Renovating can be both exciting and harrowing, depending on your level of experience. As with any large project, the amount of preparation you put in will go a long way to shaping your experience. For first time renovators, there can be a number of pitfalls to watch out for. Failure to plan for these can quickly turn the average home renovation from a dream into a nightmare. Here, we take a look at the top regrets of first time renovators (and how to avoid them) in the hope that you can be well prepared to take on your next (or first) renovation project.
Expecting to be a DIY master
Shows like The Block and House Rules, while thrilling to watch, can often give would-be renovators the idea that taking on a DIY home overhaul is a piece of cake, which can be pulled off in a matter of weeks. Heck, some shows even see whole rooms being renovated overnight! While some of the programs focus on the negative aspects and the need for qualified and dedicated tradies to save the day, the glitz and glamour of the television screen can instill a somewhat unjustified overconfidence in those who’ve never renovated before.
The idea of saving on costs by doing the majority of the work yourself might also be appealing, however it’s important to keep in mind that having tradespeople come back and fix your mistakes could end up costing you even more. Number one tip? Hire a professional renovator, and talk your budget and expectations over with them. They’ll have solutions to suit both your budget and your desired outcomes – and you won’t end up with costly mistakes!
Under-budgeting or over-spending
Following on from the possibility of a DIY nightmare, budgeting for a renovation is a hurdle that many first-timers fail to navigate successfully. It’s important to have a very clear understanding of how much is in your budget, and where you’re willing to compromise. That $3000 bath tub might look fantastic, but does it mean that you’ve got to skimp on the shower tiles? Once again, this is where a professional renovator comes in handy. They’ll help you to understand where it’s worth pinching a few pennies versus where it’s really important to spend your cash.
Next hot tip: Have a contingency budget for any unexpected surprises. Until your tiles come up, or that wall comes out, you may not know just how many behind-the-scenes costs could spring up. In the best-case scenario, this won’t be an issue, but it’s worth having a backup plan (such as a small redraw on the mortgage, or some extra cash tucked away) just in case.
Not allowing adequate time and planning for disruptions
In television land, renovations seem to happen in the blink of an eye. Never mind that there are a team of producers on site, as well as a foreman or two, who are lining up multiple trades to work simultaneously. This isn’t a great reflection of the reality when it comes to home renovations outside of The Block. You’ll have a number of workers coming and going, and depending on the size of your renovation, they’ll be there for weeks. Be prepared for disruptions to the home such as out-of-use bathrooms and inaccessible kitchens, and have a plan for how to deal with this. If you’re still living in the home, juggling these disruptions can be a major hurdle. At the risk of sounding like a broken record: This is once again where a professional and qualified renovator can be worth their weight in gold. From organising tradies, to managing your expectations, a professional has seen and done it all, and knows how to make your renovation cause as little disruption as possible.
Overdoing it on the personality
You might consider yourself a bit of an interior designing wizard, but what do others think of your tastes? While you want your home to suit your needs and your individual style, it’s also important to consider whether you’re renovating to add value to your home. Are you planning on selling one day? Keep in mind that you don’t want to put off potential buyers with quirky designs that don’t age well. Soft furnishings and artwork are a fantastic way to add personality to your home, without compromising the bare bones. Having a functional, timeless bathroom and kitchen can make all the difference when it comes to later selling your home.
A renovation is one of the largest financial decisions you’ll ever make, and can make an enormous difference to your home. Whether you’re renovating to increase value, or to simply make your home more liveable, it’s important to get it right the first time. By dedicating some time to proper planning, having a strong idea of your budget, and engaging a professional renovator, your renovation can run smoothly and result in a wonderful new look for your home.