5 tips to avoid a renovation nightmare

Whether you’re upgrading the family home or adding value to an investment property, it’s important to know that mistakes can happen during a renovation.

1: Detailed plans matter

Planning your renovation is the most important stage of the project. Having a detailed floor plan which can be conveyed to your builder, and making sure any changes to the plan are communicated in writing can help make sure you get exactly what you want from your build. It can also be a good idea to get in touch with your suppliers to find out if the materials you have chosen are in stock, as some specialty items may have longer delivery times and can cause delays.

Creating a document with all of the specs, fixtures, fittings and measurements to give to your tradies is a sure fire way to make sure everyone is on the same page.


2: Get multiple quotes and referrals

Spend the time to find great tradies for your renovation, as they can make or break the project. Get referrals from friends or family, or search online for highly rated operators. You can also post an ad on hipages.com.au or search through Social Media communities, like local facebook groups.

Don’t just get one quote for each part of your project. Try to get at least three different companies to quote on the same section of work, so you are confident that their price is reflective of the industry standard. Before getting your quote, give them the written project document with the specifics of the work required (including expectations, timeframes and deliverables) so there’s no confusion along the way.

It’s also important that you can communicate well with everyone working on your project, so make sure you have a good rapport with each person while you’re getting quotes. If the tradie isn’t professional, can’t communicate or doesn’t turn up on time for the quote, chances are you will experience the same issues during the project build.

3: Spend time on your budget

Having a detailed and all encompassing budget is the most important part of any renovation project, and is the area where the biggest mistakes can be made. Creating a budget which takes into account every possible expense is time consuming, but is an absolutely necessary part of any successful renovation. So do your research on the hidden costs of your project (like council fees), and take into account delays which may occur before beginning renovations.

Unexpected costs will also inevitably pop up, so it’s always a good idea to have a portion of your budget (usually around 5%) unallocated to cover them.

Labour is usually one of the highest costs in a renovation project. To keep them down, add the specific (and agreed upon) costs of each tradie to your project document and have each contractor agree to the cost of their work prior to commencing. While doing this, make sure all of your contractors know that any changes must be communicated in writing to you in advance. This will ensure any changes to the original plans can only proceed with your approval.

It’s also a good idea to keep your tradies happy, so paying them on time, every time is a must.


4: Communication is Key

After finding the right tradies (at the right price) make sure you keep communicating throughout the build. Continually speaking to your detailed plan is a good way to make sure that you and your contractors are on the same page, and working towards the same goals for your renovation project.

But remember to make sure you always communicate in a respectful manner… because nobody likes an overbearing boss.

5: Learn to compromise

It can be a hard pill to swallow, but sometime your initial expectations will not fit into your budget or build requirements. Managing your expectations and the ability to compromise will go a long way to ensuring any issues throughout the project are managed effectively and in the best interests of the project and the outcome.

Pick your battles when it comes to compromises. There will be times to fight for your ideas, and times when the tradies will know best. Compromise is a 2-way street, and small amounts can go a long way.

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