ARTICLE Erin Reilly
They say that all are created equal, but when it comes to home renovations there are some who are more equal than others.
TV shows like Grand Designs reinforce the pitfalls of DIY time and time again, when amateurs try to ‘save money’ by project managing their renovation themselves, only to end up spending twice their budget. Dealing with multiple tradespeople on the same worksite isn’t easy either.
So when you’re about to embark on the biggest project of your life, why should you choose a renovation builder rather than doing it yourself, and what should you look out for?
Find someone you can trust
Refresh Renovations specialists say reputation is key. “A homeowner needs to have peace of mind that the team they’re dealing with is professional, credible and a hundred percent trustworthy,” he says. “More often than not people live in the middle of their renovations, so builders need to be mindful of that. It’s your home, after all, so you need to be sure the company you invite in will respect your family, your privacy, your daily movements and your home renovation needs.”
Find the right fit
Refresh say “We’re relationship people, so we spend a lot of time getting to know our clients on a personal level before we sign them up. That initial conversation is really important to build trust between us and our clients.”
Engage a renovation project manager
The beauty of a renovation specialist is that they manage all the comings and goings of tradespeople to your property, including who needs to be doing what onsite, when.
Some home renovations could involve upwards of 10 subcontractors, so having a dedicated project manager to look after them is very reassuring for the homeowner. “It’s a bit like taking a pill to prevent a headache. Refresh is the pill. We make the renovation experience hassle-free, pain-free and headache-free – and we live by that”, says Refresh specialist.
Detail your design
It can sometimes be hard for a homeowner to articulate what they’re looking for in a renovation. “The Concept Plan is the most important stage of the home renovation process because it matches a homeowner’s dream with a budget they can afford,” says Refresh specialist. “We prepare drawings once, twice, even three times based on what the homeowner wants, until they can visualise the final product and imagine themselves living in it.”
Think about the future
Are you renovating to resell or grow old comfortably? If the plan is to sell up in six months, spending an extra $20,000 on luxurious fittings might not be worth it.
Confirm a quote
Avoid surprise bills and blown-out budgets by clarifying an estimate versus a quote. “Refresh doesn’t give you an estimate, Refresh gives you a quote. A quote gives the clients a high level of certainty which means they can go to the bank and get a loan for exactly the amount they need”, says Refresh specialist.
Establish a schedule
Make sure your timeframe expectations align with your contractor’s to minimise confusion and disputes. A thorough plan before work starts should outline the expected timeframe alongside your vision and budget.
Check their insurance and warranties
“If you hire separate tradespeople to do different parts of the renovation puzzle, things get complex very quickly around insurance, warranties and accountability issues,” says Refresh specialist. “Using a home renovation builder means the overall responsibility of a worksite goes back to the project manager, so the homeowner doesn’t have to worry about anything.”
Understand the do’s and don’ts
The beauty of a home renovation builder is that they “have a deep understanding of all the ins and outs, including legislation, regulations and building codes, that 95% of homeowners just don’t have. It all comes back to peace of mind, says Refresh specialist.
This article by Erin Reilly featured in Issue 018 of Renovate Magazine. Renovate Magazine is an easy to use resource providing fresh inspiration and motivation at every turn of the page.
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