Turning a niggling renovation idea from a dream to a reality takes a few vital initial planning steps towards achieving a successful outcome.
Knowing your goal and your budget at the very start are a must, recommends Smart Choice Homes builder and director Gavin McArthur (pictured).
The Sunshine Coast 2020 Master Builders Home Renovation/Remodel ($576k–$1m) and HIA Renovation/Addition ($301k–$600k) awards winner says these two steps act as a baseline for every decision an owner makes during a project.
Deciding whether you are renovating before selling or for lifestyle is important. “When doing it for lifestyle sometimes you can over-capitalise but that’s okay because you can get the value out of it in the next 10 years,” Mr McArthur says.
Well before you pay for plans, get a qualified builder to review the site, discuss your ideas and your budget. Don’t be afraid to be open about your budget Mr McArthur adds. Revealing it gives the builder the opportunity to have an honest conversation with you about what can be achieved.
Mr McArthur jokes that when he comes in, he can be a “dream crasher” but for a good reason.
Often his clients have lots of ideas but don’t fully understand what they will cost. “I come in and they tell me all their ideas,” Mr McArthur says. “I will tell them it will cost say at least $150k and they might say ‘we only thought it be would be $30k’.”
A builder will also be able to advise if a renovation idea is legal or practical.
When choosing a builder Mr McArthur says to get recommendations from people you know and look for someone with a solid industry reputation, who has won awards and can show they are up-to-date with industry knowledge.
Talking to a builder’s past clients should also be on the checklist. When you finally meet the potential builder, he recommends you consider whether you can trust them to deliver on your dream.
He also says an owner should be prepared to pay for a fully costed building quote. “You are better spending the time and effort before the job starts making sure that is right,” Mr McArthur adds.
The quote can also guide you on how long the project will take which can be anywhere from four to eight months.
“There is no such thing as a cheap renovation,” he warns. “Ultimately, it will impact on the resale value of your home.”