Methods for Surviving your DIY Renovation Project
Renovating a sorry old sight into a decorated dream – how exciting! The spine tingles, the shoulders shudder, the eyes gleam . . . don’t we all go into a renovation with rose-coloured glasses? I guess we largely get to the end with a renovated result, but at what cost to the nerves and family relationships?
Here is a Survival Guide for those embarking on a DIY renovation project.
1. Set a Budget and Work to it
Unless money is no object, all renovation projects should work to a suitable budget. If you are renovating an investment property and are followers of the Reno Kings (www.renos.com.au), you’ll know that 5% of the purchase price of the property is the ideal, and 10% is the maximum that should be spent cosmetically renovating a property. If the property is your own home (‘principal place of residence’) you can choose whatever figure you like, but it’s always a good idea to consider the typical value of homes in your street and suburb and not renovate yourself ‘out of the market’ so to speak. If you ever choose to (or need to) sell and move from your home, an ‘over-capitalised’ renovation may not give you the financial return you expect. So choose how much, in dollar terms, you believe is reasonable to spend on your renovation, and stick to this budget. Research the values of un-renovated and renovated homes in your area and this will give you an idea of what type of expenditure is reasonable.
2. Know Your Limits
It’s a great idea to give some projects a go yourself. Painting, landscaping, floor-sanding and tiling are all examples of projects that the average enthusiastic DIY –er has a good chance of mastering with a little self-education and dedication. By undertaking this type of project yourself, a great deal of money can be saved. However, if it is going to take an exorbitantly long time to complete the job, or the finish will be significantly compromised by persisting without sufficient ability, it is best to recognise your limits and employ a professional to do the job. Time is money and the end result could make or break the success of the renovation project.
3. Select Qualified Tradespeople
If you choose to engage a professional to do part of your renovation, such as floor sanding, painting, electrical or plumbing (and a professional should always do the electrical and plumbing), ensure you choose a trustworthy contractor. Ensure they are licensed, insured and come with good references. Word of mouth is often a good way of finding out about someone who has given good service in the past. As much as price is important, the ability to communicate well with a contractor you have engaged, to discuss and debate options and preferences, is of prime importance.
4. Keep Children (and Adults) Safe
Home DIY may sound ‘tame’, but many, many people get seriously hurt and killed in household accidents with ladders, electricity and power tools every year and building sites are no place for young children. Before getting stuck into even the first stage of your renovation, think through what is involved, who will be onsite, and how each and every person can be kept safe from harm. Even if you do the best renovation in the entire suburb, or add enormous value to your investment property in doing the renovation, none of it is worth it if you lose a child or other loved one in the process!
5. Plan Work-Arounds
Some renovations are not too difficult to survive. If you are painting and redecorating a bedroom, the living room or the outdoor entertainment area, it’s possible to cope for a week or two (or even three...) until things get back to normal. But when the kitchen or main bathroom is being overhauled, it can be impossible to live in the house without extreme inconvenience. It may be necessary to make alternative plans to cope with these areas being out-of-action for a short time. Maybe hiring a port-a-loo for the back yard will be a workable option. Or perhaps arranging to move in with Mum and Dad (even if you do have three small children!) for three weeks while the re-tiling is done in your kitchen, bathrooms AND laundry, is the only option.
6. Deal with Documentation
Once the renovation project is complete and the rubbish removed and paint brushes put away (or thrown out!) it is time to kick-back and relax. But just before you collapse on the banana lounge with a Pina Colada, ensure you take care of all of the details of the project that you’ve just spent considerable time and hard earned dollars completing. In particular, ensure you update your insurance policy to reflect the increase in value of the building and also include any new home contents items that you have acquired. Keep all receipts and costing of renovation work for future reference – if there is any chance that you may rent out your property in the future, this could very well be beneficial. There should be warranties on any work done by external contractors and for any new appliances purchased and installed – keep all warranty paperwork, instruction booklets and receipts in an easy to locate, safe location.
A freshly renovated and remodelled home is a beautiful thing and all the more so if there have been no nasty surprises or family fallings-out in the process! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your own renovation survival tips and earn yourself a complimentary RenoSave Card and 6 month membership.