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Avoid These Top 10 Renovation Mistakes

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The adage, "the devil is in the details," is as true for home renovations as it is in other areas of life. You know what you want to do and approximately what it's going to cost, but unless you've gone through the process of renovating many times before, you are unaware of the hidden pitfalls. Avoid these top 10 renovation mistakes newbies so often make by learning from those who have made them before you.

1) Time Scheduling

Many home renovators want to do some of the work themselves. "We can work on weekends" they tell each other and resolve to get all those DIY jobs done no matter what it takes. The trouble with this approach is that it doesn't take into account the fact that home renovations are a coordinated effort. Tradies have to be carefully scheduled or long construction delays can cost time and money. If you take on too much, your work and leisure life will suffer, too.

2) Getting Only One Quote

The first tradie you contact seems like a good bloke, so you give him the job. Six months later, you're having lunch with a friend, tell them what your renovation cost and they say, "Oh, dear, you paid far too much." Even professional renovators who have a list of trusted tradespersons often get three quotes because they know there might be someone who can do a better job for less money.

3) Taking the Lowest Quote

It's tempting to take the lowest quote for a job, but analyse all your quotes carefully before you do. Do they all include the same services? Are the materials of equal quality? Does the person or company doing the work have a good reputation?

4) Underestimating Costs

You've done your sums and think you can just afford to go ahead with your renovations. Have you factored in "details" like council fees, all the materials you need to buy and the countless other little expenses that add up over time? Experienced renovators know that most projects end up costing more than they anticipated even if they have done thorough costings. If it's your first time, add 20% to your estimated costs. If you can cover that, it's probably safe to proceed.

5) Not Knowing Exactly What You Want to Do

You know you want to knock out a wall and make an open plan kitchen, so you get started without thinking everything through. An interior designer plans everything ahead of time down to the last detail. This way, they know in advance what needs to be done, who has to be hired to do the jobs, what the materials and furnishings are going to cost and what the completed job will look like. Taking the time to plan everything in advance or hiring an expert will save you time and money.

6) Missing the Big Picture

It takes years of experience to really be able to visualize how a plan is going to work in real life, after the renovations are done. Let's say you decide you want to use ""a little"" space in your bedroom to add on that ensuite bathroom you've always wanted. It may look good on paper, but when the job is done, your bedroom feels cramped and small. A good drafter or kitchen designer's advice can be invaluable, so encourage them to criticize your design ideas in the planning stages of a project.

7) Measuring Once Instead of Twice

Take the age-old advice, "measure twice, cut once" to heart for all your renovation work. "Measuring"includes everything from measuring the length of a board you want to cut to calculating how much paint, insulation or any other materials you need to buy. There's nothing worse than going back to the tile shop for a few extra tiles, only to discover they are out of stock. While you're measuring, don't forget to factor in waste, either.

8) Not Having the Right Tools for the Job

DIY renovators often make this mistake. They estimate the cost of materials and decide they can do a job cheaper if they do it themselves. They don't realize until it's too late that when a tradesperson comes to do a job, they have a truck full of tools they need to do the job well. Tools and equipment are costly. Before you tackle a DIY job, find out how much tools and equipment are going to cost to buy and hire . You may find it's more cost-effective to let the experts do the job for you.

9) Leaving the Job to the Experts

You need to take a proactive role in your home renovations. Yes, your building contractor and other trades are professionals and if you've chosen them carefully, you can trust them to do a good job. They are not mind readers, though. Renovating should be a collaboration between you and the experts who are working for you. Choose experts, but also choose experts who are willing to work with you.

10) Following Fads

Every year, new products and materials come on to the market. Some of them withstand the test of time, but others don't. A fuschia colored fridge may look exciting this year, but you're not likely to be glad you bought it next year. When new products and materials are introduced to the market, they are sometimes of poor quality and don't last. Stick with tried and true products and materials and avoid fads.

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