Survive your home renovation with these top 6 tips

It’s widely recognised that renovating your home is one of the top 10 most stressful life events, not least because it involves a vision of your future home and, usually, quite a lot of money. Yet the process of transforming your home into a place that reflects your personal style and needs is also one of the most satisfying experiences, particularly if things come together with relatively few setbacks. To help you get through your renovation with just the average amount of stress, we’ve come up with these top 6 tips.

1. Move out for the duration (if possible)

If your entire house is being gutted and rebuilt, you might have no choice but to move out while the renovation takes place. In this case, you should plan well ahead of the start date and try to find a short-term rental nearby. (And, of course, you’ll need to factor moving costs and rent into your overall budget.) If, however, you’re renovating part of the house and other parts are still habitable, you may opt to stay for the bulk of the work, moving into temporary accommodation during phases like painting and floor polishing.
In both cases, there are options to the expense of renting but they’re not always easy to come by. You could investigate house-sitting opportunities for example; or perhaps you’re lucky enough to have family close by with rooms to spare. Whatever your situation, it is advisable to spend some time out of the house during the renovation, as attempting to live through it in make-shift conditions can add a lot more stress to an already stressful experience.

2. Pack as though you’re moving (even if you aren’t)

Packing your stuff properly and storing it so things are easily accessible is key to a good start to your reno. It’s also essential to making moving back in a relatively swift and stress-free process. So get your hands on some strong packing boxes and tape and start in the rooms that are going to be impacted first. Label boxes clearly as you go and store them so you can see what’s where, with less crucial items at the back and things you might use at the front.
Don’t forget to put aside those articles you’re going to need over the period of the renovation. For example, if it’s late summer when you’re packing but the work is going to take four months, you’ll want to keep some cool weather clothes on hand. And, if you have kids, make sure you think about what school and sports clothes, text books and other paraphernalia might be needed over the months ahead. Replacing stuff can get expensive and frustrating, particularly when you know you’ve already got it but you can’t locate it.

3. Create a schedule (and try to stick to it)

Invariably a renovation will run over schedule, but you need to have one in place from the start in order to know how you can get back on track. If you’re managing the project, make a detailed plan of who’s turning up and when and keep on top of your tradies. Call them a week before they are due to turn up to confirm that everything is going to plan, as timing is essential to a smooth renovation.
If your architect is overseeing the project, meet up with him/her on-site at least once a week to inspect what’s been completed and assess where you’re at on the schedule. This means you’ll be across any setbacks from the word ‘go’ and can plan you and your family’s movements accordingly.

4. Stay within your budget (factoring in a few hiccups)

Ever chosen a paint colour or tiles and changed your mind once you see them on the wall? Well, this is a common experience during the renovation process and one that can prove costly if you give in to your initial feelings. One way to avoid last minute regrets and expensive changes to the plan is to take your time making important colour and style decisions from the outset. If you’re confident in your choices, it’s far less likely you’ll be disappointed in the finished product. And far less likely you’ll exceed your budget re-doing things.
Another way to avoid breaking your budget is to factor in another 10% when you’re working out costings at the start of the project. This 10% can be set aside for costs that can’t be predicted (say, you’re re-stumping and discover that half the floorboards need replacing) or for really serious fixes (the dishwasher you ordered doesn’t fit in the space that’s been made for it), making such things part of your budget, rather than blowing it.

5. Communicate with your architect, tradies & builders (but don’t lose your cool)

We can’t emphasise enough how important it is to maintain good relationships with the people who are doing the labour, whether it’s the architect who is project managing or the contractors who are installing your plumbing. Sure, we acknowledge that tradies and builders can make mistakes or things can go wrong that are out of everyone’s control. But keeping your cool throughout the ups and downs and maintaining open lines of communication is the best (and least disruptive) way to deal with these inevitable issues. You’ll find a builder or tradie who respects you will want to do a good job for you, fixing up mistakes or accidents without question. This goes for your project manager too, if you have one, as challenging their authority will definitely put his/her back up. Fundamentally, communicating in a clear manner on a regular basis with your contractors, plus being present on-site as much as you can, is the only way you’ll keep things ticking along without unnecessary drama.

6. Document everything (absolutely everything!)

From day 1 of planning the renovation, keep a written record of everything that is discussed and agreed upon, whether it’s with the architect, builder or tradies. This way, if a dispute or issue arises on either side, you’ll be able to look back at your notes to clarify what has actually occurred. Additionally, ask for copies of all receipts and invoices from suppliers, to ensure you’re getting what you want within your allotted budget. If something isn’t available and needs to be replaced with a different product, get in on the discussion from the start so you have a say in what ends up in your home and how much it costs. Finally, documenting the progress of your renovation is a great way of maintaining the momentum, keeping your enthusiasm alive and the end goal in sight.

Seymour Building Supplies stocks a huge selection of trade building supplies to meet the needs of trades people, developers, owner-builders and builders, including steel reinforcement, bricklaying & rendering supplies, and professional plumbing supplies.
Give us a call on 9816 5999 or visit the website to find out how we can help you survive your renovation.