How and when should you get your renovation or new home project quoted?
The saying goes that renovating and building costs twice as much and takes twice as long as you expect.
However, in my experience, what happens is this.
Homeowners in fact start their project expecting that it will take half as long, and cost half as much as it actually will.
I don’t know how expectations and reality got so far apart. Perhaps it’s a diet of reality TV programs and big shed hardware stores. In my experience, most homeowners will have a brief … and a budget that is 50 – 75% of where it needs to be, to achieve that brief. And then they want it done pronto.
So there’s this readjustment that happens as they move along their journey, and find out (often with total shock) that their expectations and reality don’t match.
The worst thing is that homeowners often wait far too long to get to this point of readjustment.
They hope on a train towards their destination, without checking that they’re on the right train. It’s only several stops along their trip that they check, and discover they’re on an express train to somewhere they didn’t mean to go.
So, how do you avoid this? How do you avoid the hurt of derailing a train (ie your project) and it ending in disaster?
Simple. Get your expectations meeting reality as early as possible. If you can readjust early, then you can hop on the best train for you.
Part of this is working out the cost of your renovation or new home. Homeowners often feel this is a one-step process, however it’s definitely not.
This is how I recommend you find out what it will cost you to build or renovate your home … and when. And then manage your budget and spending along the way.
#1 At the very start
#2 To choose the best design concept to move forward with
Imagine a triangle, pointing downwards. You’re standing on the VERY wide edge of it, and your finished project is at the pointy end.
As you start your journey, there are LOADS of options. So much to consider and choose from.
Your ability to choose the simplest, most suitable path to that pointy end relies on this. You understanding and weighing up all the options available to you, and taking the best path for you.
Perhaps you’re trying to choose the best floor plan solution, the type of materials you want to build from, or the style you want your home to emulate.
Understanding the financial cost of these choices can be a good way to make decisions for your project.
At the beginning, perhaps you’re weighing up different design options. Should you do a single storey? A double storey? Add that extra living room now, or later? Do you do a skillion roof … or a gable? Can you afford that void?
Get costing advice early by showing design options to local builders or other professionals. Their estimates will be ball-parks, but they’re a great way to assess which option is preferable to pursue.
It’s also a great way to start collaborative relationships with these professionals to assist your project along the way.
#3 Before you lodge for Council Approval (DA, Development Application, Development Approval)
- Homeowner works with design professional or builder on the design for their new home or renovation … for weeks, or months.
- Professional develops design into package of drawings for Council lodgement … for weeks or months.
- Homeowner submits to Council and waits for Development Approval … for weeks or months.
- Homeowner then goes to Quantity Surveyor, Building Estimator, or Builder to get project estimated or quoted … usually weeks.
- Homeowner finds that approved project is well over budget.
- Homeowner, now totally demoralised, feels like chucking in the towel and scrapping the whole thing
- OR Homeowner spends several more weeks and months (and more money) changing the design to bring it back on budget, get an amended Council Approval, and then get ready to start.
- Homeowner is now delayed, bruised and battered – and wallet quite a bit emptier.
This diagram shows the steps and when to get costing information for your renovation or new home [PIN this image to save this blog]
#4 Before you get Building Approval (BA) or Construction Certificate (CC)
#5 Before you sign a contract with a builder
#6 During the construction project
#7 Before making the final payment
A final word
I see homeowners behave like it’s a foregone conclusion that their project will blow budget and timelines. Renovating and building doesn’t have to be that way.
The renovating and building journey is not a one-step process. It’s a step-by-step journey of discovery and selection. Sometimes you only have 2 options. Sometimes you have 200. Sometimes you may feel like you’re crawling, and at other times it feels like big jumps towards the finish line.
The most straight-forward way to avoid nasty surprises on your reno or new home journey is to start with good information and a reliable team. Then you can also work to make informed choices as you go. Checking and adjusting along the way.
Revisiting your design, your budget and your timeline at each of these stages will help you do this, and make the best choices for you … your budget, your site and your life. That’s the way you create the best home for you.
Other blogs you may find useful …
Where does money disappear in a renovation or new build? These are the key areas I see all the time.
Frustrated by working out the cost of renovating or building? Here’s what to do.
“I love it! I want it! I can’t afford it!” Here’s what to do instead.