How to get ready for your renovation
It’s pretty exciting when you first start thinking about doing a renovation or decent-sized project around the house. You start tearing pages out of magazines (yes, I’m that old) or adding to Pinterest along with taking pictures of cool tiles you spot in cafés around town. However, getting from Pinterest to a new family room and kitchen is a long journey and there are a couple of things you can do right at the start to make life a little easier and give you a better chance of getting the result you’re looking for.
Work out your budget. Your real budget. Not how much you think it’s going to cost based on a magazine feature you read where some of the work was done by the homeowner’s dad who’s an electrician. Actually how much money do you have to spend on this renovation.
Meet with a builder. Builders are not designers, but they’ve got a very good idea of how much things cost. Just because you have $350,000 to spend, does not mean your dream can really be built for that much. JD meets with potential customers all the time and it comes as a surprise to many that only about 60% of the budget is spent on actual building and construction – the rest goes on design and planning, demolition, site works, fixtures and fittings (the sky’s really the limit here as you need to decide if you want a $200 toilet or a $1500 toilet) and external works (landscaping, fences, driveways etc). Meeting with a builder early on will give you a realistic idea of what you will be able to achieve with your budget. And please, just tell the builder the actual amount you’ve got – he’s not there to steal your money, he’s there to help you work out what you can achieve for your budget.
You will need a Level & Detail survey of your home (this will cost around $2000) before having initial concept plans drawn up – these can be done by an architect or a building designer (I do concept plans – call me!). Once you’re happy with the concept, get them costed by a builder. These are NOT final plans and this will NOT be a final price but it’s better to know now whether you’re looking at a $500,000 project when you’ve only got $350,000. Believe me, JD sees it happen all the time. It’s frustrating for the homeowner, who has spent time and money with an architect/designer only to discover that their plans bear no resemblance to their budget. If you’re working closely with a builder right from the start, you’ve got a much better chance of creating a concept that fits both your budget and design parameters.
When both the design and the estimated project cost are looking good, go ahead and get final plans done. Depending on the job you’ll need to get council approval and some changes may be necessary. Then, you’re ready to get a final estimate from your builder. I know, everyone says get three quotes. Some people get six. JD does not like tendering for jobs against multiple other builders. I’ll got into more detail about that in another post, but the last thing you want to do is have builders give you the price you want to hear, rather than a realistic cost. Far better to find a builder you trust at the start of the process and work with them throughout the project. Renovating and building is a team effort and it’s worth building a good team right from the start.
Once all that’s done, well, you’re ready to get started. Happy renovation!
Are you planning a renovation or building project? How did you get to Day 1 of the actual build? Are you a pinner or a tearer?