How to plan and prepare for a smooth renovation

Where others saw a run-down house, you saw potential: the potential to transform a house into a home. With the determination to re-do and do right, you’re ready to strap on the tool belt, roll up your sleeves and get to work. While hard work pays off, working smarter will make the renovating process easier and more enjoyable for everyone involved. So, before you start swinging the sledgehammer around, read our tips below to help you plan and prepare for a smooth renovation.

Decide what type of renovation is right for you

Will you be living in the home after the renovation is complete or are you renovating an investment property? Depending on your answer you will undertake two very different renovations.  If you will be living in the home post reno, you may invest in higher quality finishes and materials or do structural changes to better accommodate for you and your family. You may also be more flexible with time allowance regarding when the renovation must be completed. In comparison, if you’re renovating an investment property you may want to do the bare minimum, focusing on smaller changes that create a big difference while at a low cost. For example, you may choose to do a lighter renovation by removing and replacing carpets, cabinetry, fittings, appliances and/or adding a new coat of paint to all rooms. A lighter renovation means a faster return on your investment as you will be able to either flip the house or find tenants quicker than if you were to undertake a major renovation.    


Think 10 years from now.

If you are renovating your home for you and your family, try to picture yourselves in your home ten years from now and how your needs may change over the years. For example, will you need extra space for children or do you maybe plan to later subdivide your block? We recommend that you take these kinds of changes into account for your renovation as it may help you make decisions that will work now as well as in ten years - or that will at least not be too expensive to change in the future. For example, you may choose to make your front garden the outdoor entertaining area if you plan to build a second house out the back. This kind of forward thinking will save you the time and money in creating a beautiful backyard that will be knocked down in just a few years.


Take the time to plan it all out

When you know what type of renovation is right for you, find out what each process of that renovation entails. For example, what is the process of moving a loadbearing wall - what materials do you need, how long will it take to move it, can you work on other projects simultaneously and can you do it yourself or do you need a professional to do it? It is very important that you consider these kinds of questions for each project you want to undertake in your renovation. By doing so, it will become clear to you exactly what needs to be done and what each step of the process is.

When you know exactly what you need to do, you can start making a renovation timeline. A timeline will help you see the bigger picture and better plan the critical tasks of each stage so that they don’t clash or overlap. Also, it will make it easier to stay organised, keep on track and be prepared when any tradies arrive. It will take some time to make a renovation timeline, but you will be rewarded with the satisfaction of having a grand plan.

Set your budget

Budgeting is not fun, but it is necessary as you don’t want to be midway into your bathroom fit out to find out that there is no money left in your reno account for a toilet. Blowing your budget usually comes down to incorrect estimations of labour and material costs as well as being overly optimistic judging how long it will take to complete the project. Therefore, when you set your budget don’t just allocate random chunks of your over-all budget to the different rooms you’ll be renovating. Do your research to find out what the actual prices are for your desired materials and what the hourly rate is for any tradesman you need. It may take you a while to gather all this information, but it will be well worth it, if it means peace of mind knowing that you’re within budget.

Also, set some money aside for possible (and very likely) unexpected costs.  For example, it may take the tradesman longer than he quoted to complete a project or some of your material may be damaged during transport. So be careful not to spread your budget too thin as it’s better to be prepared for these unexpected costs.  

Do what you can yourself

If you want to keep cost low, try to do as much as you can yourself. Don’t let your inexperience discourage you or let you think that just because you’ve never ripped up a carpet or installed a kitchen before that you won’t be able to do it. In this technological age, there is so much information available to you for free and it would be a waste not to take advantage of it. Jump on your computer or phone and search the internet for step by step guides or how-to videos and soon you will feel confident doing a bit of DIY. However, if you prefer expert advice in person, try visiting your local hardware store. You are likely to find friendly staff who are keen to share their knowledge with you.


Organise a working bee

Invite your family and friends over for a day of work then reward them with a tasty BBQ at your house. Ask them to help paint rooms, rip up carpets, install IKEA cabinets or do any other mundane task that you don’t need to be an expert to complete.  You will find that that these little jobs that you have been putting off for ages will be done over a fun afternoon. Just make sure that you have all materials required and that the areas are prepped and ready. Also, make sure that you clearly show your appreciation to everyone who has helped you by returning the favour someday.


Know when you need a professional

It is important that you know your own limitations, as there are certain aspects of renovating that can be dangerous to attempt if you’re not a qualified professional. For example, dabbling with wiring or plumbing can lead to unintentional electrocutions or gas leaks. Not to mention that it may end up costing you more money to have a professional come out to fix a problem that you caused while trying to save money than it would have cost you to just hire the professional from the very start. Also, it is worth considering hiring a professional if you want the work done quickly knowing with certainty that it meets building standards.


For expert advice regarding your specific situation, contact your local real estate agent Discover Residential in Frankston, Seaford, Frankston South, Langwarrin, Frankston North, Baxter and Somerville for assistance.


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