I’m renovating my own apartment very soon so it’s a great time to share some of the steps to ease the taxing renovation experience. Interior designer and guest judge onThe Block, Darren Palmer shares his renovation checklist.
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1. Get to know the neighbours
These are the people that know the area, building or street. They may have insights into what has been proposed in the building or home you now own. They may know some things that you don’t. Your neighbours are also the ones that will be affected by your renovation so discussing their concerns and understanding their points of view may save you delays at council level.
Do your due diligence. Look at what the market wants in your area so you can make sure you deliver a renovation of the right level for the right price – ie not overcapitising.
Think about what you need to change, add, subtract to make your renovation successful. Consider usage and what simple things will make your property more usable and therefore more valuable.
3. . Shop with your fingers and phones
Plan the items you’d like to include, have options for them (tiles, PC items, appliances etc) and then use the interweb to look for deals. Visit discount warehouses, showrooms, ebay whatever and get pictures to build your property, before you actually build your property
4. Understand the value of YOUR time
I’m a home handyman/weekend warrior and I have the scars to prove it but there’s often false economy in DIY if you’re a $300 per hour Accountant and you can pay $60 per hour for a labourer to do the same task twice as fast.
5. Have an end date
If you’re overseeing the project yourself timeline everyone tightly and hole them to it. If you’re working with a builder make them do it. Be aware that jobs can easily run out by 10-20% if you’re not watching like a hawk.
6. Have a budget
No one with integrity is going to hear your budget and make their invoice match it. You’d be surprised how much people want to help when you share your budget and your vision.
7. Work with an amazing interior designer
8. Know what you can scrimp on and what you can’t
A good tradesman is worth their weight in gold – which is approximately what they charge BUT you’ll pay twice if you use anyone the industry refers to as a “cowboy”. You can get good cheap tiles (TFO), or decent low cost carpet but don’t cut corners on contractors or building works.
9. Write everything down
Don’t have a verbal conversation with a supplier or contractor that you don’t get signed off in writing. Transcribe an email straight after and get a written “OK” to the points discussed if need be – just don’t leave yourself open to “he said, she said” cause that gets messy – and costly.
10. Keep your cool
With your partner, with your kids, with your colleagues, with your contractors – Renovating ends marriages when not handled well so like those annoying signs say “Keep Calm and Carry On”.
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