensor light to deter opportunistic thieves? You may want to lock up your most valuable items in a self-storage unit on site for peace of mind when you’re not at home.
Also, don’t forget to advise your insurance company about the renovation before you start otherwise your policy may not apply if something goes wrong.
5. Can we achieve what we want?
If you’re doing an extension, adding a roofed structure or a pool, chances are you’ll need to seek planning and building permission from your local council. It would be a terrible waste of time and money to build something only to face a fine and its forced removal because it doesn’t comply with council regs.
Check the rules and regulations surrounding noise restrictions, temporary fencing and on-site waste removal to make sure your planned works will comply. A good local builder should be able to guide you here or even liaise with the council for you. For that reason, always check a builder’s references before making an agreement.
For more tips for home renovation take a look at how to avoid a money guzzling renovation nightmare, 7 tips to stay motivated while renovating and the pros and cons of buying a renovator’s delight.
Larissa Gardner is a blogger, social media strategist and marketing coordinator at arguably Australia’s best looking, banner-ad free real estate website homely.com.au. With a superb devotion to product innovation, user-centred design and innovative marketing platforms for real estate agents, homely.com.au helps millions of Australians find their next home easier and faster than ever before.