Want to know the top 5 mistakes people renovating and building mistakes people make?
It can be overwhelming when thinking about how you will build or renovate your home.
You’re not sure where to start, the best way to do it, how much things will cost, who to trust, or really where to turn.
There are big decisions involved and usually, big costs. It can be confusing and stressful, even though it’s exciting and an adventure.
So sometimes you’re desperate for help wherever you can get it.
I’ve helped a lot of people create and build new homes.
And I’ve had countless conversations at BBQs, the school gate, park picnics and parties, being asked for advice about the latest renovation drama, house building, or design problem someone has been having with their home.
And if it wouldn’t make party conversation so awkward, these are the things I’d ACTUALLY tell these people hoping for a bit of free advice to set them on their way to creating the house of their dreams.
So here it is – the top 5 mistakes I see people make when building or renovating their homes.
MISTAKE NUMBER 1: Worrying about who you can trust
The only person you need to worry about trusting … is yourself. The sooner you understand that the builder, the tradesperson, the salesperson, the project home company, even the architect … are ultimately protecting the interests of their own businesses, then the closer you’ll be to figuring out how to navigate this journey.
Instead of worrying about whether they’re trustworthy, whether they’ll look after you, do the right thing by you … do your homework.
How long have they been in business?
How many satisfied customers can you speak to?
How many disgruntled customers can you find?
How many of their existing homes can you see built, lasting well, looking good?
Have you checked their licenses?
Have you bought insurance incase the unthinkable happens?
Do you have a contingency incase something goes wrong?
Don’t see these people as the gateway to your dreams. These people are simply the hurdle to your outcome – you have to navigate them to realise all of your hopes and dreams into a built reality.
You are the gateway. You make it happen.
Surround yourself with a team of reliable people who have a strong track record you’ve checked from multiple sources (ie done your homework).
There are thousands and thousands of decisions that get made in building and renovating a home – so mistakes are bound to happen. Know that even if you’ve checked and double-checked, things can go wrong on your job, so cover your arse – with insurances and a contingency (10-15% of your budget is what I recommend is set aside).
Do your homework. Don’t complain if you haven’t. Realise that you get what you pay for, and if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys. If you insist on not paying for advice, then do A LOT more homework – and see point 3.
MISTAKE NUMBER 2: Not prioritising design
If you want to create a great home, start with the design. Design makes the difference. Design is what impacts how you get to live each and every day, regardless of the size of your home, or how much stuff you have in it.
The most incredible builder can do THE most amazing and beautiful job on exceptionally delivering the greatest and most exquisitely finished house –
BUT – (and it’s a big but)
Please hear me when I say this:
If it is poorly designed
If it doesn’t work, isn’t functional and easy to live in
If it costs a fortune to heat and cool
If it simply doesn’t support you living your best life in it
Then the quality of the building will matter very little. It will never be a comfortable, well-designed home and a place you love to live in.
So start with the design. Take your time. Whilst things are on paper, they are cheap. Once you dig dirt on site, things get expensive. So make all your decisions on paper, BEFORE you build.
Can’t ‘see’ what it’ll be like? Buy a can of spray paint from Bunnings, or some stakes and string. Measure it out on site at full-size. Step around inside the rooms. Try to picture what you’ll see through the windows and doors. Think of it as prototyping.
And remember my golden rule:
Create a design that responds to the orientation of your site. That’s a gift that keeps giving back over and over when it comes to designing your home.
MISTAKE NUMBER 3: Thinking that advice you don’t have to pay for is free
There is no such thing as free advice – you always pay for it in one way or another. The simple payment is in returning a favour, but the much more complex, and often more costly payment is in the missed opportunity, the terrible outcome, the result that is a massive shortcoming from where it could and should had been.
The price of advice is built into everything. The ‘free’ chat you have with the salesperson at the display home – is built into the cost of building with that business. The ‘free’ quote you get from a tradesperson – is built into the work they do for you or another of their clients. The ‘free’ advice – that builds a feeling that you have to reciprocate, or offer someone preference.
So, do yourself a favour and stop thinking you can navigate this journey for ‘free’. Either accept that at some point you will pay for it in some way, shape, or form … or put your hands in your pocket and actually pay properly – with money – for expert advice, that will really help you achieve the full potential of your outcome, the best result you can and the full delivery of your dream home.
MISTAKE NUMBER 4: Thinking that money is standing in your way of having what you want
“But I can’t afford it”. I hear this all the time. “It” being professional advice, a particular builder, a certain design, material, feature or fixture. What people are actually saying is … “I am choosing to not spend money on this”.
Because every time you spend money (or not spend it), you make a choice.
And what you spend money on is a reflection of what you value – not what you can afford. What you think is expensive, is about what you value too – not what you can afford.
And when you choose to spend money on the cheaper item, the lower quality item, the one more likely to break down sooner or not last that long, you are actually choosing to afford being able to replace it at some point in the future (or live without it when, at that point, you decide you can’t afford to replace it).
When you think you can’t afford expert, professional assistance, but instead you set aside money for a sofa, or a flatscreen TV, or particular tiles – that’s a choice too.
What you think you can or can’t afford – it is all a choice.
Your experience of life is not limited by money. You may think it is, but it honestly isn’t. Everywhere around you, people with much less resources, much less opportunity, much less access, are achieving amazing things, changing their lives and building better futures for themselves and their families.
So what are YOU doing that limits your ability to do and have what you really want?
And if you’re not happy with what you have right now, what the hell makes you think you’d be happy with more? (that’s a paraphrase of Oprah).
If you choose to spend money on things that don’t really impact how you get to live – over the things that do – then don’t complain about where you end up. You just prioritised the wrong things. This is general advice, but most definitely applies when it comes to building and renovating your home.
MISTAKE NUMBER 5: Not educating yourself
OK, so you won’t pay for the advice, you’ll worry about whether you can trust the builders and the tradespeople, and you don’t have the professional experience yourself to do this … then get educated.
It’s the only option left to you.
Empower yourself with the information you need.
And I don’t mean by reading the blogs of all those novices out there building their own homes for the first times (holy cow, there’s a plethora of those).
I mean accessing the abundance of information and resources available written by industry experts, professional bodies and people who do this for a living – day in, day out.
Seriously, I think reality TV has deluded a lot of people into thinking that renovations and building new homes is easy and anyone can do it. What is forgotten is the team of professionals sitting in the background of those shows, the preparation that happened before them, and even the expert feedback given in judging and advice along the way. It is not easy, even when you’re a professional. It is not quick, and not anyone can do it themselves. Only those who are willing to get educated, informed and empowered stand half a chance of creating a great result in the end.
WHY DOES ALL THIS MATTER?
Thought this was going to be a post about what electrical fittings to choose? Or what material to build your house from?
Frankly, none of that really matters if you don’t start at the beginning with the right foundations, and framework for your journey. The roadmap you ACTUALLY need to get to your destination – the best home you can create for you.
This is about unlocking what’s possible.
So no one has to just settle anymore.
So you can live your best life.
A life you love to live.
So you can build a better future for yourself and your family.
It can all happen with your home. Don’t make these mistakes, and the rest of the journey will be much more straight-forward for you. Or if you do – learn from them, and do things differently next time.