Would you like a coach and 1:1 support for your renovation or building project?
Your Reno Roadmap, my renovation and building course and membership can provide the 1:1 support and advice to save you time, money and stress in your project.
How would it feel that, as you navigate the journey of building you new home or renovating your existing one … that you had a professional to check in with, get a second opinion from, and ask for advice at each step of the way.
Right from figuring out if you can afford what you want to do, to choosing your designer, getting your floor plan and home design right, making budget savings along the way, selecting your materials and fixtures, and then going through the construction of your project.
Someone who you could ask all your questions, and get a response, or get a review of your floor plans, or get help with making decisions?
And what if that someone was me, on tap, to help guide and support you at a 1:1 level?
Well, it’s possible, and that’s what this episode is all about.
LISTEN TO THE EPISODE HERE:
In today’s episode, I’m going to be talking about my VIP membership, Your Reno Roadmap.
Now, whilst this started as a course, or a program for home renovators, it’s grown and developed over the 4 years I’ve been running it, and we now have members who are building new as well. So, it could be called Your Building Roadmap too! And it’s really a mastermind of sorts … and I’m looking forward to being able to explain it in more detail because many people get in touch with me about this membership.
So, what is Your Reno Roadmap?
Well, it’s an online course and a membership all in one. It’s really the whole enchilada … it provides education, support, regular advice and guidance for homeowners whilst they navigate the process of building or renovating their family homes.
This happens through a few means. I call these the 4 C’s of Your Reno Roadmap. They are:
- And COMMUNITY
But, before I jump further into this episode, there’s some really exciting news that I want to share … and that is that now, when you join Your Reno Roadmap, you also get as a bonus, membership to Manage Your Build. This is the online course I discussed in the last episode, and it will help you simplify the construction process of your build or reno, feeling confident and staying sane!
That’s exciting isn’t it?! So, Manage Your Build is a bonus when you join Your Reno Roadmap.
If you listened to my episode a couple of weeks ago about The Welcome Home Course, you may have heard me talk about how Your Reno Roadmap came to be. I told the story of how, in October 2014, I attended a conference in Melbourne. And whilst I was there, in one of the breaks, a woman told me she was planning to renovate her home and asked where to start. Over the rest of that afternoon, I ended up writing out a step-by-step process … one I have followed and implemented in my own work for over 20 years. And yet, I hadn’t realised until this very point that this was actually a system.
It was just what I did in my work, in order to make projects happen efficiently, smoothly and to achieve the best results for my clients. And yet, when I wrote it all out, step-by-step, well … staring at me was a system I knew I could share with others … teach them what was involved … and completely simplify their renovation or building projects as a result. Put an end to that doubt, and overwhelm, and floundering … the endless hours on Pinterest and Google wading through the mountains of well-meaning but not-so-great advice … and actually give you actionable steps so you can make your project happen, and bring those future home dreams to life.
In November, 2014, when this was first released, it was called 30 Days to Reno Ready. It was a series of emails and PDF documents delivered over 30 days. It’s amazing to think that’s how it started, because over the past 4 years, as members have provided feedback and asked for specific information, I’ve developed and added to it, to grow it into the membership it is now. And during that time, I’ve loved seeing members the whole way through their projects and sharing their journey with us.
First things first … Let me say upfront first that one thing I’ve observed over the years I’ve been doing this is something I thought was really strange at first.
Especially given how much money is being spent on our future homes when we build or renovate. And how long the process can take, how many variables are involved, and that it’s where we’ll be living with our families in the future.
What is this strange thing? Well, it is how hesitant homeowners are to seek a second opinion when looking at their renovation or building project. Whether it’s seeking a second opinion on their design, or questioning if what their builder is telling them is true or the only way to do something … there’s this real resistance to involving other professionals and getting assurance that they’re moving on the right path.
Now, I’m going to speak a few generalisations here, but this comes from my experience, and perhaps you can relate.
Women generally can find it difficult to speak up, and can feel like they’re rocking the boat if they wanting to seek a second opinion elsewhere about their project.
Women can also feel that they’ll slow things up, or make relationships difficult, if they look like they’re not trusting what the designer or builder is saying to them. And given the long term nature of these relationships, they worry that will have a long-lasting impact on how well everyone gets along.
And women can also feel – or be made to feel – that they’re being silly for taking so long to gain certainty about their decisions. That choosing and committing to the design, the team, the building process, the finishes and fixtures, should be quite a straight-forward matter and does not require so much deliberation … let alone seeing advice elsewhere to support them in this.
And the industry also plays a guilty part in this desire to not seek a second opinion. Designers can be super precious about their work, and either directly or indirectly, and give the impression that a second opinion is a bad idea, disruptive to the process, or that you’re not entitled to seek one. In fact, I’ve personally experienced when a homeowner did seek a second opinion, that her designer told her he didn’t want to work with her anymore. She realised later she’d dodged a bullet by getting out of her working relationship with him at that point, but for her, it felt awkward and confronting at the time to navigate that situation.
I know that many members of Your Reno Roadmap keep their membership and my involvement in their projects a secret from their designer and their team. We had this funny situation recently, where a homeowner was asking for help on part of the design of their home. She’s working with an architect who is earlier in their career, and they couldn’t seem to reach a happy solution on this one part of the process. She posted in our Facebook group, and I did a sketch overlay of the area they were struggling with to propose a couple of ideas for it. She posted her thanks and also added …
“… so this might the occasion where I finally admit to our architect that I have been ‘seeing someone else on the side’ as I’ll need to share image this with her so we are on the same page.”
I know members have redrawn what I’ve suggested, or presented my ideas as their own feedback … and that is totally fine by me. After all, Undercover Architect is YOUR secret ally … this is about you, having the support, knowledge and advice you need to feel confident and get it right in your projects, and your future family home.
The thing is this … I implore you … don’t let anyone talk you out of your right to seek a second opinion on your design, your project, your choices, and how you’re spending your investment. Your home is far too important for you not be sure about what you’re doing.
If you were investing $500,000 in the stock exchange, I seriously doubt you’d take the advice of only one person before you decided what to invest in. This is no different.
Your Reno Roadmap is your ultimate second opinion, whilst you make one of the biggest investments you’ll ever make.
So, let’s dive into some of the questions I get about if and when to join Your Reno Roadmap and so then you can see who it is for, and who it is not for.
When you join Your Reno Roadmap, you get 12 months membership to the community with my 1:1 support. Membership can continue at a monthly rate after that. I find homeowners who get in touch with me about Your Reno Roadmap are often curious about when is the best time to join, to make the most of that access to support over the 12 months. That can be dependent on your project, but I thought the best thing would be to share the experience I’ve seen for some members, so you can relate that to your project to determine what suits you.
One question I get is “If I’m using an architect or designer, do I really need a membership like this?”
So this question builds on that idea of how valuable a second opinion is to you. And how much of your project you’re using your designer for.
We’ve broached the whole second opinion topic – so I’ll leave that up to you to determine whether you see it to be a worthwhile asset in your project, to have another professional to check in with on decisions along the way.
So the other part is how much of your project you’re using a designer or architect for.
I encounter many homeowners who use an architect or designer to help them prepare their design, their documentation for approvals, get them through their council approvals and help them with finding a builder, and then they don’t keep them on board for construction. It can be difficult for the first-time renovator or builder to understand how many decisions they may still need to make, or how to best prepare for construction if this is how they plan on using their designer or architect.
So, Your Reno Roadmap can be really helpful in ensuring you have my support the whole way through as you say goodbye to your own design consultant after drawings have been completed.
Also, I’ve noticed that some members choose less experienced architects, or building designers, who have lower fees. They do this in order to manage their project budget, and their membership in Your Reno Roadmap then enables access to my extensive experience to fill in the gaps as needed, or provide review and additional support.
Another question I get is “I haven’t even started yet, or I’m a little way off starting – is it too early for me to join?”
I firmly believe that it’s never too early to learn the information I share in Your Reno Roadmap, and start getting advice for your project, because then every decision and choice you make from then on is in the right direction.
And members have supported this by sharing that, due to what they learnt by joining Your Reno Roadmap early in their project, they’ve been able to establish specific things about their property, their block of land, and their future plans for their home – and this information has meant they’ve saved serious money, or been able to adjust their planning before getting too far down the track. It also means that they go about finding their team differently.
One member has shared her journey of finding and choosing a designer, and I’ve been so impressed as she’s put into action what she’s learnt … because she’s managing to streamline the process with her own preparation, get really clear on what they want for their future home, and do such a great job of sifting and filtering the architects and designers she’s speaking to … and she’s ended up finding one that’s such a great fit. We’ve then been able to review her fee proposal, I’ve given her some pointers of things to confirm with them before agreeing to it, and she’s on her way.
Renovating or building your home is a BIG process … and it can feel like a lot to take on when juggling with the existing demands on your time and energy. So, learning what you can to simplify this, to make it more efficient, to not waste time and to be strategic with your approach – that’s what Your Reno Roadmap is designed to help you achieve.
I also get asked “I’m building a home off-the-plan – do I really need a membership like this?”
If you’re building with a company like Metricon or another volume builder, Your Reno Roadmap is not a good fit. You’ll be entering an existing system where it’s difficult for you to call the shots about what happens and when, and you don’t have a huge variety of choices available to you due to how volume builders run their businesses. So, Your Reno Roadmap is not for you in this case.
Another question … “I already have my council approval – can Your Reno Roadmap help me?”
This will depend how much of your project you have resolved and decided before getting your council approval. I find that designers and builders guide their clients through their projects quite differently. For some designers, they submit drawings to council when there’s still a huge amount to resolve on the project. So you may have your council approval, but still have a LOT of decisions to make and things to get right.
For example, I just saw a comment in another Facebook group where a homeowner was starting the construction of their renovation project in a couple of months, and had just found out from a local authority body that they needed a range of additional approvals because of a sewerage pipe in their backyard. In my opinion this is something that should have been discovered and established before they started designing, not after they’ve finished their design and they’re about to embark on construction. Their designer, draftsperson, builder (or themselves) – whoever they were using to create their design and drawings, should have established the constraints and approval conditions prior to commencing the design. And so I find that, often, joining Your Reno Roadmap is an opportunity for homeowners to audit the way their designer has been working with them, be sure that all bases are covered before they get too far down the track of their project, and also seek more advice about how to handle situations like this.
As I’ve said, I sometimes find that homeowners at this point are often making final decisions on building materials and products … and there’s been a few times where, in the group, I’ve been asked about my thoughts on a specific product. If it’s not something I’ve personally used and can vouch for, then I’ve been able to jump on the phone to the supplier, ask the kinds of questions I would as an architect to determine the suitability of this material for the project, and share that information with the group. I find that often homeowners don’t know the specific questions to ask, or find it difficult to call companies like this … and so it’s something I can do for the members.
Also “The builder has told me they take care of everything with their in-house designers, their preferred suppliers, their process – I’m not sure if I should be getting a second opinion”.
Again, this goes to that point about how valuable you consider a second opinion. There are a lot of one-stop shops when it comes to building new custom homes, and there’s also some builders doing this with renovations as well. I’ve seen that Your Reno Roadmap has provided great help for homeowners in these situations, particularly in design feedback and reviewing options and alternatives within the delivery model being presented to them.
As I said, we have all sorts of homeowners, in different locations, different stages of their projects, and different types of projects … sharing their journey, checking in for feedback and advice and celebrating their wins along the way. I love seeing how other members cheer them on.
And I love seeing how, with guidance and support, their designs and their overall journeys, are so dramatically improved.
You know, when you build or renovate your home … you’re not supposed to know what you’re doing. There’s this misconception that it’s something we should inherently know … whether it’s the great Australian dream of homeownership … all the TV shows we have about house renovating and building … or the fact we can walk into Bunnings and buy most of what we need off the shelf … but it’s simply not the case.
You’re not supposed to know, and getting the support and help you need can make a massive difference to your project journey and the home you create.
Inside Your Reno Roadmap, we’ve got members who are working with a building designer, but want that second opinion on their project from an architect. They post their floor plans as they receive them from their architect or designer, and ask questions about things they’re not sure on them … and I provide feedback and suggestions. Because I’ve had the initial consultation with them, I’m aware of their site, their budget, their family needs – so the feedback is always in that context.
We’ve got members who are using a draftsperson, or they’re not using a designer at all and are doing their own designed floor plans … and so they use me in the Facebook group to help audit what they’re doing, and develop their design to its finished point. It’s actually amazing to see how their designs change and improve. I have architects who tell me it’s ludicrous to think that homeowners can design their own projects … but I’ve seen time and time again that those who have a natural skill, and a desire to learn and be guided, that Your Reno Roadmap is the perfect environment for them to get this support and advice.
Your Reno Roadmap also allows for both members of a couple to join the Facebook group. I just ask that you don’t use the group to mediate disagreements between both of you! But it means that both partners can be seeing communication, reading the feedback, seeing the tips I provide … you don’t have to be passing this on all the time, or giving your partner access to your Facebook account to keep them up to speed.
One of the things I love most in Your Reno Roadmap is giving members permission to speak up in their projects … or to take some time to make a decision. Sometimes all you need is a little encouragement from someone to say “yep, it’s totally within your rights to ask more questions about this” or “no, that’s not the only way to do it, you could perhaps try this” … or even to simply say “ this is YOUR home, YOUR money, you need to be happy with what’s happening, and confident you understand as well”. I actually joked with a member the other day that she’d come to the group because she found the answer her designer gave her about something was not what she was expecting … and so she brought it to the group, we worked out an alternative strategy she could go back with … she said “you’ve started a revolution Amelia!”
What’s inside Your Reno Roadmap?
So, as I said, Your Reno Roadmap is made up of 4 parts:
Let’s talk about the CONSULT first.
So, exciting news … as part of a couple of changes I’ve recently made to Your Reno Roadmap, which included adding Manage Your Build as a bonus, I’ve also upgraded the on-boarding kickstart session (which used to be a recorded 30 minute video from me) … to a one-hour 1:1 Skype consultation.
So, this Skype consultation is to use in the first 3 months of your membership.
I initially added this consult into Your Reno Roadmap because I found that those first steps homeowners make in their projects are critical in saving time, money and stress overall. It’s to avoid that mess of getting lost, or hiring the wrong people, or finding out after you’ve designed your extension that you have to get approval for building over a sewerage line in order to start construction.
So, you complete a questionnaire, choose your session time with me. In preparation for our time together, I research your property and your plans for it, and any specific questions you have. You can use this session to go over a potential design, to discuss ideas … whatever you want.
This session is recorded and uploaded to Vimeo with a password protection, so it’s available for you to watch at any time and with anyone. I don’t offer these sessions outside of my course members and clients, so it’s a great way to get 1:1 support from me straight away and streamline your project moving forward.
Now the COURSE.
I’ve spoken before about how one of the biggest mistakes I see homeowners make is where they focus their attention and problem-solving energy. It’s on the building end of the process of renovating or new home building … thinking about the builder they’ll choose and the finishes, fixtures, colours and materials they’ll be having in their home. Homeowners traditionally start their reno or building planning by looking at images of finished rooms, even wandering into a tiling shop, or thinking about paint colours. And yet, it’s not where the building or renovating journey begins. And what it does is set up the project and the mindset about racing to the finish line … and an impatience and urgency builds that’s not conducive to a well-run or well-planned project overall.
There are 4 stages to any project, wherever you’re located, whatever your brief, your budget, your needs, your plans. These stages are:
1. Before you begin
2. Getting your design right
3. Before you build
4. Getting your project built
Your Reno Roadmap steps you through each of these 4 stages, in a comprehensive and detailed way. In this course, I’ve included actions you need to take at each step, example documents or drawings, or templates for you to follow. There’s also a worksheet – or funsheet as I like to call it – because members asked for them – and so we created them. It means you can follow along, take notes if you want to, and put your learning into action.
The course is broken into modules, and I’ve got a detailed layout on the website as to what is included in each – so you can head to undercoverarchitect.com/courses/renovation-roadmap/ to see.
What I’ve learnt and seen is that there are steps to be followed as you plan and execute your reno or new build project. These steps can’t be skipped, because then mistakes get made if you do, or extra costs are incurred and headaches and dramas happen if you do them in the wrong order. You can outsource specific steps, but the actual step still needs to be taken in order for your project to progress, and your future home dreams to be realised.
The Your Reno Roadmap Course takes you through these steps in detail, and helps you map out the process for your own project in a confident and thorough way so you can save time, money and stress and get it right. Throughout the course, you build your Project Portfolio … a set of key, critical documents that you can then use throughout your project to get it right. These are marked with a heart symbol throughout the course, and they become your own personal toolkit for your future home.
Of course, this is adult learning, so how much you ‘take notes’ or read every word is up to you. The course starts with a checklist of questions which helps you understand your gaps in knowledge, so you can target your learning as well, and know which step to jump to if you hit a particular hurdle in your project.
Next, let’s talk about COACHING …
The COACHING is what really sets Your Reno Roadmap apart from other courses Undercover Architect offers – and what else is out there in the online world as well.
It’s why the membership has a higher cost, and why it has a 12 month membership timeframe on it … because I seek to really know, understand, support and help the members achieve great outcomes for their projects. Again, this is adult learning, so it’s up to you how you use the Coaching component of the course.
This coaching is provided at first in that initial consult we have … and then it continues in the private Facebook group, the UA Village. As I mentioned earlier, we have homeowners at all stages, in all locations, inside the group.
So, conversations vary here … I’ve looked back over the past couple of weeks, and we have posts from a member who has been working on her own floor plans to renovate and extend her existing home and asking for feedback on them. I either draw over the top of them to propose alternative ideas, or I’ll do a comment or short video to explain what could be amended to improve the design, or meet their needs better.
We have a member getting to the pointy end of resolving her design, and checking in on dimensions and layout in her bathroom. So, I’ve talked through some ideas with her in the group. She’s also asked for tips on choosing tiles for the home, and so I’ve provided some pointers on that too.
Another member is in the early stages of working through design concepts with her architect, and is posting updated drawings for feedback. It’s incredible to see the shift in the design between the first round she posted, and the second round after she’s sought feedback in the group, and been able to take that back to her architect. Often what can happen for homeowners at this stage is that they can ‘see’ there are things that aren’t quite right with the design, but don’t know how to articulate it in a way that’s meaningful beyond “I don’t like it” … and then there’s things that they miss as well. So to get a second set of eyes on it, especially at that early point when change is so possible and sets in train how fast your project goes and how much too-ing and fro-ing there is.
As a contrast, I’ve just seen a post in a Facebook group where a homeowner has been working with their architect for 12 months on the design of their project, and they’re still doing their own personal pencil sketches and asking people in this free group to provide feedback … and in her design, the fridge doesn’t fit. I’m not criticising her doing this – please understand that … but 12 months on the design concept is exhausting to think about, and far too common unfortunately … and I wonder if she’d had the opportunity to get an expert second opinion early on whether she’d be much further on in her project.
What else is there? Well, there’s homeowners asking about material suggestions for their facade, colour selections for their interior, details for specific items in their design like window seats, or the entry landing. I’ve reviewed fee agreements, and building contracts and all sorts of things to give my thoughts and suggestions … and this usually gets framed as “this is an area of concern or a red flag to me, or I can see a grey area around this, so perhaps ask this question, or check this item, or confirm this with your designer or builder” … the idea with this coaching is always to ARM YOU with what you need to move forward in your project confidently, and know that you can check in with me at any point along the way.
OK, let’s lastly talk about COMMUNITY …
One of the things I see happen for homeowners is just how personally challenging the process of renovating and building can be – especially for women.
It’s a combination of things – some of which I’ve discussed before. We invest a lot in the idea of our homes … our emotional attachment, the meaning of home to our sense of identity, our sense of achievement. We want to create something we’re proud of, that reflects all our hard work, that we can share with friends and family. That our kids are happy to bring their friends to. That gives us a place to relax after all our hard work each week. That restores us.
It’s also the platform, the stage, for all our memories. We load our projects with all of this, and more … and then we also are operating outside of our comfort zone, doing something we haven’t done before, knowing the decisions we make are really permanent and usually pretty expensive, and will have a long-lasting impact on our futures … our finances, our environment, our lifestyle. We bring ALL of this to the party … and it’s a cocktail for uncertainty, overwhelm, stress and nerves.
So the other components of Your Reno Roadmap are definitely about alleviating this – through education, and expert 1:1 support. The Community though – there’s nothing like seeing how members cheer each other on, or offer a sympathetic ear when someone shares a challenge or concern. When you share this journey with others who understand what it’s like, it definitely makes a difference to your resilience, and your daily ability to keep moving your project forward.
I love love love the community we’ve created in Your Reno Roadmap … it’s like have your own cheerleading squad. It’s an incredible group, full of supportive, clever members, sharing their experience and learnings, tips and tricks as well. I really do love it in there.
So, that’s Your Reno Roadmap: a 12 month membership containing …
- Your onboarding Skype one hour Consult with me to lay out your best first steps and get you moving quickly and painlessly on your project journey, whatever stage you’re at – you can use that in the first 3 months of your membership
- A comprehensive Course that lays out the steps to follow, and provides tools and resources along the way to build your own project portfolio and simplify the renovating or building process
- 1:1 Coaching from me to answer your questions, review your design, help you with selections, and point out any red flags or mistakes to avoid so you can be saving time, money and stress, and have certainty about your choices and decisions
- And a Community of like-minded awesome people who are on the same journey, to cheer you on and share their learnings as well
AND now you also get bonus access to Manage Your Build!
You can extend your membership on a month-by-month basis if you need to. Sometimes life gets in the way of our best-laid plans, and in some locations it can take 2 years or more to get the whole way through our projects.
So, if you’re thinking you’d like me in your corner at a 1:1 level for the duration of your renovation or building project, Your Reno Roadmap is the course for you.
Members have described their membership as life-changing, which is really humbling to hear. I think something really amazing happens to your sense of self, your sense of confidence, when you feel empowered to navigate a process you previously thought to be overwhelming and enormous.
When you have the knowledge and support you need to do it well, and do it simply, and you can check in with me along the way … it never ceases to amaze me just how incredible the members are and what they’re achieving, how they’re standing up for their homes, their investments, their future, and really driving their projects. It’s such a joy for me to be part of their journey, and to see that transformation happen.
Remember to head to undercoverarchitect.com/courses/renovation-roadmap/ … you can see what’s included in all the components, in the modules inside the course. There’s even a video that takes you inside the course platform so you can see more of what’s included, plus some sample posts from the UA Village, our Facebook group. And there’s of course some testimonials from members so you can see what they think about it.
I’m super passionate about how Undercover Architect helps homeowners, and I love how Your Reno Roadmap gives me the opportunity to support our gorgeous members in a way that really makes a difference to their projects, their homes, and their experience. If you think Your Reno Roadmap is a good fit for you and your project, I’d love to be able to support you in this way too.
If you’d like to find out more about Your Reno Roadmap, head to undercoverarchitect.com/courses/renovation-roadmap … and if you have any questions about the course, don’t hesitate to email me on [email protected]
Now, in the next, and last episode before Christmas, I’m going to be talking about “How to Get it Right in Your Reno or New Home”. This is my 6 week course, that’s basically a super fast way to get informed for your project if you’re building or renovating in Australia.
To date, I’ve run this on live launches, opening and closing membership for the 6 week period and then waitlisting in between. However, I’ve got some super exciting news to share with you next week about some changes to this course, so stay tuned for that episode – it may just change your Chrissy holiday plans!
Until next time, bye.
RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS PODCAST:
Join Your Reno Roadmap here >>> undercoverarchitect.com/courses/renovation-roadmap