Don’t fall into renovation trap
“HOW hard can it be?” These five words are the mantra of many amateur renovators.
However many are learning the hard way that it is much more difficult — and expensive — than they first imagined.
“It’s amazing how many people get caught up in it,” said architect and judge Joe Snell. “People know what they want and think they know the best way to achieve it.”
Mr Snell said amateurs underestimating the scale of the job was unsurprising.
“It’s an age-old problem where people see it as something fun they want to have a crack at themselves and don’t properly consider the amount of work and money required to finish the job,” he said.
“The reality is a lot of heartache can be avoided if you seek advice from a professional. If you were spending that much money in any other part of your life, you’d seek professional guidance, so why not with houses?”
Mr Snell said there were many times he’d been called into a renovation job too late.
“People such as myself often get called in once people have already done a lot of work, spent a lot money in the wrong places and the house is still not their dream home,” he said.
“Sometimes you just have to walk in there and say ‘I’m sorry but you’ve really killed this house.’ It’s almost death by a thousand cuts sometimes.”
Assuming a property’s basics were all in order was another common pitfall that would-be Joe and Fil, Victorian contestants on the new series of Channel 7's renovators often fell into. “Without professional advice you can end up spending $60,000 on plumbing or electrics and the house looks no different,” Mr Snell said.
“When you resell, buyers aren’t going to pay more for a house because it has really fantastic plumbing. They will take that as a given.
“So it’s important to make sure a majority of your money is going to go into aesthetics not structural issues.”
Master Builders Association of Victoria chief executive Radley de Silva agreed professional guidance was vital.
“A very smart step in renovating your home is choosing a registered builder. This is one of the vital things you can do to make your renovation project the best it can be,” Mr de Silva said.
Forward planning to make sure the magnitude of the task was understood was also
integral. “Before you look for a builder, develop a comprehensive budget and have clear, detailed plans,” Mr de Silva said.
“Decide on what you want to achieve from the beginning and ensure everything is in place and documented to prevent unforeseen, costly amendments and confusion later.”