If you’re preparing to embark on a home renovation adventure, then you’re going to need all the help and advice you can get. Major renovation projects, especially kitchen or bathroom renovations in Melbourne, can add significant value to your home. However, they can also quickly exceed budgets and timelines and get out of hand. To make sure this doesn’t happen to your renovation project, we have some helpful renovation tips for you to think about before you get started.
- Do your research
Before you get started on any renovation project it’s essential to do your research, especially if you’re not an experienced renovator. Research will help you to gather inspiration and ideas, get an idea of the work involved,separate the fantasy from the reality, give you a sense of the material and labour costs and help you to plan out your project. Some quality research will also help you to avoid common renovation mistakes.
Spend some time reading expert renovation blogs, talking to people who have recently renovated and watching any relevant renovation videos you can get your hands on. Renovation and builder online forums are also great places to get free opinions and advice. But as with any online information, it’s important take any information with a grain of salt.Make plenty of notes and use your research to prepare your questions (see step 3).
Remember to focus on reality, not fantasy.While reality TV renovation shows like House Rules and The Block may provide some renovation or design inspiration, they are not useful or realistic depictions of the renovation process. Major home renovations in Melbourne take time, money and expertise and don’t just magically happen the way they do on TV.
When researching a project, it’s important to start looking at a general topic (e.g. bathroom renovations) before focusing down onto the specifics (e.g. choosing a bathtub). This will help you strategically plan the project and avoid costly mistakes.
- Plan ahead
This may seem obvious, but you’d be amazed how many people don’t fully plan out a renovation project. Without proper planning you’ll struggle to manage your budget and chances are you’ll end up making mistakes that will cost you a lot of time and money.
When creating a renovation plan, you need to take into account the full scope of the work. You need a full understanding of the budget and timeline you have to work with. You need detailed quotes on all materials and labour. You need as much advice as possible and you need to decide which advice is best suited to your project, and factor all that into your plan.
Once you have your renovation plan in place, you should work to stick to it as closely as possible. Of course, some changes will have to be made along the way so you should try to build flexibility into your plan wherever possible. Give yourself a buffer when it comes to budget and time to accommodate any changes or mistakes (because they will happen).
- Consult the experts
Whether you’re planning on taking on some of the renovations yourself or you’re leaving it all to the professionals, you’d be foolish not to consult with as many experts as possible. When carrying out major renovations, a small mistake or oversight can end up costing you a lot of time and money.
Before you start any renovation, it’s invaluable to invest in a professional building inspection from a licensed builder. An inspection will ensure that your property is structurally sound and will support your planned renovations. It will also identify any potential risk that might slow down or derail your renovations, like dodgy wiring. This will cost you around $500 up front, but could save you tens of thousands down the road.
Experienced contractors and tradespeople have seen thousands of renovations and know what to expect. They’ll be able to steer you in the right direction and head off issues before they even become issues, so don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as possible.
Based on your research and planning (from steps 1 and 2), you should have a whole bunch of very specific questions pertinent to your renovation project. Make sure you make the most of any time you have with contractors or tradespeople by asking these questions, getting as much advice as you can, and asking for any recommendations or further information sources they may be willing to share.
- Consider an eco-friendly renovation
Renovating is the perfect time to think about adding some eco-friendly features to your home, especially if you’re renovating an old property. There are plenty of ways to improve the eco credentials of your renovation. When it comes to bathroom renovations in Melbourne, you can look at low-flow toilets and water-saving shower heads. Improving your insulation or double-glazed windows will reduce your heating and cooling usage and save you money in the long run.
Passive cooling is a great way to cool your home while also reducing your carbon footprint and saving money on your power bills. Consider factoring in simple passive cooling techniques to your renovations. These can include shading windows and walls from direct sunlight, using lighter coloured roofing materials, using insulation and buffer zones to minimise conducted and radiated heat gains, maximising natural air flow-through, and making selective or limited use of thermal mass to avoid storing daytime heat gains.
- Choose your tradespeople wisely
Labour costs will end up accounting for a significant portion of your renovation budget. Any work you can do yourself will help you save money. However, at some point, you will need to get in licensed professionals.
There is no surefire way to choose the perfect builder or contractor, but there are some ways to choose wisely. Ask friends, colleagues and family members for recommendations and references. Word of mouth is one of the most reliable sources of quality work in the industry.
Get quotes from multiple contractors and don’t be afraid to negotiate. Make sure you get each quote in writing and be clear about what’s included and excluded. Good builders and tradies will happily provide references from previous jobs if you ask. If they can’t or won’t provide references, be suspicious.
Make sure that your contractors are appropriately licensed for the work that needs to be done. If you really want to check up on a builder, you can contact the Department of Fair Trading or Consumer Affairs to find out if a tradie has a clear work record.
When it comes to home renovations in Melbourne, you can’t afford to be too careful. A quality renovation can add significant value to your property. But a poorly planned or executed renovation can actually damage your property value and end up costing big money down the road. Before you get started, it’s essential to make sure your renovation project is properly planned and that you’re working with a reliable and reputable home renovation expert.