It seems to be universally accepted that when renovating things go wrong. Although no one seems to tell you that before you start! When we started renovating there were a few things I wish someone had told me before we started.
1. You need to write out a plan, get quotes, then compare it to your budget, BEFORE YOU START. This will allow you to identify what you can afford, and what falls into the "nice to have" bucket before you even start. You might want to dive straight in - heading out to buy those fancy new taps today? - but if you don't stick to your budget you could end up with a renovation that ends half finished.
2. Communication is vital! You may have this picture in your mind of what you want, but your builder, plumber, and electrician may have another version completely! And can be expensive to change it. I came home after work I had no window in my bathroom! He didn't think I wanted one.
3. Don't buy materials before checking with your tradies, especially the plumber! There is so much out there, that look lovely but are cheap and nasty! (Who knew it's about what pressure system you have that determines what tapware you can have?) Also, check that all parts/boxes are there. I bought a vanity and didn't realise it came in two boxes. This caused expensive delays with the plumber.
4. Time management is key! When booking in tradies ensure you are allowing each one enough time to complete their job, and that they won’t be tripping over each other. When we had our floorboards polished, we never considered how long they would take to dry (3 days!) We foolishly booked in the kitchen to be installed only one day after the polish was put down. Needless to say, we had to get our floorboards redone a second time - a very costly lesson learned.
5. Trust your tradies. I went to a lot of big name hardware stores for advice and got sold on a lot of things that I ended up not being able to use. I'm not saying this is true of every store, but it's always worth double-checking with the experts. And in the same vein, make sure you keep ALL your receipts, just in case.
At the end of the day, our renovation was a really rewarding experience and we ended up with a wonderful new space. But if I was to summarise my advice it would be:
- make a plan (and stick to it),
- communicate with everyone well,
- and trust the experts
Jackie is a Harmoney Borrower who took out a loan for Home Renovations.