Renovating your home can be very stressful and quite frankly a bit of a pain in the ass.
YOU NEED TO HAVE A PLAN OF ATTACK WHEN RENOVATING YOUR HOME!
And it doesn’t matter if it’s just a simple renovation, new kitchen or bathroom…
…Or you’re going for a loft conversion, house extension/kitchen extension or basement.
The steps for each are all more or less the same.
What Boston Cows & Renovating Your Home Have In Common
I was in Boston in the US a couple of months back and the streets are simply all over the place.
The legend goes that the streets in Boston were set out by following the natural paths the local cattle took when walking through the fields at the time.
In fact one of the postcards I bought said: “In Boston town, of old renown, the gentle cows the pathways made, which grew the streets that keep the stranger quite dismayed.”
Whether this is true or not, there is a certain organic, chaotic flow to the place.
But the fact is that Boston is a nightmare to navigate your way around and I was only too glad that I didn’t have to drive in the place!
The lesson to be learned here is that if like Boston you let your home be renovated & extended by simply going with the flow & letting things happen naturally and see how it pans out by placing all your trust in your Architect, Builder or anyone else involved with helping you improve your home…
…then you are in for a nightmare journey too.
However staying on top of all this and staying sane during the work, especially if you are trying to run a business or have a busy job and then mixing family time into that too, can be a struggle.
Here are our 10 tips that you can use to get through the madness and not end up in an asylum by the time the whole thing is finished.
Now these aren’t in any particular order or timeline, in fact some of them overlap a bit but there be gold in them there hills.
Renovating Tip 1: Have A Plan Before You Start
The clearer you are about the end result you want to achieve with your renovation then the easier it is to make it a reality.
As soon as the ﬁrst seeds of an idea to renovate begin to germinate, start planning.
It’s never, ever too early to plan and the sooner you start doing it the better even if renovating is going to be way down the line.
So the best place to start for inspiration is with Pinterest.
There’s an absolute tonne of stuff there for you to get your teeth into and you can save all your ideas in one place.
Houzz.com & freshhomes.com are good too if a bit Americanised.
Renovating Tip 2: A Bit Of Research Goes A Long Way
Here’s one thing to keep in mind, there needs to be an overall theme to your renovation work.
And by that I mean each room in your home is just one part of the bigger whole of each floor so there needs to be some kind of consistency between each room you renovate.
So doing one room as you go isn’t a great approach unless you do the research and find what consistent design elements you want to go for.
Once you have that you can plan each room and maintain an overall design once the job is completed.
There are tonnes of info online, in fact it’s probably a bit too much, but the best places are on blogs and forums where other people discuss their ideas and experiences.
Take some notes and create a journal so you can organise your ideas in one place and then use this as a reference book as you go.
Here’s a blog post we have which can help you with this: https://www.bespokehomedesign.com/blog/reconfig-no1secretrenovating/
Renovating Tip 3: Get A Minimum Of 3 Prices From Builders
Firstly don’t contact any builders until you have done the first 2 steps.
The reason for this is that you need to give them as much info as possible so they have a good idea on what is involved and as a result can give you an accurate quote.
When getting prices from builders or trades make sure the quotes are comparable otherwise you’ll be comparing apples with oranges which isn’t going to give you a reasonable reflection on how the prices compare.
Get at least 3 prices per job you want done.
I actually recommend you go to at least 5 builders as there’s always a couple who don’t respond back.
In addition don’t choose on price alone, you want to meet and chat with each builder to see if a working relationship is possible.
This is essential especially if your project goes on for a while. Having good rapport will ensure an easier project for everyone.
Here’s a blog post we have which can help you with this: https://www.bespokehomedesign.com/blog/how-to-hire-building-contractors/
Renovating Tip 4: I Love It When A Plan Comes Together
The difference between dream projects and ones that are stress maniac nightmares is one has a good plan and the other doesn’t.
Some jobs are more difficult than others depending on how complicated or expensive the work is.
For some jobs you’ll need an architect especially if you require planning permission for what you want done for others you won’t like a simple bathroom renovation.
Getting building work done to your home is not to be underestimated.
Having detailed descriptions of what you want done will help you understand it better so you can then explain that to others in a clear concise way.
Things won’t go smoothly all the time but the better the plan the better this will be.
Renovating Tip 5: Make Realistic Deadlines
Every job is different and the reason for that is the amount of variables at play.
You as a client are different to other clients as we’re all unique in our own weird way.
This applies to the other people working on your job too.
Materials may be different, site access, how well you get on with your neighbours, etc.
Basically you are paying for a one off production without any rehearsals.
You have one chance to get most of the work right, we don’t usually build the same wall several times until its right!
That said do have expected time frames for everything and ask when they are not being met.
We’re funny creatures that way when it comes to filling our time, we seem to use up whatever amount of time we are given for a task regardless if it’s short or long. We seem to be able to fill it up either way.
Don’t be a drill sergeant about this; punctuality isn’t a trait for most builders. And don’t put Xmas as a deadline especially if you think it’s being optimistic to hit that date.
Renovating Tip 6: Move Out If Possible
This one is a tough one but I always recommend you move out if you can whilst the work is going on.
This is especially true if the work affects the major living areas such as the kitchen & bathrooms.
If you really can’t move out then one way is to stage the work so it affects the living areas one at a time and not all at once. That will cost you more because the job will take longer but it is an option.
If this isn’t an option either then you’re just going to have to face the fact that you’re living on a building site for a while and you’ll be sharing your home with builders for the length of the job.
Renovating Tip 7: Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life
Next we’re on to finding our happy place when things aren’t going the way you expected.
Letting your emotions get the better of you and going in all guns blazing isn’t going to solve anything.
Just take a deep breath and take a moment to calm down and get your thoughts together.
Doing this not only takes a bit of the tension out of the situation but you’ll also come across a whole lot better.
It takes self-control to do this and that demands respect.
Given the amount of variables involved try and find out what’s gone wrong rather than go on the attack.
If it’s a mistake on their part then going down this route will more likely resolve the issue than if you’ve aimed a verbal volley of bullets at them.
You’ll then only get their backs up and have a load of drama on your hands.
Renovating Tip 8: Flag Mistakes Immediately
The second you see something that doesn’t look right or to your brief then say so immediately.
This will avoid things getting worse, having to retrospectively change things and avoid needless costs & delays down the road.
Keeping a constant eye on things helps a lot but you do need to balance that without making them feel you’re looking over their shoulders all the time.
Speaking early about things that aren’t been done to your expectations saves it snowballing into a dispute later on so nip it in the bud ASAP.
Renovating Tip 9: Changes Will Cost You Money
Making changes as the project proceeds will cost you money and time; it’s as simple as that.
The better the plan going into the project the less chance this will happen.
Making changes as the project proceeds has a knock on effect on the items to be built later and there are usually a couple unforeseen consequences as a result.
Now I don’t want to sound doom & gloom here and if your project isn’t particularly complicated then this is usually minimised.
However if you are undertaking some considerable building work then be prepared for this to cost you big by the time the job is finished.
The clearer you can be about what you want done before you start anything the better things will go. You’ll also be less likely to change your mind.
Basically changing your mind a lot is a death sentence to a building project, you have been warned!!
Renovating Tip 10: Make Time For Your Renovation
Don’t be hard on yourself when things aren’t going well. Building projects are stressful and I know you’re already juggling a hundred things as it is without adding one of these things to it.
After your family, the renovation should be your priority time-wise. Put other things aside for the period of the work as it will need you sharp and focused.
Things can be exhausting but once you give yourself the time needed to carry out a renovation then you’ll be able to make decisions with clarity & certainty.
This will make your project a lot less stressful believe me, and will save you a tonne of time & money over the duration of the project.
If you were going to run a marathon would you just turn up on the day and hope for the best or would you train for it and give yourself the best chance of doing it?
Well building jobs are the same; create the best conditions for the best possible result. Just showing up and trying to wing it just doesn’t work with construction projects.
Putting other things on pause will be of enormous benefit to you and the end result.
Does this blog post give you any ideas? Don’t be a stranger and let us know! Please leave your comments in the section below:
Want To Know How Much Your Renovation Will Cost?
The most common question we get on this site and from our clients is “how do I get a ball park figure for my building work so I have an idea on how much it will cost me before I start?”
And there hasn’t really been an easy answer to that…
Well if the question above also applies to you then you need to check out our Ultimate Renovation & Remodelling Costing Toolkit.
Basically we’ve tried every costing tool both offline & online and we’ve put together this toolkit which shows you how to use what we consider the best 3 free online costing tools that exist for the UK market.
We break down each one and give you step-by-step instructions on how to use them and you’ll be shocked with how ridiculously easy to use they are.
We’ll also show you what info you need to fill them out and how to get this info if you don’t have it, again it’s really simple to do.
This is the best resource on the big bad interwebs for getting a pretty good ballpark figure for your renovation.
And the best part is that you can do it all online, there’s no calling anyone or booking an appointment or being hounded by sales people!
- Discover the 3 free & super-simple online costing tools made for renovations & remodelling projects
- Get an accurate cost for your potential renovation in 5 minutes or less, yes it’s really that fast!
- Make sure you don’t get over-priced and ripped off by builders on your dream renovation
And this is just a sample!
So to find out more all you have to do is click the link below: