Avoid these 3 commonly made and expensive mistakes when planning your renovation or new build.
And ultimately avoid disaster and heartache as you create your future family home.
Let’s talk about HOW TO AVOID 3 EXPENSIVE MISTAKES WHEN PLANNING YOUR RENOVATION OR NEW BUILD.
These are mistakes I see homeowners commonly make that can cause big budget overruns, and unnecessary expenses in their projects.
The “DIVE IN” mistake
I see there are 2 phases with planning a renovation or new home. The first is what I call the “research” phase. The second is what I call the “rip tear bust” phase.
Now, these aren’t the phases of the actual project. These are how I see homeowners often behave when it comes to getting prepared, and then executing, their project.
So, what defines each stage? Well, the research phase is the part of the project where you’re toying with the idea, actually thinking about it, or do actually know you’ll be … at some point in the future … renovating or building your home.
This phase varies in length of time … depending on the homeowner and the way they ordinarily do things, the state of their current living situation, and their lifestyle overall. It can be anywhere from 6 to 12 months up to 5 or more years.
I’ve had some homeowners tell me they’ve been seriously considering renovating or building for 20 years, but life has just continued to get in the way.
Meanwhile though, they’re honest about the fact that it’s occupied time, attention and conversations. Collecting ideas, and considering what will work and what won’t in their own home, and their desire to change it.
For most people though? Well, the most common I see is that 2 to 3 year time period. Renovating and building can involve big change, big expense and big commitment of time and energy, and so it’s no wonder that it takes a while to get momentum, and to feel prepared and ready to move onto the next phase.
And oftentime, that research phase can be overwhelming.
As you start to learn about what’s involved in building or renovating, you can feel you simply discover more of what you don’t know. If you’re doing this alone, on your computer, ipad or phone in the evening … or you’re talking to others who haven’t done it but can share every horror story they’ve heard … or you’re watching reality TV … well, they’re all surefire ways to prolong your research, as the fear and nerves build up that prevent you from taking action.
Now, what’s the next phase? Well, it’s the ‘rip tear bust’ phase I mentioned earlier.
Now, when I say ‘rip tear bust’ I’m not talking about the process of starting demolition, or site preparation when construction happens. I’m talking about the attitude of homeowners once they actually decide to kick off their project.
See, even after having spent years on planning, researching, getting ready to hit ‘go’ … and perhaps it’s because years have been spent … once the decision is actually made to go ahead with a project, homeowners generally dive in boots and all. And this is the ‘dive in’ mistake I mentioned right up front.
There’s this slow, patient, we-have-all-the-time-in-the-world, pace that happens with the research phase. And then when a homeowner says “we’re actually going to do this, we’re going to start moving on our renovation or new home”, there’s this attack, or urgency that happens.
If a designer isn’t ready for 6 months, it’s too long to wait. If it’ll take 12 – 18 months to get drawings and approvals done, it seems like forever. If it’s not all happening yesterday, there’s an impatience and frustration with the process overall.
Now, I can completely understand this. Of course, when you want it done, you want it done. However, the thing with renovating and building is that certain parts of it can’t be hurried regardless of how fast you’d like them to happen. And if you’re making decisions based on availability, or reduced timing, then those decisions can sometimes not serve you well.
In fact, I’ve seen homeowners not be prepared to wait 3 months for the builder they actually wanted, because they were ready to get going now. And then the builder they choose instead ended up going into liquidation in the middle of the project … they ended up with the original builder they had wanted to use, who agreed to come in and fix everything, as well as finish the job.
The only problem was, that by that stage, it ended up being hundreds of thousands of dollars over budget, and 12 months past the original finish date.
I’ve seen the same happen with designer selection.
Homeowners have chosen someone based on availability, not on fit. And then they’ve not been able to trust them fully when working with them, or have full confidence in their ability. They’re not convinced by the design concept they’ve created, they doubt whether it’s the right way to progress. And so they stall, and delay, having invested money and time in working with a designer that wasn’t the best fit for their needs or project.
Good quality designers usually have a wait period. Good quality builders are the same. And if you’re in a rip tear bust mindset, you rarely save money when you’re needing to do things with urgency.
So, what should you do instead?
TIP #1: Use your ‘researching’ time more effectively
This includes having some structure to your research, using it to understand process rather than simply collecting beautiful and inspirational images to your pinterest board, and also mapping out an overall plan for your renovation or building journey – including the timeframes and people involved.
The first research I recommend you do when planning a renovation or new home is to understand the steps your project will take … from the point of understanding what you’re allowed to do in your area, through to what you can afford, what team you’ll put together, how you’ll get the design right, and how you’ll get it built. Then, this can shape all your research so you spend your time far more productively, rather than disappearing down that google or pinterest rabbit hole.
And this can help you save money as you get ready, working out what will be the best places to put your budget overall.
My online course, “How to Get it Right in Your Reno or New Home” is a simple way to get a useful and effective framework for your renovation or building journey. It’s laid out step-by-step to take you through the four phases of any project, regardless of its budget or location.
These phases are
- “Before you Begin”,
- “Getting your Design Right”,
- “Before you Build” and
- “Getting your project built”.
Understanding the steps involved in each of these phases will help you move confidently through your project, and even get started sooner than you thought you could. I find that once the fear is lifted, once there is an effective plan and process laid out, then homeowners find it’s not so overwhelming and actually get excited about making their project happen … in a calm and confident way.
Trina, a previous member of the course said this …
“How to Get it Right” gave me an oversight into the process of building literally from the ground up. I feel it is preparing me for the process and streamlining my decisions to ultimately save me time and money. It has instilled confidence in me to find a team that will work for me to build our forever home.
I am going into two architects offices next week and I am excited about it because I feel confident from taking this course that I know what to ask them in order to choose the right person for this job. And I am armed with a brief that will help them see our vision as well.”
Since doing the course earlier this year, Trina has actually been working with an architect and is moving closer to getting her design finalised soon.
The “MAKE YOURSELF A TARGET” mistake
This is where you don’t get informed for your project and not give yourself the means to benchmark anyone’s performance, check the advice you’re being provided, or confirm you’re making the right steps for your reno or build.
And then you make yourself super susceptible to be taken advantage of, and a target for dodgy builders, bad designers, and terrible service all round.
You’ll often hear me say that renovating and building is not one decision. It’s a series of decisions, made one after the other. Sometimes you can be making several simultaneously, or sometimes making sequential decisions where one leads to another. Some come flying at you fast and furious, others take more time and need more consideration.
What I see happen for people is that they often keep their view at a micro level. So, they’re making each step with their view on how they’ll keep moving forward and make the next step.
However, if you’re maintaining a close-range view – especially one that’s uninformed – it means you can ignore really obvious red flags because you have blinkers on, or you don’t jump up to helicopter view to check you’re on the right path, and don’t have benchmarks to check your progress or performance against.
I saw a woman’s post in a renovating and building Facebook group. She was asking for help to deal with the situation she was in with her builder.
She has been dealing for 2 years with a builder who consistently makes errors, is months overdue on her project, bullied her into signing a contract under duress, and lies about work being done that’s not. Handover was set, and he instead delayed it to wait for his final payment.
He’s charging variations they’ve not agreed to, and is withholding the keys until he’s paid. She’s also discovered a clause in his contract that forbids her from reviewing him online. And as you can imagine, she’s stressed and exhausted.
From the benefit of where we sit, and this is what I often see happen, we can all think “Oh, I’d never get myself into that position”.
And yet, I speak to so many homeowners who have been working with builders, or designers, or other team members for weeks, months, years sometimes and tolerate terrible service and behaviour.
Because they’ve not been informed about what they can demand from those they’re working with, and how to avoid making themselves a target for this type of shoddy service. And get ripped off financially, or worse still, stuck with a home that’s a liability.
Please let me reassure you that building and renovating does not have to be a disaster.
It can be enjoyable. It can be a process where you get excited about the finished home you’re working towards, find an amazing team who are on the same page as you, and get to deliver a great design on budget. This does happen … far more often than the horror stories actually … it’s just that the news of them travels so much further and faster.
So, how do you enjoy your project? And set yourself up for success? Here’s your tip.
TIP #2: Be informed, so you can set your expectations.
This includes having benchmarks and tools to confirm your progress and give you strategies to put into action.
If you don’t have these tools, it’s really easy to be delivered mediocrity and sub-standard service and be none-the-wiser. And it’s much easier to get the wool pulled over your eyes, or fall for someone telling you what you want to hear – not the actual truth you need to hear for your project.
In my “How to Get it Right” course, I share information about this for lots of different aspects of your project. One is the various members of your potential team, when they’re compulsory and when they’re optional – so you can avoid unnecessarily paying for people, or not getting the right team on board from the outset.
I also share some great strategies to interview your potential builder, so you can find the best fit for your project. Plus recommended dimensions for the various rooms in your home design … plus a lot of other type of tools and tactics like this to support you to make the right decisions in your project.
Previous member Karen said “Thank you so much for all of the info in this course, it is really informative and has us well armed for our build”.
And one of my favourite bits of feedback was from a woman named Bronwyn, who said “”With the paperwork presented and questions put forward, they asked what part of the industry I worked in LOL. The great start is all thanks to our not-so-secret Ally!”
What does this mean?
Well, remember when I mentioned the 4 phases of a project that I teach in “How to Get it Right” … those 4 phases were …
- Before you Begin,
- Getting your design right
- ,before you build, and
- getting your project built …
What I see is homeowners seeking to save all their money to spend in phase 4 … getting their project built. And they resist spending any money in the other 3 phases.
And yet, time, effort and strategic spending in phases 1 to 3 … before you start construction … will actually end up saving you time, money and stress in phase 4, in the process of getting your project built.
Spending your money on experience and expertise can be a really worthwhile and important way you avoid heartache and drama in the execution of your project.
We can get caught up with all the things we want to buy for our home … the space, the materials, the interior finishes, the fixtures, and the furniture … and forget that how those spaces get shaped, and those materials and products get chosen, will dramatically determine whether the home is great to live in, or an expensive mistake we regret for a long time to come.
If you’re paying for all your upfront costs … as in designers, other consultants, approval fees etc from your own pocket, and then funding the build from your mortgage, I find this can impact your decision-making around how you spend your money.
I see homeowners have a different relationship with the money that comes out of their own account, vs what they’re borrowing from the bank. It can be a timing thing as well … because you’re not often getting your finance sorted until you’re ready to build, and the leadup to your construction can take some time.
However, spending strategically on this experience and expertise can be an incredible way to access years and years of knowledge across many other projects like yours – so yours is far more successful as a result. To anticipate potential pitfalls, and manage your risks that can cause cost blowouts if you don’t avoid them. And to stretch your building budget so every dollar you spend on it has the greatest impact on your home and the lifestyle you lead in it.
TIP #3: Don’t apportion your budget like assigning dollar items to a shopping list.
Assess what spending might occur in those first 3 phases of your project, and determine whether the early spending is an investment in experience and expertise that will streamline the execution of your project.
What you’re seeking is an efficient project where the process is simplified, and you feel supported and guided throughout. Don’t go lone ranger on this – it’s not necessary, or necessarily wise either. Having a guide can make a huge difference in the home you create, and the journey you take towards it.
And of course, “How to Get it Right” is a super affordable way to access this expertise and experience. Not only mine which is over 20 years industry experience over 250 projects including 3 renovations of my own … but also to share the experience of others.
This is the last live round of the course that I’ll be running for 2018, which means that you can enjoy being part of a private Facebook group where you can get your questions answered, and see what other homeowners are challenged by.
What I love is that, every time I do this, I see homeowners leapfrog their learning, because they benefit from other homeowners asking questions they haven’t even thought about yet. And they also get the enjoyment of being part of a community of likeminded people also planning their projects. It’s a huge opportunity to tap into the collective learning and knowledge base for the period of your membership.
In fact, Laura told me … “Amelia, you’ve created such a welcoming, unique and accessible space for people to tap into your wealth of experience, and a host of other professionals, at a time when we feel confused, vulnerable and nervous! Thank you so much.”
And Nigel’s feedback was this … “Firstly, thank you so much for the fantastic H2GIR course! It was packed with information that provided us with further clarity as to the team we need to establish to create our family’s “forever” home. The community and your guiding input was really enlightening and we got much more out of it than our initial positive expectations!”
LISTEN TO THE EPISODE NOW.
“How to Get it Right in Your Reno or New Home” is a great way to get ready for your renovation project …
Whether you’re planning on kicking off in the next few months, or next year, or even the year after that … to be frank, no one has ever learnt this information and said “well, I learnt that too early, I should have waited!”
Mostly they’re saying what Christina said “I am absolutely loving this and wish I had found you sooner! Your advice and tips are brilliant”.
So, quickly let me go through some common questions I receive about “How to Get it Right” …
Who is it for?
Anyone who is planning to build or renovate their home, or has even started working with a designer or architect on the plans for their project. You can never do this course too soon … because it streamlines everything you do from here on in. If you’re about to start building, then Manage Your Build is a better fit for you.
Why would you do it?
Well, because you want to be more efficient and strategic in your project. You want to save time, money and stress. And you know there’s a lot at stake as the decisions and choices you’re making will become the permanent home you’ll be living in … and you don’t want to create a home you hate, or regret. You know that renovating or building is an undertaking, and so you want tools and knowledge to make it simpler for you, and to help you feel more confident and in control of the process, so you can be in the drivers seat for your project.
How is it different to Manage Your Build?
Manage Your Build goes into detail on signing contracts, and the actual construction process on site for a build or renovation. It only focuses on that 4th phase … “Getting your project built”.
“How to Get it Right” encompasses the whole process, and covers those 4 phases I’ve already mentioned a couple of times. There’s a lot more involved in a renovation or build than the construction process … and in fact getting the design right is a big part of this. You can have the best build process, but if you’re building a terribly designed home – well the best building process will simply not save it.
Many members of “How to Get it Right” have gone on to join Manage Your Build to get a complete picture. Some have felt confident in how they’ve been taught to choose the right builder that they don’t need to … as we do go through that in How to Get it Right. And I do help you with understanding site management and making selections for your project in “How to Get it Right”, plus give you some tools and templates for that.
For more information on “How to Get it Right in Your Reno or New Home” HEAD HERE NOW.