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First things first – Before you start planning your renovation

You need some or all of your home renovated, but are not sure where to start?
We’ll help de-mystify the process and get you started.

Let’s face it. Most of us have limited experience with home renovations. Sure, we may handle minor jobs and maintenance, but major kitchen renovations or bathroom renovations can be daunting. Knowing where to start can seem the hardest thing. It’s important to make good, informed decisions as you usually only get one crack at it. Mistakes can be expensive, and you’ll usually have to live with them for years. There are always fears and worries.

Over the years we’ve found that the main concerns tend to be with;

  • Trust in the integrity and expertise you’re dealing with (one without the other can be disastrous).
  • Design being practical, beautiful and suited to your needs.
  • Quality of workmanship and material.
  • Value and balance between budget limitations and desired results.
  • Cost and time overruns.
  • Emotional stress over mess, security, planning and communication.
  • Assurances and guarantees and rights during and after the project.

The list goes on, but you can probably relate to these fears. For some, this turns into decision paralysis which prevents them from enjoying the results of a successful project. You can avoid this with some basic preparation.

So, how to beat the decision anxiety?
You should get clear on the fundamentals before the fine details of the project itself. Answering a few basic questions will help determine your priorities.

get clear on the fundamentals before the fine details

Here are 5 questions to help you get on the right track.

  1. Why?
  2. Who for?
  3. When?
  4. How much?
  5. By whom?

1. Why?
What are the underlying reasons for undertaking the project and what is the outcome you hope to achieve?
This could be things such as;

  • Fix structural problems, such as leaky pipes, dampness, termites or movement.
  • Change layout to suit current users, including special requirements.
  • Improve ergonomics and fix original design and functionality issues.
  • Update and upgrade appearance. It’s reached its use by date.
  • Preparing for sale.

It’s often a combination of two or more of these reasons. What are yours?

2. Who’s it for?
Consider who will use it, how and when.

Requirements for a family bathroom, for example, are very different to an ensuite or a powder room. Likewise for a kitchen you should consider who’ll be using it, how they will be using it and how many people need access at the same time. If’ you’re renovating for sale, bear in mind the needs and wants of your target market. The same basic principles apply for any area of the home.

3. When?
If you don’t have a time frame, you’re not committed to the project, are you?

That might sound harsh, but it’s a reality. As with most things, if you don’t have a plan, it’s just a wish.
Is there a deadline such as a special occasion? Are there restrictions on when the work can be carried out? When do you need it finished? How long will it take?
Start planning early, chances are you’ve underestimated the length of the process.

So you haven’t set yourself a deadline? C’mon, I dare you. Do it now!

4. How much?
At some stage you need to set yourself a budget for the project, even if that’s ‘unlimited’. Most people only have a vague idea about cost to begin with. You may need to discuss your options with a builder or designer before you settle on your price range.

What can you afford and what are you willing to spend in order to get what you want? As every house and project is unique, costs can vary enormously. Your answers will depend on your financial capacity, value, ROI and other factors.

You should also consider what’s most important to you, the price or the result. When you decide whether to work to a price or work to a standard, that sets the tone for everything. It’s quite possible to achieve good results on a modest budget if you plan accordingly from the beginning.

Most importantly, be honest with your designer, your builder and yourself.

5. By whom?
Do it yourself, project manage or get the specialists?

Are you the do-it-yourself type? If you’re considering completing or project managing the renovation yourself, you need to weigh up whether you have skills, experience, time and resources. It’s reasonable to carry out small and simple jobs if you have the skills. Big jobs are different. Unless you’re a very experienced renovator with honed practical skills, the right resources and plenty of time on your hands, you shouldn’t even consider taking on a complex project yourself. It can be tempting to tackle the job in order to save money if that is the primary motivator but this comes back to the balance between price and results. The local tradesman might seem a feasible option for many people, but the limited skill set along with restricted licensing mean that this is only a step away from DIY and generally not a viable alternative.

Do-it-for-me is the other end of the spectrum. Specialised businesses provide end-to-end service and have the expertise in all aspects of renovations including design, construction and complete project management. This is the appropriate solution for most home-owners.

Your choice of renovation partner or specialist is pivotal in the ultimate success of your renovation. There’s a lot more to consider than cost. In fact, that topic is deserving of its own article. Coming soon….

So, there you have it. Consider those 5 important questions and write down your answers. Once you’ve done that, you’ll now have a much clearer picture of what you really need, why you want it and how to get it. This in turn will help you stay calm and focused during your renovation. You may have noticed with all of the above that we haven’t even started planning the space! That’s for a good reason – Starting with fundamentals makes everything else easier.

Happy planning!

If you’re still stuck or overwhelmed, get in touch with our team. We’ll look after everything for you.

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