In life, there are three situations that will inevitably be stressful, time-consuming and tear-jerking.
Divorce, death and home renovations – particularly the big-ticket types.
Whether you’re planning a quick DIY job or inviting a small army of tradies into your home, there are some golden rules you can follow so you don’t just survive but thrive through the process.
Before you jump in the deep end, you need to think about where you’ll be in five years, says director of The Makeover Group, Richard Armstrong.
“You have to ask, what is the goal with the house? What will you do with it in the future?” he told The New Daily. “One of the pitfalls is people will often renovate the house with what their current needs are, opposed to five years time.
Don’t just talk about what you might need in the future but also how you want to use the space, says Mr Armstrong.
“The house needs to be designed around you and the way you live. Make sure you look at your lifestyle. How do you want to live? How do you entertain? Do you work from home? All those things about how you want to use the house.”
Get a plan
This may sound obvious, but it’s a mistake a lot of overzealous renovators make.
Everything needs to be considered, from the taps to the timing, says Renovating for Profit CEO, Cherie Barber.
“Plan everything – number one priority. If you don’t plan you’re doomed for disaster. If you don’t map it out then it will go over budget and over time,” she said.
Time can be the biggest cost in a renovation, whether you’re creating your dream home or sprucing up a rental, sticking to plan will cost you less in the long run, she says.
“You want to get in and get the job done. So that means being clear about what look it’s going to have – whether it’s classic or modern, people don’t put it down and they end up with hotchpotch ideas.”
Check your foundations
If you start tearing up the vinyl to find rot underneath, it’s going to cost you time and money says Mr Armstrong, so checking your foundations first is key to knowing what you’re up for.
“You’ve got to make sure that what you’ve got is sound structurally, starting from the bottom up,” he said.
“There’s no point putting in the new kitchen if underneath you’ve got rotten stump. You need to access the condition of the property.”
To avoid a nasty surprise later on, you should do the relevant checks, not just a building and pest inspection but plumbing and asbestos checks, before you even buy the property, says Ms Barber.
“Not every un-renovated property is good to buy. If it has a fundamentally flawed layout, structural issues, or flawed location they can be costly things to fix,” she said.
Have a clear budget
Renovating is expensive and you need to work out what it’s going to cost before the start, says Mr Armstrong.
“It can be hard to understand what budget to apply to the project, so research it. We’ve got an online calculator, which will generate a number. Using tools like that will help.”
Another key thing to consider when looking at cost is not over-capitalising, especially if you’re planning to sell later, says Ms Barber.
“No one wants to spend $1 million on renovating and find out your property is only worth $700,000, so don’t overcapitalise.’
There are formulas to use which will help you work out what you should be spending.
“Your kitchen is 2 per cent of whatever your property is worth. If it’s worth $600,000, you shouldn’t spend over 2 per cent – which is $12,000. Any dollar above, you’re over capitalising and you run the risk of not getting it back,” she said.
Decide if you’re going DIY or hiring some help
If you’re going DIY, make sure you get the relevant tick of approval from your local council. For bigger projects, work out if you want an architect, interior designer, project manager, or any combination of these skilled professionals.
But no matter how much hired help you chose to go with, you have to make sure your builder is registered.
“You must, must, must, engage a registered building practitioner,” says Armstrong.
“They’re governed by industry regulations so if they do the right thing they can lose their licence. If they were to engage a handyman, and something goes wrong, they’ve got no recourse.”