Renovating can transform your lifestyle but it can also add put pressure on your finances, not to mention test relationships with your nearest and dearest. People often underestimate the toll a major reno can have on day to day life – especially if things don’t go according to plan. And they often conspire not to! So how do you avoid your dream project turning into a terminal nightmare? Well, these 17 Bright Ideas for Stress-Free Renovating might just be what you need to get you started: Budget – Do have a detailed budget before you start, it will stand you in good stead. Detailed means knowing the cost of every item on your list. Don’t forget to include a contingency – anywhere from 5% to 15% depending on the scale of your project. Planning – This is really important and includes having a project plan to keep you and your tradies on track and ensure the renovation comes in on time and on budget. Having project milestones will help you track and measure progress. Advice – Get advice from professionals or friends/family who have been through a project similar to yours. They will be able to offer insights and tips to help your project run smoothly. Quotes – Get a sense of what the market price is for a service or product by getting at least 3 quotes. Cheapest is not necessarily the one to go for either. Detail is important when it comes to quotes – the more the better. References – A crucial part of the vetting process is checking the bona fides of your tradies. Professional, honest, reliable tradies will tend to have a long list of glowing references. Communicate – Communication with your builder or tradesperson is important, from day one to completion. This will help ensure that obstacles are minimised and problems overcome before they snowball. Licences – Is your builder licensed? It might not seem important now, but if anything does go wrong you will regret not checking beforehand. Online licence checking tools such as Licensedtrades.com.au help you verify these in a few clicks. Regulations – Every council has regulations pertaining to building. Make sure you go through the proper procedures and channels to ensure your dream reno is legal & legit. Realistic – Is your reno realistic, especially when it comes to the budget? Adjust your taste from top end to mid-range to help trim it down. Trends – Be cautious about getting too caught up in renovation trends. They come and go, and you might not like a quirky feature for as long as you imagine. Code – Does your project conform to the Building Code of Australia (BCA)? If not you risk being fined or worse. That could potentially be really stressful. DIY – Doing it yourself has its place, but if your project requires the expertise of a professional tradie, please don’t be tempted to skimp. You will regret it! Vision – Do you have a vision for your project? There is inspiration all around you – online, magazines, and show homes are just three places to look for design ideas. Get Educated – The renovation boom has spurned a range of workshops and courses, where you can learn more about the process before you dive into it head first. Consider Alternatives – If you don’t have the budget for a full blown reno, consider cost effective alternatives which have a similar effect. A lick of paint can do wonders for your home, inside or out. Don’t overcapitalise – Some renovations might not add any value to your home, so thoroughly research your suburb and street before you spend big on your project. Have fun – If you follow the 16 bright ideas above then you are very likely to keep stress to a minimum and have fun renovating your home, from dream to reality!
- Craig Gibson is online editor of hipages.com.au, the most visited site in Australia’s building, renovation and home improvement sector.
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