Top 5 Mistakes To Avoid When Renovating

It can be hard to know where to start when it comes to renovating, and everyone seems to have their own share of horror stories and advice. Be aware of the top 5 mistakes made during home renovations before you begin, to avoid headache and heartache down the line.

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Mistake #1: Avoiding a budget

We are yet to meet a client that loves a good budget; we have found that clients either avoid it at all cost, or stress about it through the entire process. Having a comprehensive budget can be challenging and time-consuming to create, but will save you headaches and cash in the long run. We recommend sitting down with your better half before you even meet with a builder, architect, or designer and write down a dream list of everything that you would love to be included in your renovation. Then, divide these into “wants” and “needs” - yes, this is easier said than done, however, can be a good starting point to assist you in communicating with your team about what is really important to you. If you have a very strict budget, it is important that your project manager and design team are aware of this budget. We get it - talking money can feel awkward, but if you have chosen the right team, they will have creative solutions to ensure that everything you want is included, without breaking the budget.

Top Tip: Avoid over-capitalising at all costs! While it is tempting to push your budget, don’t waste money on expensive items which won’t add value to your home.

Photo by AAG Constructions

Mistake #2: Choosing the wrong team

This is singularly the most important decision you will make with your home renovation, so don’t get it wrong! Choosing the right builder, project manager, architect, designer and interior stylist, will leave an energy (positive or negative) resonating in your home long after the works have been completed. Renovating your home is such an exciting and special time in people’s lives, a privilege many will never get the opportunity to do; so make sure that you take a moment to stop, take a deep breath and really enjoy the process. Choose a team who you feel confident will be able to share your vision and turn it into a reality.

Top Tip: Good communication with your team is essential when it comes to building your new home. Make sure that your builder/project manager offers weekly on-site meetings and will be available to answer all your questions in a timely manner. To ensure you choose the right building team, we recommend clients to get three different quotes, but make sure that you don’t choose your team on price alone. Often the cheapest quote (for any trades be it builder, designer, architect, etc) will likely either be a slightly less experienced professional, leave you with a lesser quality finish, or will not be all-inclusive which can end up costing you more in the long run.

Mistake #3: Being underprepared

Do your research. We cannot stress enough the importance of this. You want to make sure that you have covered all the bases before you jump into the works. Your builder should be able to provide you with a checklist of things to consider and things to be completed before you sign the contract. For example, have you considered whether they are going to live in your home during the renovation? And what are the implications of doing so? Don’t underestimate how difficult it can be to live through a renovation - the dust, tradespeople, the lack of kitchen/bathroom facilities. With this in mind, if you do need to live in the home during the renovation, make sure you ask your project manager to provide you with a detailed timeline (so you can know when to expect the noisy and dusty weeks) and discuss with your team options of how to minimise the impact on your personal space/life.

Top Tip: In some cases, living off-site can actually save you money in the long run, as it frees up your team to work freely on your renovation, instead of having to work around you in the home. Your project manager should be able to recommend the most cost-effective solution for you here.

Mistake #4: Choosing the wrong contract type

Understanding the different contract options is really important, and it is important that you choose the one which is going to work best for you. Most builders will offer either a cost-plus or fixed price, and it is important that you understand the pros and cons to both (click here to read more about cost plus vs fixed price). Some builders will have a preference on which contract they feel more comfortable working with, so be sure to have an open conversation with them about the benefits of each contract type.

Top Tip: Make sure that you have done your research on your chosen builder before you sign the contract. It is better to ask the difficult questions before you sign the dotted line. Some of the important things to ask your builder include finding out about their experience, their builders margins, their insurance and how much you can expect to see them. Click here to read AAG Constructions ‘top 10 questions to ask your builder before you sign the contract’.

Mistake #5: Not consulting a designer

While inspiration is available to us at almost every social media platform (Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr etc), just because you know what style you like, doesn’t make you a designer. We have seen many clients make the mistake in spending a small fortune on building a beautiful home, only to lack that high-quality beautiful finish when it comes to styling. We recommend the incredibly talented team of stylists and designers over at Amazema, to assist you with colour palettes to furniture and everything in between; trust us when we say it is such a worthwhile investment.

Guest post by: AAG Constructions

Need help with your renovation plans? Get in touch with the team over at AAG Constructions, a leading residential building company on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, to further explore your renovation requirements.

Styled Interior (Photo by AAG Constructions)