Builder Finders

Biggest Mistakes You Need to Know Before Renovating your Home

Taking on a renovation project can be a daunting, yet rewarding, task. Whether you’re in for a gut renovation or just trying to redecorate, there’s a lot more to designing a property than you might think. Unlike self-build, with a renovation you are never starting with a blank page. The process is complex and can be prone to unforeseen issues and expenses and being well prepared is a key to a successful project. So, before you take on your own project, consider these important things before you start renovating your home.

1. Underestimating the costs

If you’ve never carried out many home renovation projects, it can be easy to underestimate how much everything is going to cost. Even if you have done work in a property before, it’s important to remember that every project is different and therefore that you should set aside some extra cash just in case things run over budget.  Most jobs will cost more and take longer than you expect, so always add extra percentage to what you think a project will total when budgeting.

When you’re choosing a company to work with for this kind of larger home improvement project, it’s vital that you do your research. Get quotes from several companies to compare prices and service levels – always remember that the lowest price doesn’t necessarily equate to the best value.

2. Starting renovations too soon

It’s normal to get very excited when you are about to renovate your house. But don’t get too excited that you forgot to consider some important things before you start the renovation. For instance, those who just bought a house that are planning to renovate, if possible, live in your house for a while before making any plans to overhaul. Learn its flow, where the groceries land, where you want to put the laundry, where the sun rises, where the choke points are, which way the rain slants, even get a sense of its sou. All of this will inform your choices when you make your plans to change things.

3. Not understanding the design scheme

It’s a fact that most people can’t read blueprints. Instead of eyeballing it, lay out a room or building or garden for real. Do some research or ask the experts to have clear understanding. The best thing to do is just don’t pretend you understand the design scheme.

4. Don’t expect that everything would go according to plan

Work on older buildings can yield a lot of unforeseen events. Who knows what’s behind that wall you’re opening up? New construction is more controlled, but that doesn’t always mean smooth sailing. Always have a backup plan or plan B. Be prepared for the unexpected.

5. Not setting up a timeline

Work with your contractor or builder to put together a list of items that need to be purchased and deadlines for making decisions.

6. Literally not thinking outside the box

When it comes to remodelling plans, most homeowners immediately think of upgrades to be made inside of the house. Kitchen and bathroom updates are some of the first ideas that usually come to mind, but you can get great returns from making outdoor renovations and improvements. Gutters, grading, and roofs may sound boring when there are chandeliers to obsess over, but you’ve got to build a solid envelope if you want your house to hold up. There’s no point in putting in a new floor if the roof is getting set to leak. If you’re faced with a choice of working on the outside or the inside, start on the outside.

7. Going for the lowest bid

Good professional help is worth the money. That means design as well as construction. Be willing to pay for a good contractor and be wary of the one who’s cheap and available right away. Remember that the lowest bid is not always the best deal.

8. Not asking for references

Contacting the three previous clients of anyone you plan to hire is a good idea. These people will have experienced the person at his or her current level of achievement and staffing. Reach out to general contractors for an architect’s references, and vice-versa. And visit your candidates’ job sites to find out if you like what you see in terms of cleanliness and vibe.

9. Hiring a professional that’s not a good fit

Just because someone is a good designer or builder doesn’t mean he’ll be a good fit for you. Do you have the same aesthetic? Priorities? If he or she doesn’t ask you a lot of questions about your needs, desires, and the way you live, find someone else. Listening skills and curiosity are crucial. If you don’t have any idea on which builder would be the best fit for your project, Builder Finders can definitely help you with that.

10. Not asking enough questions

Ask lots of questions about the details that are not clear to you. There’s no such thing as a dumb one, and besides, it’s your money you’re spending. You should know why, when, how and what. Make sure you know and understand every detail about your project and besides, asking is for free.

11. Waiting too long to consult a general contractor

Ask a contractor to look at plans in the schematic stage, rather than at detailed finished plans. This way you can find out if your project is in the right budget ballpark before falling in love with a plan—and paying for a complete set of biddable drawings. It’s also a good way to meet potential builders, get their input, and not misuse their time. Best advice is contact Builder Finders now and you don’t have to worry about anything. Builder Finder’s got your back and will find the best builder for your project!

12. Making too many changes along the way

Changes that seem simple to you may require a lot of work on the back end, so be sure you check with your designer or builder on even slight adjustments. Even moving a light switch a few feet can cost $1,500.

13. Splurging where you should save

On the flip side, don’t get locked into the idea that the biggest items should cost the most. Nice throw pillows can dress up a mid-range sofa. Or mix a low-end dining table with a statement light fixture. Reglazing tile will be far more cost-effective than a total overhaul.  And sisal rugs are economical and always look chic!

14. Sweeping interiors under the rug

On the other hand, too many times, interiors are an afterthought. Newbies often think they can do finish work themselves or throw their old couch into a new room. But if you want to love your space—and increase its value—make sure you leave room in the budget for working on interior design and décor.

15. Skimping on quality

Spend good money on things you touch every day, like door hardware, doors, faucets, appliances, kitchen cabinets. The tactile experience sends a daily reminder to you and your guests about the solidity and quality of your home.

16. Replacing windows

Think long and hard before you replace your windows. If they’re original to the house and are in half-decent shape, they can and should be resuscitated. Adding storm windows can do the trick where it comes to energy-efficiency. Anyone claiming that you will earn your money back in energy savings by installing replacement windows is either misinformed or looking for your money himself.

17. Buying giant furniture

While you’re at it, jot down your door widths, too. Make sure your new purchases can fit through the front door. You won’t believe how often this gets overlooked.

18. Not knowing measurements

Once you know what size couches, tables, and sconces you need, write them down and carry that list with you always. You never know when the perfect item will jump into your path. Don’t fall in love with a 94-inch sofa when you can only fit an 84.

19. Buying miniature rugs

Undersized rugs are the most common mistake. Your carpet should ground your furniture so that at least the front legs of the upholstery are on the carpet. Don’t fret if a standard size doesn’t work. Hit up your local carpet shop—they can make any broadloom into a different size and shape.

20. Not getting everyone on the same page

If you are purchasing appliances, lighting, and other items for a renovation, print out all your specs and/or installation instructions. I put them in a binder for the contractor and the subs and keep onsite so everyone has access to these docs. Bonus tip: If you were to ever sell or rent your property, this is a valuable tool.

21. Spending too much on tech

Technology can be pricey and become outdated quickly. While wiring every room in your house for video might seem cool, it’s not necessarily a great investment. Your home’s next buyer is unlikely to be impressed with an aging system.

22. Working on too many rooms at once

For anyone on a budget (i.e., all of us) it’s better to focus on the living areas first. Doing a little here and there in multiple rooms will only leave you feeling unsettled and frustrated. The place where you spend the most time should really serve as the focus of your energy and investment. When the budget allows, move on to the next space.

The good news is that there is no cost to use Builder Finders. We are paid by the builder you have selected.

Building is an exciting time. It can also be a time of great anxiety if you choose the wrong builder. Did you know Builder Finders does not accept every builder.  Many builders who apply to join the Builder Finders panel don’t make it. There is a 62 step vetting process for builders to join the panel. In addition, the Builder Finders team conducts comprehensive due diligence through reference checks, ASIC searches and CreditorWatch reports to ensure they are not insolvent. You may not be aware that in the last financial year just over 500 builders went bust. Worse still, right now there are builders in financial difficulty that are cutting corners to stay afloat. Fact is, a lot of builders will tell you what you want to hear. Engaging with one of these builders will invariably mean subpar construction of your home. No one wants that. 

With Builder Finders, you are in safe hands.

Why risk it? The Builder Finders team have done all the background searches for you. We take pride in knowing our clients are dealing with some of Australia’s leading and award winning builders. We understand the services of a builder broker may be a new concept for you. It would be our pleasure to refer customers that have used our services in the past. 

Builder Finders are independent builder brokers that assist everything builder related. We are driven by a passion to match the right builder with your unique property building needs. Best of all, there is no cost to you. Contact us now at 1300 4 A BUILDER (1300 422 845).

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