The sun is shining and no doubt you’ve been waiting all winter to get moving on your home makeover.
But before you start knocking down walls, what do you need to think about? Whether you’re sprucing up your home to sell – or just making it more livable for you and your family – following these tips will ensure that your long-awaited home renovation goes as smoothly as possible.
If you’re hiring a builder it’s always best to get a word of mouth recommendation from someone you know. If that’s not possible then read online reviews and check that any builder is licensed by the relevant state authority and has warranty insurance to cover any construction mistakes (this is a legal requirement in most states in Australia.)
A good rule of thumb is to get three quotes for your project and a written agreement between you and the builder that says how long the job should take and how much it will cost (and what happens if the costs or timeline blow out.)
If you are hiring an architect, you’ll want to make sure they have a technical and aesthetic expertise that suits your job so be sure to speak to past clients rather than simply relying on written references.
Just like death and taxes there are two things that are almost certain in life: your renovation will take longer (and cost more) than you thought. One of the biggest mistakes people make is not spending enough time planning renovations before they get underway.
For even a small make-over such as redoing a kitchen or bathroom you should allow 30 to 60 days of planning (assuming you don’t need to lodge a development application with your local council ). That’s the minimum time you will need to allow to find a suitable contractor, finalise your design and make a number of big and small decisions you can’t even imagine when you begin.
It’s easy to get sucked into the latest home trends but it’s important to focus on whether the renovations you are planning will make the property work better for your needs – and whether they will add value when you come to sell. Even swimming pools, which may seem nice to have in the sweltering Australian summer, may be a turn-off to some buyers concerned about maintenance costs.
On the other hand experts agree an extra bedroom – or an attic conversion – can add significant value to a home particularly in areas where there is a growing population.
If you are focused on making your house more functional forget the nice-to-haves such as spa baths and the walk-in wardrobes, but think about how the house will work for you in the long-term.
Will it accommodate lifestyle changes such as a growing family?
Converting a basement, for example, can be useful both as a playroom and later as a teen retreat or games room.
One of the most common mistakes renovators make is to assume that their home insurance policy covers their remodeling plans.
If you’re planning renovations you should check whether your current insurance policy covers you during any building work.
For example, you may not be covered for any damages caused by water leaking into your home while it is covered by a tarpaulin – or unexpected theft. And then, of course, after your renovation is finished be sure to update your insurance because you may have improved the value of your home – or its contents – and you’ll want to ensure you’re covered for every eventuality.
With some careful planning – and attention to detail – your renovation should be as stress-free as possible and in a few months time you’ll find yourself reaping the rewards of your hard work.
SGIO Home Insurance issued by Insurance Australia Limited ABN 11 000 016 722 AFS Licence No. 227681 trading as SGIO. This is general advice only so to see if a product is right for you, always consider your own circumstances and the Product Disclosure Statement available from SGIO.
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