It’s exciting when you first start thinking about renovating, or undertaking a decent-sized project around the house. You start tearing pages out of magazines or madly adding pictures to Pinterest! But getting from dreaming of a new family room and kitchen to the reality is a long journey. Alix Davis from Buildbox explains the steps.
Whenever you want to renovate, there’s a couple of things you can do right at the start to make life a little easier and give you a better chance of getting the result you’re looking for.
Work out your budget
Your real budget. Not how much you think it’s going to cost, based on a magazine feature you once read where some of the work was done by the homeowner’s dad who’s an electrician. How much money do you actually have to spend on this renovation. Not how much you wish you have. Really, how much do you have.
Meet with a builder or cost estimator
Builders are not designers, but they’ve got a very good idea of how much things can cost. Just because you have $350,000 to spend, does not mean your dream home can really be built for that much. Over 20 years as a licensed builder, JD from Buildbox renovation costing services has met with hundreds of potential customers. It’s come as a surprise to most that only about 60% of the budget is spent on actual building and construction.
The rest goes towards…
- Design and planning
- Site works
- Fixtures and fittings (there’s wiggle room here as only you know if you want a $200 toilet or a $1500 toilet)
- External works (landscaping, fences, driveways etc)
Meeting with an experienced cost estimator early on will give you a realistic idea of what you will be able to achieve with your budget. And please, just tell the builder the actual amount you’ve got – he’s not there to steal your money, he’s there to help you work out what you can achieve for your budget.
Commission a contour survey of your home
This will cost around $2000 if you call a local surveyor, and that’s before having initial concept plans drawn up. These can be done by an architect or a building designer. Once you’re happy with the initial concept (like extending to 3 bedrooms, installing a new kitchen, rejigging the main bathroom type of thing), get an estimate before going any further. These are NOT final plans and this will NOT be a final price but it’s better to know now if you’re looking at a $500,000 project when you’ve only got $350,000. Believe me, JD sees it happen all the time. It’s frustrating for the homeowner, who has spent time and money with an architect/designer only to discover that their plans bear no resemblance to their budget. If you’re keeping a realistic eye on costs right from the start, you’ve got a much better chance of creating a concept that fits both your budget and design parameters.
When the design and the estimated project cost are good, start the next phase!
Depending on the job you’ll need to get council approval and some changes may be necessary. Then, you’re ready to get a final estimate from your builder. I know, everyone says get three quotes. Some people get six! The last thing you want to do is have builders give you the price you want to hear, rather than a realistic cost, in order to win the job and then charge for extras later. Far better to find a builder you trust at the start of the process and work with them throughout the project. Renovating and building is a team effort and it’s worth building a good team right from the start.
Once all that’s done, well, you’re ready to get started. Happy renovating!
Buildbox provides building and renovation costing services to homeowners. Using the latest in 3D estimating software and combining our vast residential building experience, Buildbox is able to provide detailed building and renovation costings against approved plans or at the concept plan stage. Visit the BuildBox website or call JD on 0414 939 100 to discuss your building and renovating plans and how you can take control of your budget right from the start.